One of the more surprising twists of Bellator’s latest fight card was the heavyweight bout between MMA legends ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. Not surprising because it wasn’t an exceptional display of technical skill, or because ‘Rampage’ walked away with the victory. But instead, a surprise just because it was a lot more fun than many people had anticipated.
The two quadragenarians battled back and forth for the better part of two rounds before Silva went out on his shield, the victim of a massive right hand and series of followup shots. And for his trouble, Rampage walked away not just with $300,000 in his pocket, but having evened a long-standing score. Now 2-2 over four bouts, stretching all the way back to 2003, it seems – at least for the fighters involved – that their rivalry still has legs.
Despite taking his second straight loss (in his only two fights since a whirlwind of events in 2013 – culminating a since-overturned ‘lifetime ban’ from MMA), the 42-year-old Silva released a statement on Instagram shortly after the event, making it clear that his career was anything other than over.
“I’d like to thank all my friends and fans for rooting for me,” Silva wrote on the social media platform (translated by MMAjunkie). “Leaving the octagon acclaimed made me very happy and it gives me the strength to fight again. I represented our country with heart. Unfortunately, the win didn’t come this time. It was the best fight of the night at Bellator 206. At 42, I can still do a few more fights. I’m already thinking about the next one. Who could be my next opponent? Thank you for the support, brothers.”
As for that “next opponent”? At the post-fight presser, Silva told the assembled media that he’d love to get a 5th fight with Rampage in the books to settle things once and for all (transcript via MMAjunkie).
“Real rivals don’t exist anymore,” he said. “This is one of the last ones. Four fights, never go to the points. Now we have to have the fifth fight. I accept already. I hope he accept too because he beat me two times, I beat him two times, and now have to have fifth fight to decide. Next time I’m going to cut your head.”
Jackson was quick to accept that challenge, responding that he’s “down for a fifth fight,” if Bellator is interested. Coker was reportedly noncommittal, saying only that they would “have that conversation.” But, if everyone can get on the same page, who knows? Maybe fans will get a chance to see Silva vs. Rampage 5 in 2019.