Wanderlei Silva is returning to heavyweight for the first time since 2006 for a fourth fight with one of his biggest rivals in the sport, and his coach expects a short night in San Jose.
After a long training camp at Evolucao Thai in Curitiba, Brazil, getting “The Axe Murderer” ready to battle Quinton Jackson at Bellator 206, coach Andre Dida told MMA Fighting that memories of Silva’s previous wins over “Rampage” will help him go 3-1 against the former UFC champion.
Silva, an ex-champion and superstar in PRIDE, knocked “Rampage” out twice in the Japanese ring in 2003 and 2004, and Dida expects the same outcome more than a decade later.
”My job is to let Wanderlei be Wanderlei,” Dida told MMA Fighting. “Get him as sharp as possible, with quick and powerful hands, and great cardio, so he does his thing. Wanderlei is experienced and knows what to do in there.
”Wanderlei has the recipe to beat Quinton Jackson. He knows that Quinton Jackson will trade with him at some point, and that’s when Wanderlei will use his hands and his clinch, his knees. Rampage is traumatized, so we will bring those memories back.”
Dida guarantees Silva is ready to fight five rounds if needed, but doubts it lasts more than 10 minutes.
”We analyzed Rampage’s last fights and he will definitely do the same things, fight the same way,” Dida said. “If he tries to surprise us and go for takedowns, Wanderlei is ready for that. Wanderlei will put pressure on the feet and he will have no other option except go for takedowns. Wanderlei’s cardio is ready for that type of fight as well, defend the takedowns and connect his hands.”
“Rampage” avenged one of his losses against Silva the only time they met in the United States, knocking the Brazilian out at UFC 92 in 2008, but the Evolucao Thai coach expects another win for Silva on Saturday.
”Wanderlei has his number,” Dida said. “They fought three times, Wanderlei shocked him twice and was surprised last time, but it’s another day, a new story, another moment. Wanderlei is in a great moment in his life, and I’m sure it will be a great fight.”