On June 6, 2013, the MMA world was shaken to its core. The legendary Anderson Silva was finally beaten for the first time, courtesy of Chris Weidman. How could this happen to a man who had 16 consecutive victories as well as 10 successful title defenses?
The answer is simple, complacency. Silva didn’t just beat his opponents, he dominated them. Watching Silva fight has been like watching an artist. He starts slowly and when he gets his rhythm, the show begins. Many of Silva’s fights have been spectacles like that.
This time Silva ended up looking like a clown.
For years, Silva has gotten away with showboating. Fights with Demian Maia and Thales Leites were panned because of his excessive antics and not finishing badly outclassed opponents. It was only a matter of time before Silva fought an opponent who would not let him off the hook.
Chris Weidman was that opponent.
A young, dynamic and hard-hitting wrestler, Weidman took the fight to Silva. When Silva clowned around, Weidman did what he was supposed to do, keep on punching.
Weidman caught Silva with a flush left hook on the chin as he was backing up and knocked him out. Immediately after the fight, Silva said he wouldn’t pursue a rematch. A few days later, he did the opposite and got his rematch for later in 2013. The loss may have ended his streak but it may very well be the best thing to happen to Silva’s career.
The loss to Weidman seems to have reinvigorated Silva. He didn’t have much of a spark in recent fights and looked bored. Silva sounds very motivated and will train harder for the rematch. How should Silva fight Weidman in the rematch?
Silva is blessed with a long reach and primarily fights as a southpaw. When he was fighting in Shooto and PRIDE, Silva had a killer right jab. His technique was always the best of the Chute Boxe crew that included Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva. He has not used his jab as should to set up shots in recent fights. I would expect that to change in the coming rematch.
The other problem I see with Silva is his inactivity.
He has let opponents off the hook and let them stay upright when he should have finished them. Activity will be key for Silva to discourage Weidman from attempting shots. I expect Silva to throw the jab repeatedly.
He will have to avoid shots from Weidman. However, with the right training, Silva will be able to avoid the shots. There were signs of Silva being better, he just needs to keep his focus.
This fight has the potential to be the biggest in UFC history. No doubt that there will be tons of curiosity on how Silva will bounce back from his first loss in seven years. Fireworks will occur when these two gladiators clash.
One is looking to prove the first time wasn’t luck. The other is looking for redemption. I believe that Anderson Silva will regain the middleweight title and get vindication.