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The campaign for Wanderlei Silva to move to middleweight

In Jake Rossen’s latest column, he assumes the role of fantasy matchmaker and unveils eight matches he’d like to see happen in 2008.

Leading off the list is a proposed match between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, at 185 lbs. Rossen’s pitch for this match is yet another public call for Silva to move from middleweight:

Like a vegetarian at a pig roast, doubters of Wanderlei Silva (Pictures)‘s abilities have long been accused of obnoxious counter-thinking. But while he put up a spectacularly courageous fight against Chuck Liddell (Pictures) in December, the Axe Murderer’s prospects as a light heavyweight seem modest at best.

Against Tito Ortiz (Pictures) or Rashad Evans (Pictures), a decision loss seems a likely outcome, the template of which was set by Ortiz in 2000 and Ricardo Arona (Pictures) in 2005; against calculating strikers like Liddell, Silva might find himself perpetually stuck outside the pocket.

An inflated 205er (and you can read as much subtext into that as you wish), Silva’s frame seems more naturally suited for 185 pounds. With the recognizable Vitor Belfort (Pictures) considering a similar drop, now seems like a reasonable time for a rematch of their classic 1998 fight, one which saw the mythical “old Vitor” slice through Silva’s defenses like a broadsword.

First, I couldn’t disagree more with Rossen’s statement that a potential match between Evans and Silva would likely result in a decision loss for Silva. Silva had trouble with Chuck Liddell because of Liddell’s reach advantage. Evans would not have that advantage. Silva could sit in the pocket and punish Evans without having to worry about paying too steep of a price.


  • Kelvin says:

    While Silva could punish Evans in the pocket…Evans has decent standup as well…PLUS Silva would get taken down at will…equaling a decision loss because I don’t see him subbing Evans.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Evans is possibly the worst possible matchup for a fighter like Silva who has relatively poor takedown defense. Not only that, while his BJJ is solid, he has not shown the ability to sweep or submit off his back. Once Evans takes him down, Silva is not getting back up.

    Wandy had PRIDE’s quick standups to help him out, but he won’t have that advantage (unfortunately) in the UFC. Wandy’s only real chances are if Evans gets caught coming inside, or if Evans simply has a poor gameplan and decides to stay on his feet.

    Sam, what makes you think that Evans would employ the world’s worst possible gameplan for someone with his skillset against Silva (ie, standing and trading), rather than using his decorated Div 1 wrestling?

  • hbdale309 says:

    Silva would spend the whole fight on his back against Evans. The UFC would be stupid to match him up against a wrestler – they’d be wasting their investment and it’d be an ugly/boring fight too. Wanderlei would be a good match up against Forrest, Bonnar, Machida, Gouviea, Jardine, Shogun and Sokoudjou.

    Guys like Tito and Rashad are Wand’s kryptonite. Chuck could have won that fight by LnP if he wanted; look for Rampage to use the takedown and GnP strategy to beat Silva if they fight again.

  • jaydog says:

    While I’d like to see Wandy in a division where he can manhandle some dudes the way he did in Pride, I think he’s got some dues to pay at 205 first. Yesterday, Josh Gross interviewed Quinton Jackson and ended with the question, “What do you want to accomplish in 2008.” Rampage said he want to beat up the people who beat him up (a restatement of his agenda coming into the UFC). Well, Silva has got to give Quinton a rematch if he wants it. That’s all I want to add to this debate.

  • Rashad #1 says:

    Kind of off topic but I heard Evans is fighting Thiago Silva in the spring? I am the biggest Rashad fan there is but that fight is giong to be a tough SOB if it goes down

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    If Silva loses weight down to 185, that will probably affect his power. That’s probably a good trade-off if he faces fighters who are closer to his height and reach. Eventually he’d want a title shot against Anderson Silva. My impression is that Anderson is taller, and he would be a tough match for ‘Wand since they have similar styles.

  • Dave says:

    i cant believe peaople are suggesting the rashad evans could beat wandy. He may be a top notch wrestler but wandy would punish him any time he came near him. i would rather watch paint fry than ever watch another rashad evans snoozefest

  • Beau says:

    Silva is still a top 5 LHW. Why would he cut down to 185? I mean he has 2 wins over the champ. Liddel is the only one at LHW that has proven he can beat Silva. You could say Henderson but he’s at 185 now and they split their fights anyways. Not to mention I don’t like Silva’s chances at 185 against Anderson Silva. He should stay at the wieght class where he knows he can beat the champion.


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