Tattoos and MMA – Wanderlei Silva

Continuing the series of MMA fighter’s tattoos I would like to cordially introduce you to the legendary Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva. Despite appearances and his lethal moniker, he is a modern fighting hero and a gentleman (albeit only outside of the cage).  

Silva’s fighting career started in his homeland of Brazil where he competed in bare knuckle Vale Tudo events, as such he is a rather fitting embodiment of our blogs title.

He is known for his aggressive fighting style with the majority of his fights ending in knockout or referee stoppage due to strikes. His attacks mainly rely on engaging opponents with punches and knees from the Muay Thai clinch and boxing from inside the pocket. Although he specializes in Muay Thai, he has also received his black belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. Silva was given the nickname “Cachorro Louco” (“Mad Dog”) in Brazil because of his aggressive style and his pre-fight opponent “stare down”. He is the former IVC light heavyweight champion, former Pride middleweight (205 lb) champion, and the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix champion.

After spending a majority of his career in Brazil, Silva has now opened his own gym, The Wand Fight Team Training & Conditioning Center, in Las Vegas and currently trains there with his coach Rafael Cordeiro. He sports a tattoo on his right shoulder/ chest of his logo as a tribute to his fight team.

By far his most famous and one of his earliest tattoos is a tribal design on the back of his head. Although it isn’t technically a good tattoo, it fits his fighting persona perfectly.


Tattoos now adorn his body and arms and consist of a mixture of motivational quotes and tributes to his family.

In the video below Silva visits the Huntington Ink Tattoo Studio at The Palms in Las Vegas to add to his collection, a tattoo by artist Steve Soto from Goodfellas Tattoo, Orange, CA.

There are too many highlight reels on the internet but I feel I chose the one that best expresses his direct fighting style and the unrelenting violence of his fighting style.


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