They say defense wins championships, but sometimes defense loses them.
The Anderson Silva era is over after Chris Weidman earned an improbable knockout at UFC 162 to become the middleweight champion. However, the thing everyone seems to be talking about is not Weidman's win, but rather Silva's antics in the cage.
"The Spider" openly taunted Weidman on multiple occasions, putting his hands on his hips, urging Weidman to attack and even shouting across the cage in between rounds.
Eventually, his showboating proved his demise, as Weidman connected with a vicious hook in the second round to knock out the champion. But he missed on plenty of shots prior to the finish.
Weidman went 16-of-43 in terms of significant strikes that fell short of Silva, who landed 58 percent of his strikes. However, the challenger landed the shots that mattered most. Thanks to Silva's taunting, Weidman had several opportunities to do so.
And the champion shouldn't be shocked the fight ended the way it did. Silva did just about everything one isn't supposed to do against Weidman, standing flat-footed with his hands down. It works against guys like Stephan Bonnar and Demian Maia. It doesn't work against guys like Weidman.
Yet even though Silva seemed unconcerned with Weidman's strikes, the challenger held his own on the feet even before the knockout, actually appearing comfortable standing with Silva. Defensively, he was quite good. His offense was quite good as well, even if Silva laughed off plenty of shots.
The champion was the opposite. His defense was poor, even if he made Weidman miss the majority of his strikes, while he landed at a respectable clip.
If Silva had actually attempted to defend Weidman's blows, the fight could have been different. It's hard to argue against the general opinion that Silva is the best striker in MMA history, and he's a more technical, dangerous striker than Weidman (when he actually wants to defend himself).
But Weidman managed to beat Silva at his own game, even if the champ didn't do himself any favors. Had he, Weidman likely would have been forced to fall back on his wrestling. We only saw a glimpse of it on Saturday night.
The challenger looked takedown early, working the fight to the ground within the first minute. Silva would eventually work his way back up, but not before fending off a submission attempt and the ground-and-pound of Weidman.
It was clear that the contender would be most comfortable with Silva on the mat, but keeping "The Spider" down could be an issue. Plus, Silva has been dangerous off his back before.
However, Weidman attempted just three takedowns—two in the first round, one in the second. The one he earned displayed his ability to get the fight to the ground, work strikes from there and look for submission openings. He seemed to understand that Silva was less of a threat on the ground.
But, in the end, the takedowns wouldn't be the difference. Silva's arrogance was.
It's part of his style. It's what makes him so unique, popular and successful. It also yielded an unfavorable result at UFC 162. And that result cost Silva his crown.
Stats courtesy of Fightmetric.com
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