Anderson Silva: Is His Jiu-Jitsu Overrated?

Nedu ObiAnalyst IIJune 4, 2012


Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown—it’s seems to be open season for taking pot-shots at Anderson Silva. The latest swipe at the UFC 185-pound kingpin is that his Jiu-jitsu is overrated, and I’m inclined to take that stance as well.

Vinny Magalhães, who has been training Chael Sonnen in the art of submission defense for his upcoming bout with “The Spider,” basically ripped to shreds his BJJ credentials, and in doing so inadvertently questioned the authenticity of the Nogueira brothers, Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogério, who handed Silva his black belt.

“Here’s another point. A lot of people hype Anderson’s Jiu-Jitsu game because he got his black belt from the Nogueira’s. But not every black belt is a high-level black belt. You just happened to have got a black belt under that guy. It’s not like he has great sweeps. It’s not like he has great submissions. How many submissions has he gotten [in the UFC]? He submitted Henderson. He submitted Chael; that’s two guys. And he submitted Travis Lutter. So that’s three guys. He’s even got a couple submission losses. They may be eight years ago, but they’re still losses. So I feel like this whole thing about Anderson being a black belt doesn’t make much of a difference in the fight.

“It’s not that I’m not impressed. People think that if you have a black belt under certain guys, it automatically means you’re excellent at it. It doesn’t mean anything though. Black belts are not always going to have black-belt skills. The whole fight with Chael, [Silva] was on his back the whole time. I’m not saying he’s not good, he just might not be as good as people think he is. He spent 23 minutes on his back [against Chael]. He should’ve got something in those 23 minutes. Yeah, he did. He got the submission. But he was trying the whole time and he couldn’t get it. So like I’m saying, it’s not like he’s not good—he is good—just not as good as people think he is,” Magalhães said.

Truth be told, as Magalhães (both a former UFC resident and M-I Global light heavyweight champion) alluded to, in the entirety of his UFC career which amounts to 14 outings, Silva has only submitted three opponents—Travis Lutter via rear-naked choke and elbows, Dan Henderson by way of rear-naked choke and Chael Sonnen with a triangle armbar.

It’s safe to say that the latter of the three has next to no submission defense, hence his succumbing to eight submissions in 11 defeats.

Furthermore, Silva has only one other legitimate submission on his résumé (a rear-naked choke against Raimundo Pinheiro on his MMA debut), as the other two were submissions via punches.

I also agree with Magalhaes’ take on the Sonnen fight—Silva had intimated before the match that his sole intention was to submit the Oregon native.

However, the payoff didn’t transpire until the 23rd minute, suggesting the Brazilian couldn’t implement his game plan—which should’ve have been a routine submission against (as earlier mentioned) someone of Sonnen’s calibre.

Silva himself has twice been on the receiving end of submissions—Daiju Takase via triangle choke and Ryo Chonan by flying scissor heel hook.

Finally, with regards to Silva’s purported BJJ expertise, against Demian Maia, one of professional MMA’s foremost exponents of the art, he vehemently refused to take matters to canvas, even when Maia imploring beckoned him to do so.

That being said, Silva knew if he’d run the gauntlet, the inevitability of falling victim to a submission was more or less a done deal.


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