With the UFC cutting him loose last year for saying that the promotion fixed fights, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission dropping his sentence from lifetime to a retroactive three years, Wanderlei Silva hit the free agency market and after only a few weeks the PRIDE great selected Bellator MMA. Though the specific terms of the deal are still undisclosed, we do know for sure that it is a multi fight, multi year deal.
The 39 year old “Axe Murderer” didn’t look great in his second UFC run, with only 4 wins in 9 fights, but he always brought the ferocity and excitement that has made him a fan favorite for most of his career. With a decision win over current contender, a TKO win over former Strikeforce champ Cung Le, and a knock out win in his last fight against former WEC champ Brian Stann, Silva proved despite his record, he could still win fights, and against some credible opponents in an exciting fashion.
Silva has fought most of his career at middleweight and light heavyweight, so like Benson Henderson who signed before him, he is a dual weight class fighter. When it comes to names, Bellator’s light heavyweight division is king. To see the Axe Murderer match up with such names as Phil Davis, and Liam McGeary would be fantastic.
Even the rematches would get the fans cheering. When looking at the Bellator middleweight division, it isn’t as stacked as 205, so it may be the right place for Silva if he’s looking to try to win one last championship. With names like Raphael Carvalho, Brandon Halsey, Melvin Manhoef, and recently signed Chris Leben, the road to a title would still be tough, but those guys love to stand and strike as Silva does, so the fights would be worth the watch.
At 35-12-1 (1NC) and 39 years old, there is no doubt that Wanderlei Silva is at the end of his career. However, Bellator knows how to keep their fan favorites winning fights. Silva will get some solid competition, but if he wavers, the promotion will give him a couple of showcase fights, similar to what they’ve done lately with David “The Caveman” Rickles. Silva signing with Bellator is a win win situation for both parties. Now it will be up to both to prove it to the fans, and that’s really the most important part.
Mike Harmon is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeyJiggles, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network.
Preston Bailey was the contributing editor for this article. Follow him on Twitter @smashtvradio, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network.