Wanderlei Silva is an MMA fighter best known for competing in the Japanese MMA promotion organization “Pride Fighting Championships” (PRIDE). Silva, dubbed “The Axe Murderer,” is one of the most recognized MMA fighters in the history of “PRIDE,” holding the records for most wins, championship defenses, knockouts, and longest winning streak. He defeated American mixed martial artist Quinton Jackson in the 2003 “PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament,” and he also held the “PRIDE Middleweight Championship.”
Silva is also well-known for his participation in the “Ultimate Fighting Championship,” a prominent American MMA promotion organization (UFC). In 2000, he was given the opportunity to compete in the “UFC Light Heavyweight Championship” against Tito Ortiz. In 2004, he was selected as “Fighter of the Year” by the American MMA website “Sherdog.” He is now under contract with “Bellator MMA” and “Rizin Fighting Federation.”
Childhood and Adolescence
Wanderlei César da Silva was born in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil on July 3, 1976. He began learning kickboxing and Muay Thai at the “Chute Boxe Academy” in Curitiba when he was 13 years old. In his late teens, he joined the Brazilian army and quickly rose through the ranks because of his fighting skills.
He was asked to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Vale Tudo while serving in the army. He competed in the Brazilian MMA promotion “International Vale Tudo Championship” from 1997 until 1999. (IVC). He fought in several “IVC” bouts, winning five of six fights. On April 27, 1999, he defeated Eugene Jackson in “IVC 10” to win the cruiserweight title.
On October 16, 1998, Silva made his “UFC” debut at “UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil.” He was knocked out by Vitor Belfort after only 44 seconds of the fight. In his second UFC fight, Silva knocked out Tony Petarra on May 7, 1999.
Silva made his debut in “PRIDE” on September 12, 1999, when he faced Carl Ognibene. From 1999 until 2004, he stayed unbeaten in the middleweight division of “PRIDE,” winning 18 contests in a row. His unbeaten streak includes a tie with Mirko Cro Cop and a no-contest with Gilbert Yvel.
Meanwhile, Silva was offered the opportunity to fight Tito Ortiz for the “UFC Light Heavyweight Championship” on April 14, 2000, at “UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3”. The unanimous judgment of the judges at the end of the fifth and final round went against him.
On December 31, 2004, Silva’s five-year winning streak in “PRIDE” came to an end when he was defeated by Samoan fighter Mark Hunt. Despite this, Silva’s outstanding performance in 2004 garnered him “Fighter of the Year” accolades from “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” (WON) and “Sherdog.”
On August 28, 2005, he suffered his first loss in the “PRIDE” middleweight division to Ricardo Arona. Many criticized his loss against Arona, and his title as Middleweight Champion was called into question. Silva defeated Arona in a rematch on December 31, 2005, by a split decision.
Mirko Cro Cop knocked out Silva during the ‘Heavyweight Grand Prix’ semi-finals on September 10, 2006, during the 10th year of Pride Fighting Championships. He defended his “PRIDE” middleweight belt against Dan Henderson on February 24, 2007. Silva lost his belt when Henderson knocked him out in the third round of the fight.
Silva inked a contract with the “UFC” in August 2007. After months of speculation regarding Silva’s opponent for his rematch with the ‘UFC,’ the former ‘PRIDE’ middleweight champion met Chuck Liddell on December 29, 2007, at ‘UFC 79: Nemesis.’ Silva was defeated by a unanimous decision.
He fought Keith Jardine at “UFC 84: Ill Will” in Las Vegas on May 24, 2008. He won the match by knocking out Jardine, and he also received the “Knockout of the Night” award for his efforts. Silva faced Quinton Jackson at “UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008,” whom he had defeated twice in “PRIDE.” By knocking Silva out in the first round, Jackson avenged his prior defeats.
Due to facial surgery, Silva announced in 2009 that he would not fight again until 2010. Wanderlei Silva fought Michael Bisping in the middleweight class at “UFC 110” on February 21, 2010, after recovering from facial reconstruction surgery. Silva was proclaimed the victor by unanimous decision at the conclusion of the third and final round. Silva’s first victory in over two years.
Silva had knee surgery in July 2010, which kept him out of play until 2011. Silva fought Chris Leben at “UFC 132” on July 2, 2011. Leben won the match after knocking out Silva in the first round. After the match, UFC President Dana White was asked about Silva’s potential retirement. White responded by adding that the decision is up to Silva. He did, however, state that this was the best time for him to retire.
On November 19, 2011, Silva fought against former ‘Strikeforce’ champion Cung Le. Cung Le’s nose was smashed during the bout, and the match was called off by the referee. During the press conference, Dana White disclosed that Cung Le had to be rushed to the hospital.
Silva refused to take a random drug test in 2014. He also declined to apply to fight in Nevada, the United States. As a result, the Nevada State Athletic Commission issued him a lifetime ban and a $70,000 fine. Judge Kerry Earley reversed Silva’s lifelong ban in May 2015.
Silva inked a multi-fight contract with “Bellator MMA” in 2016. On June 24, 2017, he made his “Bellator” debut against Chael Sonnen. Silva eventually lost the bout by unanimous decision. He met Quinton Ramone Jackson at “Bellator 206” on September 29, 2018, and lost in the second round.
Other Significant Works
Wanderlei Silva is well-known for his acting abilities, in addition to his combat abilities. He made an appearance in the American comedy film “Here Comes the Boom” in 2012. The film, directed by Frank Coraci, stars Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler in key parts.
Silva starred as Vandarei Shiuba in the 2005 Japanese film “Nagurimono: Love & Kill.”
He starred as Chud in the American martial arts film “Kickboxer: Retaliation” in 2018. In the movie, which was directed by Dimitri Logothetis, there were a lot of well-known sports stars, like Rico Verhoeven and Renato Sobral.
Personal and Family Life
In 2002, Wanderlei Silva married Tea Silva. Thor Silva is the couple’s son. From a previous relationship, he has a daughter named Rafaela Silva. Silva’s father, Holando Pinheiro da Silva, died in an automobile accident on August 26, 2012.
He was granted US citizenship in April 2016. Silva returned to his homeland in Brazil after spending several years in the United States.