Anderson Silva's 5 Most Effective Offensive Maneuvers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Right, left, spin, knee, kick. Anderson Silva has proven he can hurt you any way he sees fit.
UFC 162 is only a day away, which means Chris Weidman has a chance soon to hand Silva his first loss inside the Octagon. We all suspect Weidman's game plan will be to pressure Silva early, take him down and keep him there.
But what will Silva do?
This question is the reason why even the less-educated fight fan watches an Anderson Silva fight. They want to see what devastating trick he has up his sleeve this time.
While The Spider is famous for bringing something new to the Octagon each time, there are a few moves he always fits in to his destruction of opponents. The following list will rank Silva's five best offensive maneuvers based on the frequency with which they are used to hurt opponents.
It's simple, so let's take a look.
The only reason an Anderson Silva front kick didn't make the list is because it has only done damage in one fight. But what a kick it was.
Vitor Belfort lasted a little more than three minutes before Silva struck with something nobody has ever seen in the Octagon. He knocked his block off with a front kick to the face.
This knockout is arguably the best and most devastating knockout of Silva's career—definitely the most unique. The craziest thing about the kick is that Belfort didn't even react when the kick was thrown, which proves just how unexpected Silva can be.
Steven Seagal was later credited with teaching the kick to Silva, but the credit still goes to The Spider for shock value alone. No Silva story is complete without a recounting of the infamous front kick to the face.
5. Leg Kick
Anderson Silva is an exceptional muay thai fighter who utilizes these skills mostly from the clinch with devastating knees. But Silva has shown the ability to wear down opponents with leg kicks.
While the majority of Silva leg kicks that do damage are thrown during a flurry of punches to get opponents off-balance, Silva is very methodical when it comes to punishing the legs.
His fight against Demian Maia was perhaps the worst fight of his career, mostly because he did more dancing than fighting. But when Silva did fight he used leg kicks to keep Maia dancing himself.
It's fitting that offensive leg kicks make it at No. 5 on this list and the ones shown are in such an unmemorable fight. But starting at the 3:53 mark of this video, Silva uses kicks before putting Maia on the ground with one to the leg coming forward.
They're usually used to keep opponents off-balance during flurries, but it's worth noting that Silva can wear down opponents' legs and keep them at bay when needed.
4. Left Head Kick
The left head kick from Silva is another move he usually throws during flurries to add a little extra pop to the beating. He hurt Rich Franklin and Chris Leben with head kicks before ending those fights in devastating fashion.
A fight that most fans won't remember, or maybe have not even seen, is his first fight in Pride in June 2002 against Alex Stiebling. Stiebling proved to be an inferior opponent, and his record of 6-9 afterward proves it, but the effectiveness of Silva's kicks deserved mentioning.
Even though the left head kick to Stiebling's face 40 seconds into the highlight reel didn't knock him out, the gash it caused forced the doctor to stop the fight.
The kick lands about as flush as it could with Silva's shin cracking Stiebling's nose. While it isn't an official knockout in the literal sense, Stiebling's face tells just how effective Silva's head kicks are.
3. Counter Right Hand
It was mentioned in the last slide that Chris Leben was hurt with a head kick from Anderson Silva that set up the flurry that ended his night. But Leben was hit with so many counterpunches that the head kick probably didn't matter.
The Spider is a notorious counterpuncher who times his opponents' shots before striking with his own, Much like a Floyd Mayweather, Silva strikes with a furious counter right that hurts other fighters.
Aggressive fighters like Leben play right into the Silva ploy by lunging forward with punches before meeting their demise with bunches and bunches of straight right hands.
The video shows Silva waiting for Leben to come forward before attacking. The knee to the face ended it, but the counter right landed flush multiple times to set up the kill.
2. Knees (From Anywhere)
Knees, knees and more knees. This is one of the most devastating parts of Anderson Silva's repertoire.
Silva uses his knees very methodically, never throwing wild ones, unless you count the one knee knockout to Carlos Newton's mug in his Pride days. He does the majority of his knee work in the clinch, a place where he has never been seriously controlled.
Against then-UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, Silva showed everyone how useful a solid clinch game is, holding Franklin in place and firing knee after knee to a defenseless opponent.
Silva utilized his famous lay-and-prey style before clinching up and landing more knees than I care to count. He appears to land equally to the body and head before putting Franklin away with a perfectly placed knee to the face, similar to the one that knocked out Stephen Bonnar.
This was Silva's second UFC fight, and the start of his reign at the top of the division. It's only right that his patented knees were the maneuvers that clinched it. Pun intended.
1. Laying and Preying
Speaking of lay-and-prey, and unfortunately Stephen Bonnar, the top offensive maneuver on this list has to be Silva's lay-and-wait style. And it isn't even technically a maneuver.
Silva is the most accurate striker in UFC history, landing at a rate of 67 percent, according to Fight Metric. One of the reasons he has been able to accomplish this over seven years as champion is because he waits for you to make a mistake.
"The Spider" is not an aggressive fighter unless he has you hurt, so your best bet is to rush him and vary your attacks to ensure he cannot sit back and time you. Steroids and an iron chin couldn't save Bonnar from such an attack.
As the video clearly shows, Silva all but dares Bonnar to engage him while he lays back on the cage and waits to strike. The irony of this is that when Bonnar keeps coming in to engage, Silva uses all of the maneuvers appearing on this list, before sealing the deal with a knee to the jugular.
As embarrassing as it was for Bonnar, it perfectly paints a picture of Silva: A predator waiting to pounce on his inferior prey.