Anderson Silva (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog)History Lessons: Meca World Vale Tudo 2 and the Early Anderson Silva The MMA Corner Staff December 28, 2013 Spotlight Every fighter in the UFC, whether champion, legend or debutant, has to start somewhere. That somewhere usually isn’t the big show. Occasionally, multiple future stars end up gathered on a single regional card. At the time, this card may not seem significant, but years down the road, we can look back in hindsight and marvel at how stacked that event turned out to be. That’s exactly what we’ll do in this series, called History Lessons. So, let’s jump in the time machine and travel back. The date was Aug. 12, 2000, and the location was Curitiba, Parana, Brazil. It was time for Meca World Vale Tudo 2. When Anderson Silva steps into the Octagon at UFC 168 in an attempt to reclaim the UFC middleweight crown, he’ll do so as an established legend. Fans already discuss his standing among the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. That legacy, however, was just starting to form back in the year 2000. Silva had fought three times previous to that August night at Meca World Vale Tudo 2. The first two times came in a single-night tournament at an event in 1997, where he defeated Fabricio Camoes in a finals bout that lasted more than 25 minutes. The other was a decision loss to Luiz Azeredo in May 2000. That left “The Spider” with a 2-1 mark when he entered the ring to fight at Meca World Vale Tudo’s second offering. Silva, just 25 years old at the time, was fighting as a welterweight at that point in his career, but he was unleashing just as much damage as he would come to be known for later in his career. His opponent that night, Jose Barreto, would find out as much. Barreto had never fought before, and after enduring a striking barrage from Silva that left him on the mat after just 66 seconds, Barreto would never fight again. “The Spider,” of course, was just getting started on his run to greatness. His victory over Barreto was the first in a nine-fight streak that included a win over Hayato “Mach” Sakurai for Shooto’s middleweight (168-pound) crown and a victory over Carlos Newton at Pride 25. Stunningly, Silva won just three out of five appearances under the Pride banner, with the victory over Newton being his last. He was submitted by Daiju Takase at Pride 26 and by Ryo Chonan via the now-famous flying scissor heel hook at Pride Shockwave 2004. From Silva’s win over Barreto, it would be nearly six years before he landed a series of knees to score a knockout of Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5 in 2006, thus announcing his arrival in the UFC. From there, we all know the rest. Silva picked up the title in his very next fight and held it for almost nearly seven years before falling victim to a Chris Weidman knockout. Silva’s early years were spent as a member of the Chute Boxe Academy fight team, but he wasn’t even the camp’s top representative at Meca World Vale Tudo 2. It was a different Silva that took top billing that night. Wanderlei Silva was already an established veteran of 14 fights when he entered the ring that night. He had fought under the bright lights of Pride and had made a couple of journeys to the UFC, even fighting for the light heavyweight strap in a failed bid against Tito Ortiz at UFC 25. His record stood at 11-3 and he already had a long string of vicious knockout victories. The then 24-year-old Silva was preparing to add another victim to that list. That unknowing victim was Todd Medina. The 30-year-old hadn’t accomplished much to that point in his career, going just 4-5, but he had been a participant in the UFC 5 tournament. At UFC 5, in 1995, Medina scored a TKO victory over Larry Cureton, before falling via TKO to Dave Beneteau. Medina forced Wanderlei against the ropes, only to pay for his troubles by eating a series of knees. It only took 39 seconds before Medina crumbled. “El Tiburon” continued to put up more losses than wins until late in his career. It was only upon his return to action in 2008 that Medina found sustained success. He submitted Shannon Ritch and followed that victory with five more over the course of 2008 and 2009 before again fading back into inactivity. Meanwhile, the fight would mark Wanderlei’s last on a stage that didn’t involve Pride or the UFC. His next appearance came at Pride 10, where he knocked out Guy Mezger. From there, he eventually captured the Pride middleweight championship and reigned over the division until dropping the title to Dan Henderson in his very last Pride fight. He moved on to the UFC after that and has had several memorable performances, though he has never challenged for a belt. Silva seemed to be the name of the night for Meca World Vale Tudo 2. In addition to Anderson and Wanderlei, Assuerio Silva also competed on the seven-fight card. The heavyweight was still struggling to establish himself as a prospect at the time and had just a 3-2 record. He was welcoming Rodrigo da Silva to the pro ranks on that night, and the two engaged in a sloppy battle both on the feet and on the ground. Each man connected with a stomp to the head of their downed opponent, but it was Assuerio’s stomp that ended the fight. Rodrigo lost his next two fights over the span of six years, then returned in 2010 to go 5-2 over seven outings, with his most recent win coming in August 2012. Assuerio, meanwhile, scored two more wins and earned entry into the Pride promotion, where he won his first two fights before suffering a split decision loss to Aleksander Emelianenko. He fought sparingly in Brazil over the next two years before getting the call from the UFC. Over two separate stints inside the Octagon, he faced Tim Sylvia, Brandon Vera and Cheick Kongo, losing all three fights. Murilo “Ninja” Rua was the other notable Chute Boxe name to appear at Meca World Vale Tudo 2. It was only the second fight of his career, coming on the heels of a submission win over Adriano Verdelli at the first Meca World Vale Tudo event. He was paired with Israel Albuquerque, a fight who had only one pro fight, a loss, under his belt. Albuquerque suffered a shoulder injury just past the 90-second mark of the first round, resulting in a submission win for Ninja. Rua would go on to win three more fights and fight to a draw against Akihiro Gono before landing in Pride, where he went on to amass a 6-7 promotional record. Ninja has since gone on to compete under the Strikeforce, EliteXC and Dream banners, but with limited success. After a three-fight losing streak that included a knockout loss to Tom Watson and a TKO defeat at the hands of Paulo Filho, Ninja called it a career. This was a card that gave us an early glimpse of the destructive power of Anderson Silva, and it paved the way for Wanderlei to once and for all secure a spot on the rosters of the world’s biggest MMA promotions. Meca 2 may not have contained a lengthy list of fighters who went on to the UFC or Pride, but with the combined accomplishments of Anderson and Wanderlei, it is a remarkably noteworthy event in MMA’s history.