Anderson “The Spider” Silva’s Domination

23 06 2011

Today I figured I would write about something that I enjoy instead of ranting about the crazy people, and that is MMA legend Anderson Silva. Many people debate Anderson Silva and whether or not they think he is the greatest fighter. Today I plan to explain why I think he IS the greatest pound for pound fighter.

Who is Anderson Silva?

If you don’t know, you probably don’t follow the sport much or you boycott UFC for some reason. He is the current middleweight champion of the UFC. He has fought 2 times at the light heavyweight class as well. He’s been around the block a few times before the UFC such as Pride, Cage Rage, Rumble on the Rock to name a few. During most of his career in other organizations he has dominated most of his fights and become the champion such as Shooto middleweight champ and Cage Rage middleweight champ. He has also dabbled in boxing and has a 1W 1L record. His current MMA record is 28W 4L. He has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Judo black belt, Taekwondo black belt, Capoeira yellow rope, and continues to train in various styles to round out his fighting ability. He has trained with people such as Steven Segal which helped him defeat some of his more recent opponents. And his BJJ training with the Nogueira brothers helped him win one of his toughest fights ever with Chael Sonnen. This fight alone will have it’s own section in my post, so I’ll save it for later.

So what makes Anderson Silva so dominant? In my opinion, it’s his ability to push people into uncomfortable places during the fight. He is one of the most accurate strikers in the game utilizing more than just his hands. He attacks with fists, elbows, knees, feet, shoulders, and on the ground he can submit people off his back while enduring incredible punishment.

UFC Career

In his UFC career he has defeated people like Chris Leben in his UFC debut fight in the first round. Chris Leben is known for being able to take large amounts of punishment while dishing out his own heavy handed punishment and usually winning the fight this way. Silva came in and as he usually does, he started out slow and let Chris get comfortable, then opened up and shut Leben down relatively quick.

He then became a top contender and fought Rich Franklin for the middleweight belt. Again within the first round he defeated Franklin with devastating knees. Next he blew through Travis Lutter and Nate Marquardt before a rematch with Rich Franklin which was basically a repeat fight ending in heavy knees.

Next, the UFC threw heavy handed world class wrestler Dan Henderson at Silva to try to put a stop to his reign of terror. While Hendo did put up a decent fight, Silva managed to submit him winning dubmission of the night and unified the Pride welterweight and UFC middleweight belts.

Next they offered up a light heavyweight challenge in the KO artist James Irvin. I had always regarded Irvin as a great striker who could probably knock out most. Within the first minute of the fight, Irvin threw a kick, Silva caught it and landed a punch that put Irvin to the mat and ended the fight.

So back at middleweight the UFC probably figured standing fighters were not going to stop Silva, so they put one of the best BJJ fighters up against him with Patrick Cote. Cote tried to bring the fight to the ground, but Silva being smart did not let that happen. Cote later fell victim to an injured knee ending the fight. Many fans begin to despise Silva as a joke, or saying he just dances around. To these people I say who are you watching? Yes he moves out of the way of punches and doesn’t let people dictate the fight, that’s what he is supposed to do as a champion.

Again they threw a BJJ great at Silva with Thales Leites. Leites also tried to bring the fight down, but Silva did a marvelous job keeping the fight on the feet. This fight secured Silva as the most consecutive wins at 9, and tied the most consecutive title defenses with 5. Silva was well on his way to becoming the greatest fighter of all time.

So again at the light heavyweight class, Silva was put against Forrest Griffin. Many know Griffin as the guy who had one of the bloodiest slugfest fights of all time on the first Ultimate Fighter finale. He has taken so much heat in many of his fights, that many thought this fight would at least give Silva a challenge in stopping him and maybe the fight would last the 5 rounds. Within the first round Silva managed to drop Griffin at least 3 times before stopping him with what can only be described as something from the Matrix followed by a jab.

Later in a radio interview Griffin has stated “nothing can be worse than the Silva fight… I tried to hit him, but he just moved his head and looked at me like ‘you crazy white boy’ and then hit me hard on the chin”. This proves the great sportsmanship that these athletes have.

Silva’s first 5 round UFC fight was with Demian Maia who again was a great BJJ fighter, but Silva refused to let the fight down on the ground. He is too intelligent to put himself into harms way. This fight I think solidified many people opinions on Silva, they either loved or hated him. Many people wanted to see action and intensity from the champion. But with a fighter who is known to submit other great BJJ opponents, why would you allow yourself to be taken down by them? Silva shows great fighting intelligence in controlling the fight.

His next fight, and possibly his most intensely watched fight was with Chael Sonnen. I will come back to this later. But for the record, he did win.

His most recent fight was with fellow Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort who once held the belt for a while and was a huge force in the UFC’s earlier days knocking out some of the toughest fighters of the time. This fight was expected to be Silva’s toughest challenge yet. Vitor could knock him out quickly and his record shows that it was very likely to happen. But again, in the first round, the two stood toe to toe and exchanged quick flurries of fists and feet. Vitor then received a quick front kick to the chin that he didn’t see coming. The kick was astounding to see, and later his friend Steven Segal said he taught him that kick for the fight. Later, his other friend Lyoto Machida did a similar kick that stopped Randy Couture.

