PRIDE, UFC and Bellator veteran Wanderlei Silva may be done with mixed martial arts, but he’s not done competing in front of a crowd. The legendary ‘Axe Murderer’ is about to jump on the celebrity boxing train. On his official Instagram account, the 47-year-old former champion announced that he will be making his boxing debut against Brazilian bodybuilder and YouTuber Felipe Franco, who turns 38 in October. The pair is expected to meet at Attack Fight Show, on November 25.
PRIDE legend Wanderlei Silva is back
In a lengthy post, Silva addressed his followers, asking for support ahead of his boxing debut against Franco. Furthermore, the Brazilian emphasized how much he feels excited about the new challenged and showed deep respect towards his opponent. The post also featured a brief video of the first staredown between the pair.
“My friends, fans and admirers. I’m here today to share news that fill my hear with emotion and excitement. After a while away from the rings, I’m back. This time in a different sport: boxing. It’s not any fight, too. I’m fighting a great challenger in Felipe Franco. He’s a well-known bodybuilder and a force to be reckoned with. I’m more than aware that this will be a brutal fight, a battle of determination, strength and strategy.”
“The decision to return wasn’t easy to make. However, the fire that burns within me, my passion and love for the sport have motivated me to pursue new challenges, overcome limitations and show the world that the will to win never fades. It’s an honor to face Felipe Franco, an athlete who’s respect and worthy of admiration. I know he has prepared intensely, as have I. The ring will be stage where we’ll write a new chapter of our careers. I’m ready to show all my skills and determination.”
“I want to thank everyone who’s supported me and never stopped believing in me. I thank everyone for the encouragement and the positive energy you give me. I know I will be representing not just me, but everyone who supports and follows me. I’m looking forward to the night of the fight, for the sound of the bell announcing the start of an intense battle. We’ll face each other with respect and courage, knowing that only the best will prevail in the end.”
“Get ready for an epic fight, full of emotion and determination. I’m back in the rings, ready to show the world my power. I’m counting on your support, my warriors. I promise I’ll everything take make every single one of you proud. Thank you for the love. I’ll see you in the ring. The ‘Mad Dog’ is back.”
The match is set to be an exhibition bout
On Twitter, MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz also reported that Wanderlei Silva’s fight will be taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As of yet it appears the promotion does not have a venue yet, but—according to Attack Fight Show’s promoter—the match will be an exhibition bout.
Wanderlei Silva hasn’t fought since 2018
Outside of fighting, recently Silva has been trying his hand at politics. The fighter made a run for a chair in the Brazilian Congress for his home state of Parana, but failed to gain office in both the 2018 and 2022 elections. During his campaign, he was an avid supporter of former Brazilian far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who did not get re-elected in 2022. On his official Instagram account, the Axe Murderer thanked his fans for the support, claiming that he still had more to learn.
In terms of competition, Silva has been retired from MMA since a TKO loss in his fourth match against Quinton Jackson, in September 2018. During his career, the 47-year-old was best known for his heavy hands and wild style, which earned him 27 knockout wins, as well as seven KO losses. Some of the Brazilian’s most notable wins include victories over Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Michael Bisping and the aforementioned ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
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