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UFC on FUEL TV 8 Musings

SILVA FINALLY FINDS A HOMEIt is no great secret that Wanderlei Silva is on the downside of his amazing career. The living legend certainly has a bit more gas in the tank, though it is closer to empty than full. Nonetheless, he proved that opponents had better take him deadly seriously if they choose to sign on the dotted line to face him. Brian Stann found that out in painful, thudding fashion on Saturday night, when the living legend turned out the lights of the middleweight contender.I think Silva‘s move back to light heavy is the right decision at this point in his career. The 36-year-old simply taxes his body too much when he diets and then cuts down to the middleweight limit. On fight night, the 185-pound version of Silva is a tired, depleted and mentally exhausted fighter. At light heavy, which is the weight where he spent the vast majority of his career, Silva is a fully energized, strong, savage beast.Don‘t get me wrong. Silva is not going to compete for the light heavyweight title any time soon. Despite the fact that he is better served competing at 205 pounds, his frame remains that of an average-sized middleweight. Thus, he will always face size and strength disadvantages at that weight. Thus, I think “The Axe Murderer” should continue competing against middleweights who are open to competing one weight class up. If he does that and continues securing matchups against non-wrestlers, then Silva likely has a few more solid performances left in the tank. TACTICAL ERROR LEADS TO LOSS, BUT FURTHER CEMENTS STANN‘S APPEALBrian Stann is a war hero, having thrived in real-life combat situations. Those life-and-death moments forever change a man. There is no argument to the contrary. Whether it is a renewed sense of mortality or an irrational conviction of immortality, combat veterans are different after experiencing life‘s most harrowing moments. I didn‘t know Stann before he bravely served our country. Heck, I‘ve never actually spoken to the man. No matter, watching him compete at the Saitama Super Arena made it perfectly clear that this man fears nobody. And he is very comfortable putting himself in harm‘s way in search of sudden victory.Stann‘s bout with Silva was the single-most entertaining bout of 2013, in my opinion. Both guys scored multiple knockdowns. Neither man so much as raised his hands in defense of incoming fire. Well, not until Stann was flat on his back and defending in an auto-pilot state. Instead, the combatants freely fired their fists, embracing the notion that the best defense is great offense. Despite getting bloodied and battered, Stann got the better of Silva in the first round. Then he got knocked out. Cold. You know, the sort of knockout where the body is temporarily rendered limp.It was a savagely brutal end to a beautiful fight. Silva displayed amazing restraint and sportsmanship by halting his attack the minute he realized Stann was unconscious. Stann remained a gentleman in defeat, humbly acknowledging that he had always been a huge fan of Silva and stating that it was an honor to compete with him, heartbreaking loss notwithstanding.If those two fought 10 times, I have a feeling that Stann wins more often than not. But that doesn‘t matter. He didn‘t win on Saturday night. Yet, the loss does nothing to diminish his star appeal. In fact, I think quite the opposite happened.Competing with such a brave, crowd-pleasing effort makes fans want more. The outcome is irrelevant. It is the Arturo Gatti effect. And Stann has it in spades.My guess is Stann will headline another fight card before the end of the year. If not, he will certainly receive co-main event status.HUNT CREATING INTERESTING POSSIBILITIESMark Hunt has lots of things working against him. For starters, he is unbelievably short for a heavyweight. He also has a notoriously low gas tank, thanks to the unnecessary pounds of padding on his body. Hey, that is as politely as I could write it. Most importantly, he is something of a one-trick pony. Hunt‘s ground game remains fairly nascent, though he is improving it each and every fight. Those are the negatives. Those negatives were largely responsible for the New Zealander suffering through a horrifying six-fight losing streak from July 1, 2006 to September 25, 2010. To put it into perspective, I‘m struggling to think of a single fighter on a six-fight losing streak who has received a bout in the Zuffa-owned UFC. I‘m not saying he doesn‘t exist. But that certainly hasn‘t happened in the last three or four years.Despite all of those shortcomings, Hunt has three features that make him a live opponent against any human alive””raw, bone-crushing power in both hands, world-class kickboxing technique and probably the sturdiest chin in the sport.His knockout win over Stefan Struve was a career-defining moment for the new heavyweight contender. It suggests, in my opinion, that Hunt can easily become the UFC heavyweight champion, if everyone is brave…

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