Amid Boos, Anderson Silva's Game Has Taken a Step Forward
Montreal had very little patience for the pound-for-pound king, raining down the boos on the five dominate rounds Anderson Silva turned in over the contender Thales Leites. Coming many predicted an Anderson Silva victory but gave Leites an 'punchers chance' on the ground.
But the fight never reached the ground but once as Silva displayed a vastly improved takedown defense. Leites shot for several takedowns, and Silva stuffed all but one of them. The one time Lietes was in Silva's guard, Silva easily controlled Lietes.
As the fight progressed and as it became clear to Leites he could not move the fight to the ground, became increasing hesitant to engage with Silva. He had several feeble attempts to pull guard which Silva never bit on and Leites ended up following the gameplan laid out by Patrick Cote.
Cote realized Silva's coutnerstriker's mindset and reined in his own aggressiveness to throw off Silva's timing and distance and exploit this for a victory. While this gameplan worked in throwing Silva off, neither Cote nor Leites where ever in control of their fights with Silva.
Silva was able to stuff Leites' takedowns, control the brief action on the ground and Leites never really tried to engage with Silva on the feet. The fight was never in question. The addition of takedown defense has rounded out Silva's game in a terrifying way, fights are decided before the begin.
Silva's frustration with Leites refusal to engage was obvious, and I feel another fight may be quick in coming for Anderson Silva before his presumed matchup with GSP.
I feel that these two lackluster fights of Silva's has been the results of sub-par oppennets who entered their matches with gameplans to avoid being knocked out and possibly sneaking a decision rather than all out efforts for victory.
Silva has not faced an elite level fighter since his match with Dan Henderson in early 2008 and it seems Silva is become bored with his opponents. A match UFC 101 with the aggressive and powerful Nate Marquardt, who has yet to be given a new fight, might be just what the doctor ordered to get Silva's head right for a GSP showdown.
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