Now that I’ve covered his UFC career, except 2 fights, his upcoming fight with Okami and the previous fight with Sonnen, I want to talk about his style. Silva mixes up his striking effortlessly. He can go from standing back and delivering counter punches and kicks to a muay thai clinch delivering powerful knees, to being flashy and entertaining for the fans. He has done things like capoeira, and wing chung in the octagon. He has dropped his hands and stood right in front of people on many occasions and when his opponent would take advantage of this defenseless stance, Silva would return a punch with dead accuracy. In fact, one of Griffins knock downs was due to this. He seemed to do a Matrix like maneuver to avoid being hit, then delivered a solid punch.

The Sonnen Experience

What about Chael Sonnen? Silva goes into a fight usually with confidence he can win, and great respect for his opponent. But on at least one occasion, he had no respect. Chael Sonnen is the king of trash talk, and he insulted the Nogueira black belt that Silva had. So from that point on, Silva decided he wanted to submit Sonnen. Whether he won or lost, he was going to prove that BJJ is no joke. He entered the octagon in his gi. He meant business. Anybody who knows Anderson Silva’s style can tell you, he doesn’t start a fight swinging. In this fight Silva came out swinging recklessly. Many might say he was just angry and tried to end it quick, but I saw past that. Silva may have been angry, but he is not careless. He is very smart. He threw a sloppy kick that Sonnen caught knowing he would want to wrestle. This is where the rest of the fight would stay, whenever it went back up, Either Sonnen would take him down, or Silva would throw another sloppy attack. He was losing the fight in points for certain. But he had a plan. He kept at it, and even Joe Rogan commented on it several times. He wanted to choke him with a triangle. Near the end of the fight, Silva managed to slip his legs up Sonnens body without him noticing, likely because he was tired, and slipped in not only a triangle choke but an armbar as well. His plan was dangerous, but it was a plan that worked.

This is why I believe Silva is the greatest fighter. He has the ability to keep people where he wants them, he has the ability to avoid punishment and deliver counter strikes effectively. He will probably retired champion sometime soon.

Who will challenge him next?

I have 2 possible outcomes in mind. 1- GSP has been talked about quite a bit because of their current status as the best. 2- Jon Jones is now being brought up often because of his similar ability to defeat his opponents with ease.

Here is how I think it will likely go down. GSP will continue to act like he wants to fight him, but doesn’t want to change weight classes for 1 fight, and I think he knows he can’t beat many other people in middleweight. This will probably result in the two never fighting. I think this is because Dana White knows if Silva beats GSP, which is very likely, GSP’s ticket selling will go down, and right now GSP is the biggest ticket seller.

Jon Jones has said he would fight him if it was offered to him. Silva is likely willing to fight him as well, and I know that he is willing to jump up to light heavyweight. I think Dana will give Silva 1 more fight at LHW before that happens. It will probably be someone like Rashad Evans or Lyoto Machida, even though Machida doesn’t want to fight his friend, he may offer it as the only option for a title shot again. After which Silva would get the shot at Jones.

What would happen?

GSP is great. I love his ability to control the fight like Silva, but my only criticism of GSP is that he doesn’t ever go outside his typical routine. Silva will mix things up as needed. GSP almost always will take the person down and lay on them for 5 rounds. IF they ever fought, I think Silva would probably submit him off his back if GSP was able to keep him down. But likely Silva was stay on his feet where he knows GSP is at the disadvantage. Silva would probably toy with him for a while to keep the fight going for at least 2 rounds to appease the fans. He would land lots of punches. And I think he would end it with a head kick.

Jon Jones is probably my 3rd favorite fighter right behind Junior Dos Santos. Jones has been able to defeat his opponents almost supernaturally easily. His incredible reach advantage is probably to blame for much of that ease. He’s able to tangle people up like Silva. This would create a bit of trouble for Silva. Jones is very unpredictable like Silva which would also give Silva some trouble, and because Jones is also an amazing wrestler, he would probably take the fight down where he would feel he has an advantage. But again I think Silva would capitalize on the ground game by reversing from the bottom to the top position and then take Jones back when he tried to roll out of the strikes resulting in a choke. The other possible route is for Jones to rely on his reach advantage and try to win by strikes, but with Silva being as fast as he is, he would likely counter is unpredictable striking and win by KO.

So in other words, I don’t think Silva will be stopped any time soon. There is always the risk of anything can happen, and it’s always possible for anyone to land the perfect strike on Silva and win, but I’m simply talking in terms of reliability of the skills of the fighters. If Silva and Jones were to fight 10 times, I think it would be a close 6 wins from Silva 4 from Jones at the very least. Silva is just too smart to fall for tricks. He knows each of his opponents very well, and hasn’t really ever been surprised by them. He continues to dictate the pace of the fights and dominate with ease.

I hope people agree with me on some level, if not, comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh and before I forget… 2nd round KO on Okami. He’s not making this another decision victory.

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