UFC 139 Fight Card Primer: Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 18: (L-R) Middleweight opponents Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le face off after weighing in during the UFC 139 Weigh In at the HP Pavilion on November 18, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In the semi-main event of UFC 139: Henderson vs. Rua, former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1, 1 NC; 3-5 UFC) welcomes former Strikeforce champion Cung Le (7-1; UFC debut) to the Octagon. This is a Middleweight fight, and will be the second to last bout of the evening. The Axe Murderer sneaks into the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings at #18 at Middleweight, while Le is unranked, largely due to his inactivity.The PPV card airs on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

This fight was originally planned as Vitor Belfort vs. Cung Le, but when Belfort was forced to drop out, his countryman and rival Wanderlei Silva stepped in to take his place. The end result is a fight that, to be honest, has no real impact on the UFC Middleweight division, but is a lot of fun. Both Le and Wandy have highly entertaining styles, based primarily on striking. This is in many ways a kind of old school MMA battle - the Sanshou master vs. the wild Brazilian Muay Thai specialist. Obviously, both men possess deeper games than just their one discipline, but I would expect them to stand and duke it out here.

How do these two stack up?

Silva: 35 years old | 5'11" | 74" reach
Le: 39 years old | 5'10" | 69" reach

What have these two done recently?

Silva: L - Chris Leben (KO) | W - Michael Bisping (UD) | L - Rich Franklin (UD) 
Le: W - Scott Smith (KO) | L - Scott Smith (KO) | W - Frank Shamrock (TKO) 

How did these two get here?

Wanderlei Silva is one of the true legends of the sport, but he joins Mirko Cro Cop as the big Pride names who just have not been able to get it going in the UFC. Since his return in 2007 for the huge Chuck Liddell dream fight at UFC 79, Silva is just 2-4. After dominating the Pride ranks for so many years, he has lost 6 of his last 8, with 4 of those 6 loses coming via brutal, lights-out KOs. There's no doubt he'll still come forward, still bring the crazy Axe Murderer aggression, but he is only getting older, with his chin taking more and more damage. You have to ask yourself how many more chances you will have to see this legend compete.

UFC 139 Results | Dan Henderson Interview | Weigh-In Results

Cung Le is a unique fighter in the MMA landscape. The Vietnamese native started his fighting career in Sanshou where he earned a number of accolades throughout the 90's. He competed in other stand-up competitions, including a brief 3-0 run in K-1, before transitioning to MMA in 2006. As an MMA fighter, he became an immediate local draw for Strikeforce, as Le has a massive following in San Jose. His 2008 fight with Frank Shamrock was a big event for Strikeforce, with Le breaking the arm of his legendary opponent and claiming the Strikeforce Middleweight belt in the process. Since then, he has focused more on his acting career, with only 2 fights in that time (a 1-1 split with Scott Smith). Even though he is making his UFC debut, and he hasn't fought in over a year, don't be surprised if he gets the biggest ovation on Saturday.

Why should you care?

I love this fight. Two massively entertaining fighters coming together in what should be a wild affair. Add in what will hopefully be a rabid crowd, and you have a potential show-stealer right here. 


More UFC 139 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.


UFC 139: The PRIDE History of Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 139: Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139: Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139: Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139 Weigh-In Results: Two Fighters Miss Weight - Tim Burke

UFC 139 Shogun vs Henderson: Staff Picks and Predictions

UFC 139: Nick Pace in a 'Dream Fight' Against Miguel Torres - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 139: Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson Countdown Video - Tim Burke

UFC 139 Roundtable: Did the Marketing Push For UFC on Fox Kill UFC 139's Buy Rate?

UFC 139 Interview: Chris Weidman Talks Wrestling, UFC Jitters, and His Fade - Matthew Roth

UFC 139 Video - Dana White Talks UFC on Fox, Fox 2, and Dan Henderson - Matthew Roth

UFC 139 Judo Chop: Cung Le and the Sanshou Spinning Back Kick - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 139: Bader vs. Brilz, McDonald vs. Soto Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video and Coverage - Tim Burke

Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 101: Derek Brunson, UFC 139 Preview - Matt Bishop

UFC 139: Embracing the Beautiful Violence of Mixed Martial Arts - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 139: Shogun vs Henderson Conference Call Quick Quotes - Matthew Roth

UFC 139: Brian Bowles Discusses Fight With Urijah Faber - Tim Burke

UFC 139: Miguel Torres vs. Nick Pace Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139: Facebook Undercard Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 139: The Magnificent Ruin of Wanderlei Silva - Leland Roling

UFC 139 Media Call News and Updates - Matthew Roth

UFC 139: Dana White Video Blog, Part One - Tim Burke

UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson Betting Lines - Tim Burke

UFC 139: Martin Kampmann Discusses Recent Losses, Fight With Rick Story - Tim Burke

UFC 139 Video: Shogun vs. Henderson In-Depth Preview - Anton Tabuena

UFC 139 Fight Card: Shogun vs. Henderson - Tim Burke

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