Wanderlei Silva
Wanderlei Silva
Personal information
Nickname The Axe Murderer
Date of birth July 3, 1976 (1976-07-03) (age 41)
Curitiba, Brazil
Nationality Brazil Flag Brazilian
Listed height 5 ft 11 in
Listed height 185 lbs
Reach 74 inches
Career information
Division Middleweight
Style Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out of U.S Flag Las Vegas, Nevada
Team Wand Fight Team
Organization UFC
Years active 1996-present
MMA record
profile at

Wanderlei César da Silva, more commonly known as Wanderlei Silva, and also known as "The Axe Murderer", is a Brazilian mixed martial artist, who has competed in numerous mixed martial arts promotions, including both Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Silva is known for his aggressive fighting style with the majority of his fights ending in knockout or referee stoppage due to strikes. His style includes engaging opponents with punches and knees from the Muay Thai clinch.

Silva began his training under Rudimar Fedrigo at the Chute Boxe Academy in his hometown of Curitiba, Brazil. Although he specializes in Muay Thai, he has also trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with trainer Cristiano Marcello and he received a black belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr. in 2003. Silva was given the nickname "Cachorro Louco" ("Mad Dog") in Brazil because of his aggressive style and his pre-fight opponent "stare down". He is the former International Vale Tudo Championships light heavyweight champion, former PRIDE middleweight (205 lb) champion, and the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix champion.

After spending a majority of his career in Brazil, Silva moved to the United States in 2007 and he trained at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada with the gym's founder, Randy Couture. However, preferring a more aggressive gym atmosphere, like he had enjoyed at Chute Boxe, he opened his own gym, The Wand Fight Team Training & Conditioning Center, in Las Vegas. Silva currently trains there with his former Chute Boxe Academy coach Rafael Cordeiro.

Mixed martial arts career Edit

Vale Tudo Edit

Silva vs Mariano

Silva vs Mariano at IVC 2

Silva's aggressive style is rooted in street brawling, refined with elements of Muay Thai and kickboxing. As a late teenager he joined the Brazilian military and was quickly recognized for his fighting talents and rose up through the ranks. Silva enlisted after already winning fight tournaments in his age group in Brazil[1]

Silva's first professional mixed martial arts match was on November 1, 1996, in Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting(BVF), where he knocked out Dilson Filho with punches at BVF 6. He fought in one other match in promotion, at BVF 10 on July 1, 1997, against Marcelo Barbosa, who submitted due to a shoulder injury.

Silva then fought six matches in four different International Vale Tudo Championship events between 1997 to 1999: IVC 2, IVC 6, IVC 9 and IVC 10. He won five of these matches by KO/TKO, with his lone loss being the result of a cut stoppage against Artur Mariano in the IVC 2 show on September 15, 1997. The cut was above his left eyelid and opened back up several times, partially because Silva continued to use the cut side of his head to inflict many head butts on Mariano over the course of the match. The doctor observed the cut several times before the fight was ended.

Silva culminated his IVC career by winning the promotion's light heavyweight belt with a submission win over Eugene Jackson in the IVC 10 show on April 27, 1999. It was after this fight that Silva earned the nickname "The Axe Murderer".

Silva participated in one Meca World Vale Tudo event, Meca 2 on August 12, 2000, where he knocked out Todd Medina with knees.

Ultimate Fighting Championship Edit

Silva entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship on October 16, 1998, at UFC Brazil, in a match against Vitor Belfort. The match has arguably been Silva's worst defeat in his career, lasting only forty-four seconds and ending with Silva being knocked down by Belfort's punches, and then with the bout being stopped by the referee. Silva won his next UFC match on May 7, 1999, at UFC 20 where he knocked out Tony Petarra with knees. On April 14, 2000, Silva was given a chance to fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship, but lost via decision to Tito Ortiz at UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3.

Transition to Pride Fighting Championships Edit

Silva vs Ortiz

Silva vs Tito Ortiz at UFC 25

Silva debuted in Pride at the Pride 7 event on September 12, 1999, winning against Carl Malenko by decision. From 1999 to 2004, Silva won eighteen-straight fights in Pride, excluding a draw against Mirko Filipović (under slightly modified rules in which if the match would go the distance, the bout would be declared a draw) and a no contest against Gilbert Yvel (Silva accidentally kicked Yvel in the groin), giving him a twenty-fight unbeaten streak. Silva's reputation as a formidable MMA fighter grew as he developed a successful five year win record in the middle weight division (205 lbs) of Pride.

