The UFC hosted one of the best free cards in recent memory from Japan capped off with an unforgettable main event. For almost ten minutes, Wanderlei Silva put on another classic bout in the Saitama Super Arena, this time with Brian Stann.
“The Axe Murderer” silenced his detractors with a smile stretched across his face. In vintage form, Silva triumphed over Stann in the chaotic affair, taking a lot of punishment in the process.
Following the UFC’s fifth trip to the land of the rising sun there were a lot of talking points and a lot of interesting matches to be made. Let’s take a look at a handful of them.
Silva vs. Dan Henderson III
Silva looked like the man that thrashed his competitors in Pride’s ring years prior. With conversations of the Brazilian savage retiring put on the back burner, Silva doesn’t need fights that get him into title contention at 205 pounds. He simply needs fun and interesting matches.
Henderson recently got chopped down a block with his setback to Lyoto Machida and there is history here with two all-time greats in Silva and Henderson. Putting them together for their rubber match would be a fitting fight for each of these competitors.
Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson-Cheick Kongo winner
Hunt’s ‘Cinderella Man’ narrative continued with a hard-fought victory over Stefan Struve. The former K-1 champ played with fire on the floor against the submission ace but survived to land the kill shot. At this point. he needs top ten competition and with the top of the division tied up, the winner of Nelson and Kongo at UFC 159 would be fitting.
Diego Sanchez vs. Nate Diaz
Sanchez took a highly controversial decision over former Pride titlist Takanori Gomi. The TUF 1 champion had a lot of issues making it down to lightweight, and he might be best suited to head back up 15 pounds. However, if he decides to stick around, he has called for a meeting with Nate Diaz who recently lost to UFC champ Benson Henderson which would be a thrilling encounter.
Yushin Okami vs. Luke Rockhold-Vitor Belfort winner
Okami denied the claims that he was on a downward slope in his career, knocking off former Bellator champ Hector Lombard. Okami again is “in the mix” as the UFC president would say, a bout with the winner of Rockhold and Belfort slated for UFC on FX 8 would be the logical next step for the Japanese mainstay.
Takanori Gomi vs. Joe Lauzon
“The Fireball Kid” put on the best performance of his UFC career but it wasn’t enough to earn a decision in his homecoming fight. Even if he didn’t get the victory, Gomi has shown great strides in his last two bouts and can be thrown into the 155 pound pack with a ton of interesting matches. You’d hear no complaints if he got a date with Lauzon, who is fresh off a bloody defeat to Jim Miller.
Stann vs. Lombard
Stann wobbled Silva on numerous occasions, but wasn’t able to keep the former Pride middleweight champ down. As the former United Stated Marine returns to the middleweight division with a setback, pairing him with Hector Lombard, who also lost on this card, would be a good pairing as both sit in similar positions.