In the aftermath of UFC 148, in which Anderson "The Spider" Silva defeated Chael Sonnen by second round TKO, Silva firmly established himself as the pound-for-pound number one MMA fighter in the world with his victory.
Chael Sonnen's pre-fight trash talk was legendary, and he really was able to build this fight up. And in the first round, he backed it up, taking Silva down and getting some good ground and pound in to definitively win round one. It looked like it could be a repeat of their first fight, in which Sonnen pummeled Silva for four-plus rounds before ultimately being submitted.
However, when he came out for the second round, Silva looked like a different fighter. He made the necessary adjustments and was able to capitalize on a mistake by Sonnen, in which the American spun to try and hit Silva with a backhand. Silva slipped it (Freddie Roach must've taught them that at their sessions at the Wild Card Gym), and pounced on Sonnen once he fell to the mat.
Silva hit him with a knee to the body that totally neutralized Sonnen. Shortly thereafter, Silva was able to drop Sonnen again and pound him enough to force the stoppage. It was a very impressive victory for the 37-year-old Brazilian.
What really made this win by Silva so great was how he had to once again deal with adversity against Sonnen. It wasn't like he just walked through him and knocked him out in easy fashion, he had to really use his head and fight the right way. And at his age, it's amazing that he's still physically able to out-fight his opponents.
He reminded me a little bit of Floyd Mayweather due to how he adjusted mid-fight, something Floyd is known to do better than virtually everyone else. Is it a coincidence that they're both at the top of their respective sports?
I think not. Silva's extreme ability to adapt to his opponents during the fight is something few fighters possess. That is what makes him so great. Yes, he's a great striker and jiu-jitsu wrestler, but he's smarter than everyone else that he'll ever have to square off against.
It's commonly said that fighting is mostly mental, and Silva showed that on Saturday night against Chael Sonnen. He's the smartest fighter in the sport, and he's still got a very good years, and some very big fights ahead of him.
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