Silva fought Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba for the first time at Pride 13: Collision Course on March 25, 2001. Silva won via TKO (strikes) at 1:38 into the first round. At Pride 17: Championship Chaos on November 3, 2001, Silva won the Pride middleweight (205 lb) championship when he defeated Sakuraba for the second time. Sakuraba suffered a broken clavicle and withdrew after the first round, giving Silva a TKO win via doctor's stoppage. The two fought for a third time on August 10, 2003 at Pride Total Elimination 2003, part of Pride's middleweight tournament. Silva knocked out Sakuraba with a two punch combination at 5:01 into the first round.

Silva faced Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at Pride Final Conflict 2003 on November 9, 2003. Silva won by TKO due to referee's stoppage after delivering seventeen consecutive knees to Jackson. Silva became Pride's 2003 tournament champion with the win. When the two fought again on October 31, 2004 at Pride 28: High Octane, Silva knocked out Jackson in the second round with knees in a clinch after being knocked down himself near the end of the first round. In Japan, Silva additionally gained his reputation as a fighter who has never been defeated by any Japanese opponent, resulting in a trend of various Japanese fighters being arranged by Pride to face him.

Silva's undefeated 5-year streak (18 wins, 14 knockouts) in Pride was broken by heavy weight Mark Hunt, a K-1 champion on December 31, 2004 at the Pride Shockwave 2004 event. Hunt won the non-title match by split decision. The decision was controversial because some who felt that Hunt's weight of 280 lb (125 kg), over 80 lb more than Silva, as well as Silva's performance in rounds two and three, had not been sufficiently considered by the judges in their decision; Randy Couture and Bas Rutten, both being commentators at the event, expressed disagreement with the judges decision. Silva also took this fight on two days notice. Nonetheless, Silva's 2004 campaign earned him Fighter of the Year honors from both Sherdog and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Silva vs Jackson from PRIDE 28

Silva vs "Rampage" Jackson at Pride 28

Silva's former status as Pride's middleweight champion first came under debate and criticism with his loss to Ricardo Arona during the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix (who subsequently lost the tournament to Silva's team-mate, Mauricio Rua) on August 28, 2005 at Pride Final Conflict 2005. The loss, by unanimous decision in the tournament's semi-finals, was Silva's first defeat in a middleweight match in Pride; however, since it was not a title fight and held under special rules due to the grand prix format (2 rounds instead of 3), Silva was still recognized as the middleweight champion. A rematch between Arona and Silva took place at the Pride Shockwave 2005 event on December 31, 2005, with Silva winning by split decision.

On May 18, 2006, Pride's parent company, Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE), announced that Silva would replace Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in the Open-Weight Grand Prix. Emelianenko's doctors stated that his hand, which had recently undergone surgery, would not be in good enough shape to fight because the metal implant would still be present. Because Silva was also a champion, he received a first round bye and fought in the second round at Pride Critical Countdown Absolute, which took place on July 1, 2006. Silva moved to the semi-finals of the Open-Weight Grand Prix after defeating Kazuyuki Fujita by TKO (strikes) at 9:21 of round one.

On July 8, 2006, at UFC 61: Bitter Rivals, UFC president Dana White announced that Silva would face Chuck Liddell in a UFC event held in November, provided Liddell beat Renato "Babalu" Sobral at UFC 62. Liddell did end up winning that fight, however talks dwindled and the fight as advertised between Silva and Liddell did not happen.

On September 10, 2006, at Pride Final Conflict Absolute, Wanderlei Silva was knocked out by Mirko Filipović in their rematch during the Open-Weight Grand Prix semi-finals. After a brief stoppage to tend to a swollen eye on Silva, "Cro Cop" struck Silva in the head with a left kick, knocking him out. On October 21, 2006 at Pride 32: The Real Deal, Wanderlei issued his challenge to Chuck Liddell to a fight inside a Pride ring in February, when the promotion returned to Las Vegas, Nevada, however Dana White stated that the fight would not be happening, citing Silva's recent KO loss to Mirko Filipović which would not have allowed the NSAC to clear him medically for the fight that soon after being knocked out.

Silva then put his Pride middleweight title on the line against Dan Henderson, Pride's welterweight (183 lb) champion at Pride 33: The Second Coming, held on February 24, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a night of upsets, Henderson knocked out Silva in the third round with a left hook to the head to become the new middleweight champion. This fight was held under unified rules which prevent knees and kicks to the head of a downed opponent as well as having five 5 minute rounds. Many believe this hindered Silva's ability to fully utilize his offensive arsenal. Silva was denied the ability to participate in Pride 34 due to medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) which made this his last Pride appearance. Silva never lost under pure Pride rules at 205 pounds.

