UFC Picks: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brain Stann

Brian Mendez

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:33 PM GMT

Exactly how much resistance is there left in the 36 year old chin of former Pride Legend Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva? And does Brian Stann possess the power and speed to exploit a fading legend?

UFC Fuel TV 8: Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer” Silva vs. Stann

For only the second time in promotional history, UFC on Fuel TV 8 returns to Saitama, Japan as Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva headlines the action against UFC middleweight, Brian Stann.

Seeing as how badly Stann’s power matches up with the increasingly fading chin of Silva, UFC odds makers opened the former marine as a-200 favorite in this math-up. Once bettors have time to fully evaluate both men on the scales, however, chances are we’ll be looking at a price much closer to -250 after weigh-ins.

For Silva, Brian Stann is simply not type of opponent "The Axe Murderer" wants to see at the tail end of his 17 year career in the sport. Through his 12 victories inside the octagon, 9 of Stann’s victims have been KO’d, which includes first round knockouts he scored to kick off his career- producing an overall knockout rate of 70%.

Conversely, Silva has been knocked out in 4 of his last 10 fights –most recently at the hands of Chris Leben back at UFC 132 in July of 2011.Since then, he’s TKO’d Cung Le and dropped a unanimous decision to Rich Franklin in his home country of Brazil at UFC 147.

Considering how well he held up for all 5 rounds in the rematch with Franklin, though, there’s a small chance bettors may be slightly underestimating just how much fight he still has left at 36 years old.

However, Franklin has always been more of a volume striker with little power in any one of his single strikes. That unfortunately won’t be the case with Stann whose power has cracked through the incredible durableness of guys like Steve Cantwell and Chris Leben in the past.

I can only see this fight ending one way, and that’s with Silva being left sprawled out on the canvas within the first 2 rounds of the fight. Look for Stann to officially pick up the tenth knockout of his career.

UFC Picks: Brian Stann -220 at 5dimes.com

Heavyweights: Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

Co-headlining the card will be a clash of heavyweight as Stefan Struve looks to extend his current 4 fight win streak over New Zealand’s Mark Hunt

Since getting knocked out by Travis Browne at UFC 130, Stefan Struve has strangely become the most undervalued heavyweight in the sport. Over the course of his last 4 bouts, he’s been an underdog in nearly every fight and hasn’t closed above -150 during his recent win streak.

His last outing against Stipe Miocic, who he opened as +195 underdog against, was perhaps his most impressive upset to date.

More than anything, that performance highlighted just how physically taxing it is for fighters to routinely try and get inside on the much longer, 84.5 inch reach of Struve. By the second round, Stipe looked spent and no longer had the required energy to keep Struve off of him in the exchanges, eventually getting him knocked out midway into the second round.

For someone who has shown such poor conditioning in the past, you have to think Mark Hunt’s only legitimate shot at winning this fight will be catching Struve sometime within the first round.

Struve’s still has an awful tendency of defensively freezing up when he’s backed into the cage , so Hunt should find at least one or two clean opportunities in the first round to land the one shot he needs to end the fight. However, I’m siding with Struve surviving the first round for my UFC Picks, as his superior conditioning allows him to eventually latch onto a submission in second half of the match.

UFC Picks: Stefan Struve -155 at betdsi.com