Anderson Silva has taken a lot of flak for his “loss of desire” and for “not finishing” his last two fights, but I truly don’t understand the criticism. Seeing the last two fights end the way they did was not as exciting as what we had become accustomed to, but by no means did it show him as anything but spectacular.
Previous to his fight with Patrick Cote, Silva was on an unbelievable streak of 11 straight fights that did not make it past the second round. All victories may I add, with the exception of his DQ loss to a near unconscious Yushin Okami.
Eight of the 10 victories came by KO or TKO and the submission victories were both the result of solid shots. It was an amazing run. Nobody, this side of Chuck Liddell has had a run like that, especially against top level competition.
Silva’s last two fights have ended in less than exhilarating ways, but is he completely to fault for this? Do two decisions somehow negate what he has done or show him as less driven?
The fight that got all this talk started was Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote. Patrick Cote is a strong willed fighter and a man with an iron chin (has never been knocked out). Silva was clearly winning the fight, not in completely dominant fashion, but still clearly winning.
This isn’t something new from Silva, even through his run of dominance he often started slow. He measured his distance and waited for the right time to unleash.
Sometimes he unleashes because he sees weakness, sometimes he does it because he hates being hit, but he has always been a very measured fighter who picks his shot.
Silva started out slow, with measured shots, and as time went on he did hit Cote with some solid shots, but Cote’s chin wasn’t going to allow a quick stoppage. Cote made it three rounds.
Cote was the first UFC fighter to make it to round three against Silva, that alone is a statement of Silva’s dominance.
Patrick Cote is still considered to be one of the stiffest tests Silva has in the UFC. Not because he was winning the fight, not because he was landing impressive shots, but purely because he survived to round three.
In the end, a freak injury ended this fight, but I think it was just a matter of time until Silva pick the right shot to do some serious damage (if Cote can be damaged).
I wasn’t upset with Silva’s effort in this fight; I was disappointed that the fight got cut short though.
The second fight that brought people to criticize Silva was his match-up with Thales Leites. I wasn’t sure what to make if this match before it happened, I didn’t see Leites as a serious threat.
Turns out he wasn’t a threat. He was clearly outclassed for the entire fight. Silva was so dominant in the stand up that he actually broke Thales.
Silva instilled so much fear that Leites actually quit.
I have never seen such an embarrassing showing by someone challenging for a title. I have seen mismatches before, but I have never seen someone outright quit like that. Leites didn’t even try.
Every time Silva attempted to mount any kind of offence, Leites simply dropped to the canvas. You could see the frustration in Silva’s face.
You could see him kicking the downed Leites with a great deal of disdain. Every time he flopped to the mat, you could see that Silva was frustrated and that he wanted to knock him out even more.
I completely blame Leties for that last fight. Silva was visibly mad and in attack mode, but Leties kept flopping.
A lot of people made comments about how Silva should have finished the fight, but I think it is unrealistic to expect Silva to jump into Leites’ guard. He wouldn't do it against Damian Maia, and no one should expect him too against Leties.
If Leties wanted the fight to go to the ground, he was obligated to take it there.
Look at the GSP vs. Thiago Alves fight. GSP knew he could have success on the feet, but he was not going to stand and bang with a more powerful striker. He played it smart and took the fight to the ground.
Silva did the exact same thing by keeping it standing. He pulled out an equally as dominant five round decision.
Why is Silva criticized, while GSP is lauded?
Sure, the Silva who destroys people is much more exciting, but you can't expect him to end every fight in spectacular fashion. You can’t expect that from any fighter. I don't think he has lost interest either.
He will come out in his fight with Forrest Griffin intent on proving people wrong. Forrest Griffin is a great fighter for him to make that statement on.
I am a huge fan of Forrest. I am a fan for who he is as a fighter, as a coach, and as a person, but I am scared for him. I would not want to be the guy to step into the ring with Silva when he has something to prove.
Look at Anderson Silva’s:
- UFC debut
- First UFC title fight
- First fight at 205
- Round Two vs. Dan Henderson (the first time he lost a round in the UFC)
Anderson Silva with something to prove is a scary thought. Forrest is a gamer, and I refuse to ever count him out, but the odds will not be stacked in his favour on that night.
I expect Silva to win and win once again in dominant fashion, because it wasn’t him that made the last two disappointing, it was the competition. Luckily for us, Forrest Griffin is incapable of boring fights.