With over 30 live events in the last year, the UFC made lots of headlines in 2013. Some were inspiring and awesome, some devastating and disappointing. Heroic displays of bravery and fortitude mixed in with stunning wins and losses (and ties). Titles changed hands. And of course, drugs, the legal kind, the illegal kind, and the legal-when-we-say-so kind. Let's take a look back at all these things, through the Silva looking glass.
Silvas provided us some of the absolute best fights of 2013, and some of the most amazing stand-up wars we've ever seen in the Octogon. In early March, the first true Fight of the Year candidate occurred between two of the UFC's bravest bangers, a for-real GI Joe in Brian Stann versus a throwback to PRIDE's brutal, crowd pleasing ways, Wanderlei Silva. For just under 10 minutes, the strategy was simple. Blast the other guy harder than he blasts you. Forget the future, forget buying time to recover, forget stepping back, maybe even forget your own name. Just go. Wandy got the victory, an extra $100K in bonus money, and in that one match, he became the most successful Silva of 2013.
Antonio Silva gave us even more thrills this year than Wandy did, but it wasn't all Wins and Bonuses for this monstrous Brazilian. Sure he lost to the champ again in a vicious beatdown, but it was his 2 matches against K1 legends that made us all really take notice. Everyone expected the 'Reem-Big Foot match to finish in a KO, but when the gassed-out Alistair started to slow, the giant happily put fist to face and notched the most unlikely win of his UFC career thus far. Later on in the year, Antonio out-did himself again, with an other-worldly performance against Mark Hunt, a man of tremendous power, and a home field advantage. The two fought to a draw, and the world stood and cheered. Never had this Brazilian received so much praise (and this is a guy who once beat Fedor), and this new crowd favorite had a few bright, glorious days to soak it all in. Suddenly, a failed drug test with too much T in his TRT, and all of a sudden Big Foot's glory was stomped out, his bonus rescinded, and another black mark was added to his record.
The most famous Silva, Anderson the Spider, gave us the most stunning loss of the year. True, a lot of people expected Anderson to lose to Chris Weidman, but to lose by devastating knock-out after employing his Drunken Master-ish tactics, now that was something nobody expected to ever see. Of course, as the champ might say, everybody lose sometime. Is normal. With a strong year-end performance, Silva may very well once again hold the belt, and the loss will merely add to his ever-growing legend. We'll know soon enough.
Some Silvas are on the way up, some down, some staying somewhere in the middle. Thiago Silva put together a pair of wins this year, but it's hard to say he's on his way up. Missing weight and not being able to finish off a completely immobile and useless Matt Hamill ain't part of the rising star formula, far as I can tell. And Erick Silva, the pride of Jungle Fights and protege of the inimitable Wallid Ismail, isn't exactly burning up the ranks like many thought he would. 1 win, 1 loss, and we're pretty much back at square one with this guy. Leandro Silva went 0-1, but the future is bright for this young Brazilian. (OK, he's not so young, but 28 ain't exactly ancient, either.) As far as Claudio Henrique da Silva, well, we'll have to wait for next year's Silva report. He'll be debuting March 8th in London.
Hopefully, 2014 will bring us many more great fights, more brave fighters, less TRT, and a rebound year for Silvas of any weight.