Classic Pride Moment | Today we’ll take a look back at Wanderlei Silva’s beef with Yuki Kondo. It all began when Pride first signed Kondo. The Pancrase star was set to make his return to the Pride ring when Wanderlei went to the media to petition for the fight
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Wanderlei César da Silva (/ˈvændərleɪ/ VAN-dər-lay; Portuguese: [vɐ̃dɛɾˈlej ˈsɛzɐr dɐ ˈsiɫvɐ]; Japanese: [ban.da.ɾeː ɕi.ɯ.ba]; born July 3, 1976), nicknamed “The Axe Murderer” and “Cachorro Louco” (Portuguese for “mad dog”), is a Brazilian / American mixed martial artist who has competed in Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships and the American-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He holds the record for the most wins, knockouts, title defenses, and longest winning streak in PRIDE history.
He is the former PRIDE Middleweight Champion, and the 2003 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament Champion. He is currently signed with Rizin Fighting Federation and Bellator MMA. Silva’s aggressive style is rooted in street brawling, refined with elements of Muay Thai and kickboxing which he began learning at the age of 13 in Chute Boxe Academy in his hometown Curitiba. As a late teen he joined the Brazilian army and was quickly recognized for his fighting talents and rose up in the ranks.
There he was asked to join Vale Tudo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu school. Silva enlisted after already winning fight tournaments in his age group in Brazil. Silva would develop scar tissue around his eyes from fighting in bare-knuckle vale tudo. Silva’s first professional match was on November 1, 1996, in the bare-knuckle Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting organization (BVF), where he knocked out Dilson Filho via right elbow at BVF 6. He fought in one other match in BVF, BVF 10 on July 1, 1997, against Marcelo Barbosa, who submitted due to a shoulder injury.
Silva fought six matches in four different IVC events, IVC 2, IVC 6, IVC 9 and IVC 10, from 1997 to 1999. He won five of these matches by KO/TKO, with his one loss being the result of a cut stoppage against Artur Mariano in the IVC 2 show on September 15, 1997. Though Silva dominated Mariano with punches and knee strikes, the cut was above Silva’s left eyelid and opened back up several times, partially because Silva continued to use the cut side of his head to inflict many headbutts 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 Cruiserweight 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 Muay Thai knees. Silva entered the UFC on October 16, 1998, at UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil, in a match against Vitor Belfort. The match has arguably been Silva’s worst defeat in his career, lasting only 44 seconds and ending with Silva being knocked down against the cage by Belfort’s punches then 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.