Undoubtedly Anderson Silva is one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. I’m a great admirer of him for his incredible striking skills. At :42 there’s a front kick knockout and at 1:42 there’s a hammer-of-God knee. Silva is amazing for his ability to knock people out with a wide variety of weapons, including an upward reverse elbow.
Silva is also successful because he is able to maintain range. I think his strategy of staying on the outside, controlling distance, damaging from a safe range and then closing when he has the advantage, is the wisest strategy. He also has rock-solid takedown defense.
A tall, lanky opponent, he has tremendous reach. You can try to close in on him to hit him or take him down, but you’re going to get punished (if not knocked out) on the way in, and he’ll totally stuff your grappling attempt.
Another facet of Silva’s strategy, and one I don’t particularly care for, is his mind game. He will taunt opponents, practically inviting them to hit him, dropping his hands, making faces, and acting like he’s insulted to be in the ring with a chump like his opponent. This is infuriating, the type of thing that makes you want to sock Silva right in the jaw –which is exactly what Silva is counting on. Don’t forget that Silva is also throwing the stinging jab or leg kick in the middle of his mockery, which is enough to enrage anybody.
At 2:39 versus Forrest Griffin we can see 2 features of Silva’s style. In the first, an enraged Griffin is charging Silva. Before this clip Silva has played the mind game, making a tough opponent like Griffin look like an incompetent buffoon. In the second facet of Silva’s style we see Silva masterfully controlling distance. As Griffin charges in, Silva is just outside of his punches. While backpedaling Silva throws a punch that knocks Griffin out. In fact, Griffin has literally thrown himself onto Silva’s fist.
But Silva is about to get knocked out.
Now some, including Silva himself, will try to spin the KO as a “lucky punch.” This seriously underestimates Chris Weidman’s very real skills. Starting at 2:00 Weidman demonstrates a crushing, python-like guillotine on 2 different opponents. At 2:24 he throws the most beautiful elbow I have ever seen. With the left hand up as guard, Weidman throws the overight elbow, which is the perfect shot by moving inside the effective range of the opponent’s punch. The downward trajectory of the right elbow covers Weidman’s head and draws him downward, underneath the opponent’s high looping overhand punch. He has not only thrown a knockout blow, but he is behind the opponent’s back!
“Lucky punch” talk also underestimates Chris’ preparation, in which he had sparring partners jeering at him, dropping their hands, making faces, and so on. People say Silva shouldn’t have been playing games, but keep in mind that the jeering and mockery has served him well by frustrating and enraging opponents. Only now does that strategy look foolish because Weidman didn’t take the bait.
There is a key factor in Weidman’s knockout at 3:20 that I don’t think anyone has mentioned. Weidman throws in a strike on the offbeat, which disrupts Silva’s rhythm. When you box, punches come right-left-right-left, etc. When ducking and slipping punches you learn to anticipate the 1-2-1-2 nature of striking. Weidman throws the left, then the right, which Silva dodges. However, Weidman throws the offbeat blow, a slapping backfist with the same hand, which Silva also dodges, but the pattern has been disrupted. Instead of left-right-left-right, Weidman throws left-right-right backfist. It is Silva’s dodging of the offbeat blow that leaves him wide open to the follow-up left hook to the jaw, and he goes down. At 3:28 you see the flicking backfist that sets up the left hook KO.
Go here for an excellent breakdown of Weidman’s style.
Listen to Rogan’s take on the fight (language warning). “The whole idea is to not get hit.”
Extraído de Big Stick Combat.
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