By saving UFC on Fuel TV 8, Hunt and Silva gave us a bit of redemption for Pride FC

Much has been made of the old guard Pride FC fighters putting on a show last weekend at UFC on Fuel TV 8. And for good reason, as most (including myself) had predicted an easy knockout of Wanderlei Silva for Brian Stann, and perhaps a submission win for Stefan Struve.

Of course quite the opposite ended up being true, as Wand emphatically floored Stann in the second round after one of the most exciting, if not technically sound, bouts in recent memory. Hunt staked his claim at Heavyweight by weathering an early ground assault from Struve, who attempted armbars and a heel hook after mounting Hunt.

But in that true never-say-die Pride attitude, both Silva and Hunt found the courage to come back from behind and win with spectacular finishes, and that is what MMA is all about. UFC on Fuel TV 8 was truly shaping up to be one of the worst cards in recent memory, but then it was turned into one of the most exciting instantly thanks to Hunt and Silva.

Now I know that those were only two bouts on a non pay-per-view card, but the magnitude of the finishes brought the fans in Japan something they had been missing since Pride went defunct. Dream never quite lived up to its older brother, and with JMMA unfortunately all but dead, Japanese fight fans were thirsty for some great fights. They got none of the sort until the last two bouts.

With that said, I wonder if Pride FC’s legacy has suddenly taken a boost thanks to Hunt and perhaps more so, Silva. Wanderlei Silva was truly a hero in Japan as he ruled over Pride as champion. His unbeaten streak is rivaled by few not named Anderson Silva.  His headhunting style gained him all the respect in the world in Japan, but his record and reputation since joining the UFC are not close to as stellar.

Hunt, though not as illustrious as The Axe Murderer, is in the same boat. He was a killer in Pride at the onset of his tenure there, even defeating Wanderlei Silva in his third fight, but he fizzled off with a streak of submission losses to the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, and Gegard Mousasi.

Competition nothing to scoff at, but a losing streak nonetheless. Now Hunt has rebounded with four straight wins in the UFC and is incredibly mentioned in title conversation. While Hunt is on the rise within his division, it’s hard to say that Silva could be considered a title contender at MW or especially LHW within the UFC. He’s just been through too many wars, and may be too one-dimensional to fight to the top of the ladder in the UFC. Some even called for him to retire with a good victory in front of his beloved Japanese fans.

However, that doesn’t mean that Silva can’t provide great entertainment for fans the world over. That’s probably why Dana White loves Wanderlei and fighters along that nature. Stann knew his best bet was probably to do something other than stand and bang with Silva, but he knew what the fans at the Saitama Super Arena wanted, so much credit goes to him.

Until now, the ‘invasion’ of the UFC by former Pride FC fighters has been lackluster, and a bit underwhelming. Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson did become world champions, but their reigns were short-lived. Dan Henderson has also seen some success, but lost to Anderson Silva and also Rampage in his return. I don’t think that Pride can completely redeem their name with the victories of two fighters last Saturday, but they sure did go a long way in reminding people of what the spirit of Pride truly was.

That competitiveness, that never quit attitude, that willingness to lay it all on the line was present when Wanderlei Silva and Mark Hunt had their arms raised in victory on Saturday night. No, Pride FC may not fully be redeemed with that event, but two of their best imports went a long way in saving a card destined for doom up until that point. Much respect goes to those fighters, and much respect is paid to an era of fighting that deserves fans’ respect. 



26 Comments

  1. Profile photo of thealex

    thealex

    March 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    hunt vs (whoever pulls out of ufc 160)

  2. Profile photo of sankaku jime

    sankaku jime

    March 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    It's strange but this post made me feel a little nostalgic, such days were great!!!!…….
    As Daniel Cormier is going to drop to 205 lb, before that, let see if Hunt can manage a high caliber wrestler, I wish Cormier vs Hunt to happen, i'm not intrested in Cormier vs Mir at all, if Hunt pass Cormier he has a lot of chances against Velazques…

  3. Profile photo of Brasil

    Brasil

    March 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I like Hunt but both Mir and Cormier would dismantle him therefore the Mir vs Cormier is one of the most exciting fights ever in the HW division…..best Wrestling at HW vs arguably the best BJJ adapted to MMA in the HW division….it does not get much better than that my friend!

  4. Profile photo of IChokePeople

    IChokePeople

    March 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    First off, Pride was awesome. Second; no these fights did nothing for Prides legacy. They didn't need to. The people who argue that Pride wasn't as good as the UFC based on the performance of its fighters years after it has ceased to exist are idiots who clearly don't understand the toll years of fighting takes.

