UFC 132 Middleweight Showdown: Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
By CHRISTOS POLYDOROU
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
Among the many MMA personalities that have, throughout the years, captured our imagination and made loyal followers of us all, Wanderlei Silva still remains a fan favorite even after frequently long absences from the Octagon.
A native of Curitiba, Brazil, the â€œAxe Murdererâ€ entered the professional fighting scene at the age of 20 in the Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting organization, knocking out his opponent via strikes. In subsequent years, Silva gained notoriety for his hard-nosed brawling style and the viciousness of his strikes, steadily climbing the fighting ranks from contender to IVC light heavyweight champion and dominant PRIDE Middleweight champion.
Ranked as one of the worldâ€™s best Middleweights, Silva has yet to earn a title in the UFC, arguably the biggest MMA organization in the world today. Slated to fight against fellow brawler Chris â€œThe Cripplerâ€ Leben in UFC 132, Silva will be returning to the Octagon after an absence of one year and five months. During his fighting hiatus, Wanderlei underwent a knee surgery and was originally scheduled to make his return in UFC 130 taking on ex-WEC champ Brian Stann. Silva was eventually replaced by veteran Jorge Santiago, after the Brazilian expressed his hesitancy to face Stann. His reluctance to fight though has perhaps disillusioned many Silva fans and created doubts in their mind as well as questions that need answering.
Though only at the age of 34, Silvaâ€™ s body has arguably gone through lots of punishment throughout the years, mainly due to the Brazilianâ€™s in-ring aggressiveness and his habitual â€œthrowing caution to the windâ€ style, and even after pulling out a unanimous win over Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva looked spent.