Return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship Edit

On August 17, 2007, the UFC announced that they had signed Wanderlei Silva to compete in the organization and that he would return to the Octagon on December 29, 2007 at UFC 79. After months of speculation about Silva's opponent, UFC President Dana White announced that Chuck Liddell would be Silva's opponent for his return match. The long-awaited match happened on December 29, with Wanderlei Silva losing to Chuck Liddell by unanimous decision. After the fight Silva said, "Win or lose I like to give the emotion for my fans". He also added that he gave his best and promised that next time he will deliver a win.

Keeping to his promise, on May 24, 2008 at UFC 84 in Las Vegas, he earned a decisive knockout win against Keith Jardine at the 36 second mark of the very first round by referee stoppage, earning him Knockout of the Night honors. When Jardine threw a kick, Silva countered with a right-left-right combo that dropped him. Silva then finished the fight with ground strikes to earn the knockout.

Silva vs Franklin from UFC 99

Rich Franklin and Silva face off during the weigh-in show for UFC 99

At UFC 92, Wanderlei fought Quinton Jackson, who he beat twice previously. Jackson avenged his previous defeats by knocking Silva out with a left hook in the first round. Following the fight, Silva has stated that he would like to fight Jackson again, for the 4th, and possibly in the future, even the 5th time.

Wanderlei met Rich Franklin at UFC 99 in Germany at a catchweight bout of 195 lbs. After a hard fought match on both sides, Silva lost via unanimous decision to Franklin. During the second round, Silva rocked Franklin hard with punches and almost finished the match during that moment. Silva then announced he would be out of action until 2010, as he underwent facial surgery to repair his nose (which was broken during Silva's second fight with Cro Cop, and then repeatedly broken again in later matches) and remove some scar tissue from above his eyes to avoid bleeding and being easily cut open during future fights. The surgery allowed him to breathe through a once completely blocked nose thus increasing his oxygen intake by 30% by doctor's estimates. At UFC 110, announcer Joe Rogan emphatically stated that Wanderlei looked like a totally different person in the wake of his recent facial reconstructive surgery.

Silva made his middleweight (185 lbs) debut during UFC 110 against British striker Michael Bisping on February 21, 2010. During the fight Bisping was able to take Silva down several times during the first round, however Wanderlei came back with a flurry of punches at the end of the first round, a tight guillotine choke in the second, and a right hook that dropped Bisping in the third. After three rounds of fighting, Silva was awarded the unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) and his first victory in almost two years. Although winning only one of his previous 6 bouts, he was slightly favored going into the fight as it was widely speculated that Bisping was apprehensive to fight toe-to-toe after being viciously knocked out by Dan Henderson on July 11, 2009 in UFC 100.

Wanderlei Silva was expected to face former K-1 HERO'S Light Heavyweight champion Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116. Unfortunately, on June 22, Wanderlei had to pull out due to breaking three ribs during training. Akiyama instead fought against Chris Leben on the card. Leben defeated Akiyama with a triangle choke in the third round.

Silva underwent knee surgery in late July 2010 and his doctors stated that he will need to wait at least 4 months before returning to training.

On April 4, 2011, the UFC announced that Silva's next opponent would be Chris Leben with the two scheduled to meet at UFC 132 on July 2, 2011. Leben won the fight dropping Silva with several uppercuts then following him to the ground for a referees stoppage at the 27 second mark of the first round.

Silva faced Cung Le on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139. Silva defeated Le via second round TKO after a flurry of knees and punches, earning his third Fight of the Night award in the UFC.

Silva and Vitor Belfort were the opposing coaches for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. A rematch with Belfort was expected to take place on June 23, 2012 at UFC 147 but due to a broken hand Vitor Belfort had to withdraw from the match. Silva is now scheduled to face Rich Franklin in a 190 lb catchweight at the event. Franklin and Silva fought once before at UFC 99, where Franklin won a unanimous decision.

Personal life Edit

Wanderlei is married and has a daughter named Rafaelina and a son named Thor.