    • Profile photo of japanegro23

      japanegro23

      March 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Listen to this man ^^^. ICP is dead on. If you have watched MMA for a long time you know what Pride is all about. The guys in Pride were fighting the best amongst themselves for awhile. Especially at heavyweight. Of course there were those pro wrestling throw ins and some weird fighters like Bob Sapp haha but that doesn't take away from the truly great fighters that were there at that time. They were definitely deeper than the UFC in their heyday. To judge fighters past their prime is really ridiculous.

    • Profile photo of pdogg

      pdogg

      March 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Whayyy somebody talks sense. Fully agree pride FC was number 1

  5. Profile photo of Rory Kernaghan

    Rory Kernaghan

    March 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Mark Hunt ftw!! gotta love that guy

  6. Profile photo of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    March 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I would easily agree that the top of the card, saved the card. Without those fights, it would have all been a bit of a yawn. Unless they are all barn-burners, it's would be difficult for a card with that many decisions to be great.

    IMO, Hunt and Silva saved that card.

    • Profile photo of Evan Holober

      Evan Holober

      March 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      I thought it was Silva and Stann, strictly, that saved the card. The Hunt-Struve fight was absolutely atrocious at times.

      • Profile photo of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        March 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

        @ Evan

        LOL! Really? I thought it was freaking awesome, man. LOL! I loved every moment of it. The moment it went to the ground and I realized Hunt was going to put up a fight and that it wasn't over, simply because it was on the mat, is when the fight took off for me.

        Evan…Hunt attempted a crucifix twice….Hunt…Mark Hunt attempted two crucifixes. Unreal. The right-left, turn and walk away finish, was by itself, a thing of beauty.

        I can't say enough about that fight. I loved it. I've watched it three times since. For me, it could have easily been FOTN. It might not have had the same frenetic pace as Silva / Stann, but then again, it was a different type of battle, between two completely opposite human beings, in terms of their frames. Where Silva & Stan are of a similar height and build, Hunt up against Struve looked more like some epic scene from Gladiator.

        Plus and this is only anecdotal, I love the whole back-story on Hunt and how this is playing out for the 38 year old PRIDE veteran. It would make a great movie if the Samoan could go all the way.

        • Profile photo of Evan Holober

          Evan Holober

          March 5, 2013 at 8:37 am

          It's not the first time Hunt's attempted things. He swept Fedor, and attempted two keylocks on him that were close(ish).

          The ground game, and the punches weren't bad. I was more speaking on the long lulls in action where both looked like they were gassed in the second and third rounds.

          • Profile photo of Brian Cox

            Brian Cox

            March 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

            @ Evan.

            They looked gassed, because they were gassed. LOL! The two of them put out a great deal of energy, so I'm not surprised that they were gassed or gassing. However, they didn't completely gas, well, Hunt at any rate didn't and he was obviously still throwing viscous power.

            I think part of what I liked about it so much was, that I truly expected Mark to get owned on the ground and I believed that if / once it got there, the fight would be over. Victory Struve, but it didn't happen. I found the whole thing epic.

            I can see how someone else, yourself for example, might see it from a different POV and that's cool.

      • Profile photo of pdogg

        pdogg

        March 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

        Some of the prelims wer ok mizugaki was good

  7. Profile photo of Brasil

    Brasil

    March 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Not sure if DC has better striking than Mir….he might try to take him down and control on the floor….and that would give us something to remember.

  8. Profile photo of Billy Jack

    Billy Jack

    March 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Most of the PrideFC fights were like the Silva and Stann fight. There is no other org including the UFC ever drew 100,000 plus fans live. Fights were about the honor and respect.
    Even the losers got a standing ovation for losing honorably. I love the UFC to but I wish they adapt some of the PrideFC style that made them famous.

  9. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    March 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Young man? PRIDE FC was based around illegal entities stacking the deck for stars, pushing Japanese professional wrestlers as much as possible, and fixing multiple fights.

    PRIDE was a spectacle like no other, but it was far from the pinnacle of MMA history that so many make it out to be. It was a shady promotion built on favoring Japanese stars as much as possible, while turning a blind eye to rampant steroid usage and match fixing in the process.

    • Profile photo of Billy Jack

      Billy Jack

      March 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Well you could say that so many of the UFC fights are fixed since. Rampant use of the TRT which is a anabolic steroids. Mind you I love the UFC,but do not make baseless comments. Trying to discredit one org to another is a classic trolls behavior. Ronda Rousey is my favorite fighter and of course the greatest Fedor!!

      Evan you have to give credit where it's due,and not give a baseless claim!

  10. Profile photo of clobbersandwich

    clobbersandwich

    March 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    gustafsson -241
    mousasi +216
    this is great, i am going to lay money down and get rich.
    thanks mousasi! finish before a potential referee pay-off ;]

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