THE CANADIAN PRESS
SAITAMA, Japan — Wanderlei Silva’s return to Japan ended with a highlight-reel finish as he defeated Brian Stann in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV: 8.
Silva (35-12-1) survived a bit of early trouble from Stann (12-6) to deliver a dramatic second-round knockout in the headliner, which took place Sunday morning at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
"I’m happy to make a good fight," said Silva. "Brian Stann is a tough opponent, and I’m so glad for the opportunity that the UFC and Dana White gave to me."
Stann looked to be the crisper fighter in the early going, stalking from the outside and delivering straight punches that often found the mark faster than Silva’s trademark power hooks. But after a few memorable flurries in the early going, the pace settled, and Silva began to find his rhythm.
As the crowd chanted his name in support of Silva — who fought 28 times in Japan between 1999 and 2006 — he rewarded them with a two-punch combination that landed flush and sent Stann crashing to the canvas. The Brazilian quickly followed with four more punches on the floor, and referee Marc Goddard waved off the fight at the 4:08 mark of the second frame.
"I’m so happy to make a good fight for the fans," said Silva. "This victory is for the fans that give support to me all the time. Thank you so much."
With the win, the 36-year-old Silva rebounds from a June loss to Rich Franklin and once again staves off any talk of retirement.
Silva pocketed an additional US$100,000 after he was awarded both a "Fight of the Night" and "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
In the evening’s heavyweight co-feature, undersized underdog Mark Hunt (9-7) scored a surprising third-round TKO over towering Stefan Struve (25-6).
At just five-foot-10, Hunt was massively outsized by the seven-foot Struve. However, he moved forward from the opening bell and worked past the long reach of his opponent to deliver leaping power shots to the body and chin. Struve had opportunities of his own during the few brief moments the two battled on the floor, but Hunt showed improved submission defence as he repeatedly shucked off several finishing attempts.
Both fighters looked tired to open the third round, but it was Hunt who took control of the matchup with sweeping hooks that wobbled his opponent. A left hand scored flush to the jaw, and Struve toppled to the floor. As Hunt rushed in to finish his work, Struve alerted referee Herb Dean of a broken jaw, and the bout was called off.
Hunt admitted the strange ending sequence wasn’t exactly clear even to him.
"(Dean) told me to keep going, so I went in to try and finish it," Hunt said. "I don’t know. I was kind of banged up, you know?"
UFC on FUEL TV 8 drew a reported 14,682 fans according to UFC officials.