Championships and awards Edit

Mixed martial arts titles and honours Edit

Awards Edit

  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • 2001 Feud of the Year (vs Kazushi Sakuraba)
    • 2001 Shootfighter of the Year
    • 2003 Shootmatch of the Year (vs Hidehiko Yoshida)
    • 2004 Shootfighter of the Year
    • 2004 Shootmatch of the Year (vs Quinton Jackson)

Mixed martial arts record Edit

Professional record breakdown
47  34 wins 11 losses
By knockout 24 6
By submission 3 0
By decision 7 5
Draws 1
No contests 1
Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
34-11-1(1) United States flag Rich Franklin UFC 147 June 23, 2012 Brazil flag Belo Horizonte, Brazil Catchweight of 190 lb.
Win 34-11-1(1) Vietnam flag Cung Le TKO (Knees and Punches) UFC 139 November 19, 2011 2 4:49 United States flag San Jose, California Fight of the Night
Loss 33-11-1(1) United States flag Chris Leben TKO (Punches) UFC 132 July 2, 2011 1 0:27 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 33-10-1(1) England flag Michael Bisping Decision (Unanimous) UFC 110 February 21, 2010 3 5:00 Australia flag Sydney, Australia Middleweight Debut
Loss 32–10–1(1) United States flag Rich Franklin Decision (Unanimous) UFC 99 June 13, 2009 3 5:00 Germany flag Cologne, Germany Catchweight of 195 lb. Fight of the Night
Loss 32–9–1 (1) United States flag Quinton Jackson KO (Punch) UFC 92 December 27, 2008 1 3:21 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 32–8–1 (1) United States flag Keith Jardine KO (Punches) UFC 84 May 24, 2008 1 0:36 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada Knock Out of the Night
Loss 31–8–1 (1) United States flag Chuck Liddell Decision (Unanimous) UFC 79 December 29, 2007 3 5:00 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada Fight of the Night
Loss 31–7–1 (1) United States flag Dan Henderson KO (Punch) Pride 33 February 24, 2007 3 2:08 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada Lost Pride Middleweight Championship
Loss 31–6–1 (1) Croatia flag Mirko Filipović KO (Head Kick) Pride Final Conflict Absolute September 10, 2006 1 5:26 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Pride 2006 Openweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Win 31–5–1 (1) Japan flag Kazuyuki Fujita TKO (Punches and Soccer Kicks) Pride Critical Countdown Absolute July 1, 2006 1 9:21 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Pride 2006 Openweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal, was replacement for Fedor Emelianenko
Win 30–5–1 (1) Brazil flag Ricardo Arona Decision (Split) Pride Shockwave 2005 December 31, 2005 3 5:00 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Defends Pride Middleweight Championship
Loss 29–5–1 (1) Brazil flag Ricardo Arona Decision (Unanimous) Pride Final Conflict 2005 August 28, 2005 2 5:00 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Win 29–4–1 (1) Japan flag Kazuhiro Nakamura TKO (Punches) Pride Critical Countdown 2005 June 24, 2005 1 5:24 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal
Win 28–4–1 (1) Japan flag Hidehiko Yoshida Decision (Split) Pride Total Elimination 2005 April 23, 2005 3 5:00 Japan flag Osaka, Japan Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Opening Round
Loss 27–4–1 (1) New Zealand flag Mark Hunt Decision (Split) Pride Shockwave 2004 December 31, 2004 3 5:00 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Originally scheduled to face Kazushi Sakuraba. Withdrew due to injury.
Win 27–3–1 (1) United States flag Quinton Jackson KO (Knees) Pride 28 October 31, 2004 2 3:26 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Defends Pride Middleweight Championship
Win 26–3–1 (1) Japan flag Yuki Kondo KO (Stomps) Pride Final Conflict 2004 August 15, 2004 1 2:46 Japan flag Saitama, Japan
Win 25–3–1 (1) Japan flag Ikuhisa Minowa KO (Punches) Pride Bushido 2 February 15, 2004 1 1:09 Japan flag Yokohama, Japan
Win 24–3–1 (1) United States flag Quinton Jackson TKO (Knees) Pride Final Conflict 2003 November 9, 2003 1 6:28 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan Won Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix
Win 23–3–1 (1) Japan flag Hidehiko Yoshida Decision (Unanimous) Pride Final Conflict 2003 November 9, 2003 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Win 22–3–1 (1) Japan flag Kazushi Sakuraba KO (Punch) Pride Total Elimination 2003 August 10, 2003 1 5:01 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix Opening Round
Win 21–3–1 (1) Japan flag Hiromitsu Kanehara TKO (Corner Stoppage) Pride 23 November 24, 2002 1 3:40 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan Defends Pride Middleweight Championship
Win 20–3–1 (1) Japan flag Tatsuya Iwasaki KO (Head Kick and Punches) Pride Shockwave August 28, 2002 1 1:16 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
Draw 19–3–1 (1) Croatia flag Mirko Filipovic Draw Pride 20 April 28, 2002 5 3:00 Japan flag Yokohama, Japan Match fought under special rules
Win 19–3 (1) Japan flag Kiyoshi Tamura KO (Punch) Pride 19 February 24, 2002 2 2:28 Japan flag Saitama, Japan Defends Pride Middleweight Championship
Win 18–3 (1) Japan flag Alexander Otsuka TKO (Doctor Stoppage) Pride 18 December 23, 2001 3 2:02 Japan flag Fukuoka, Japan
Win 17–3 (1) Japan flag Kazushi Sakuraba TKO (Doctor Stoppage) Pride 17 November 3, 2001 1 10:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan Won Pride Middleweight Championship
Win 16–3 (1) Japan flag Shungo Oyama TKO (Punches) Pride 14 May 27, 2001 1 0:30 Japan flag Yokohama, Japan
Win 15–3 (1) Japan flag Kazushi Sakuraba TKO (Soccer Kick) Pride 13 March 25, 2001 1 1:38 Japan flag Saitama, Japan
Win 14–3 (1) United States flag Dan Henderson Decision (Unanimous) Pride 12 December 9, 2000 3 5:00 Japan flag Saitama, Japan
No Contest 13–3 (1) Netherlands flag Gilbert Yvel No Contest Pride 11 October 31, 2000 1 0:21 Japan flag Osaka, Japan Yvel was kicked in the groin
Win 13–3 United States flag Guy Mezger KO (Punch) Pride 10 August 27, 2000 1 3:45 Japan flag Saitama, Japan
Win 12–3 United States flag Todd Medina KO (Knees) Meca 2 August 12, 2000 1 0:39 Brazil flag Curitiba, Brazil
Loss 11–3 United States flag Tito Ortiz Decision (Unanimous) UFC 25 April 14, 2000 5 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan For UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Win 11–2 Netherlands flag Bob Schrijber Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round January 30, 2000 1 2:42 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
Win 10–2 Japan flag Daijiro Matsui Decision Pride 8 November 21, 1999 2 10:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
Win 9–2 United States flag Carl Malenko Decision Pride 7 September 12, 1999 2 10:00 Japan flag Yokohama, Japan
Win 8–2 United States flag Tony Petarra KO (Knee) UFC 20 May 7, 1999 1 2:53 United States flag Birmingham, Alabama
Win 7–2 United States flag Eugene Jackson Submission (Punches) IVC 10 April 27, 1999 1 0:32 Brazil flag Brazil Won IVC Light Heavyweight Championship
Win 6–2 United States flag Adriano Serrano KO (Punches and Soccer Kick) IVC 9 January 20, 1999 1 0:22 Brazil flag Brazil
Loss 5–2 Brazil flag Vitor Belfort TKO (Punches) UFC Brazil October 16, 1998 1 0:44 Brazil flag São Paulo, Brazil
Win 5–1United States flag Mike Van Arsdale KO (Punch and Soccer Kick) IVC 6 August 23, 1998 1 4:00 Brazil flag São Paulo, Brazil
Loss 4–1Brazil flag Artur Mariano TKO (cut) IVC 2 September 15, 1997 2 13:10 Brazil flag Brazil
Win 4–0 Brazil flag Egidio da Costa Submission (Punches) IVC 2 September 15, 1997 1 2:27 Brazil flag Brazil
Win 3–0 United States flag Sean Bormet KO (Head Kick) IVC 2 September 15, 1997 1 1:19 Brazil flag Brazil
Win 2–0 Brazil flag Marcelao Marcelao Submission (Shoulder Injury) BVF 10 July 1, 1997 1 0:20 Brazil flag Brazil
Win 1–0 Brazil flag Dilson Filho KO (Elbow) BVF 6 November 1, 1996 1 3:35 Brazil flag Brazil
Wanderlei Silva
Preceded by:
PRIDE FC logo Succeeded by:
Dan Henderson
PRIDE Middleweight Champion
November 3, 2001 – February 24, 2007
Wanderlei Silva
Preceded by:
PRIDE FC logo Succeeded by:
Mauricio Rua
PRIDE Middleweight Tournament Champion
November 9, 2003

Notes and references Edit

  1. "Wanderlei Silva Biography", retrieved from, URL accessed March 23, 2010
  2. "Sherdog Names Wanderlei Silva the 2004 Fighter of the Year", retrieved from, URL accessed March 23, 2010

External links Edit

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