Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva: A Fictional Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Since Jon Jones disposed of former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and captured the UFC Light-Heavyweight title at UFC 128, mixed martial arts fans and critics have been savoring over the idea of a potential super-fight between the 23-year old phenom and UFC Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.
Based on their dominant performances over Rua and Vitor Belfort respectively, it is hard to ignore this idea.
However, there is no talk about this super-fight coming to fruition. But that doesn't mean it's inevitable.
In this analysis, we'll take a look at this anticipated bout and break it down into four aspects of MMA—striking, clinch work, wrestling and ground game.
Here is Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva: A Fictional Head-to-Toe Breakdown.
Out of all aspects covered in this analysis, striking might be the most intriguing aspect in this bout from a stylistic standpoint.
Both fighters are very athletically gifted and are standouts in their respective divisions.
Jon Jones has been on a tear in the light-heavyweight division, looking like an experienced competitor inside the Octagon.
One of the most interesting things about Jones is his incredible 84.5 inch reach, the longest in UFC history. His reach advantage provides a lot of difficulty for his opponents and puts them at a disadvantage because it is hard to adjust to, let alone attempt to find their range against him.
It also gives him much more distance and leverage in a fight, allowing him to dictate the pace of the bout and strike from different angles and a further distance. He is quite versatile and unorthodox with his strikes, constantly keeping his opponents guessing his every move on the feet.
Aside from being unpredictable on the feet, Jones is an accomplished Greco-Roman wrestler. Keep in mind, Jones is only 23 years old.
While Jones has accomplished so much in his young career thus far, Anderson Silva is a hard task for any opponent to deal with. The Brazilian is the best striker in MMA today and has competed against some of the UFC's best strikers, including Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin.
As experienced as Jones has looked against veteran fighters at his age, Silva has made veteran fighters look amateur against him. Silva is unpredictable, as well as a creative striker, using a combination of elbows, kicks and knees.
As flashy as he is standing up, Silva is an intelligent fighter too. He tends to feel out his opponents in the opening minutes of a bout, measuring the distance, finding his range and figuring out their timing. From there, Silva presses forward and unleashes a flurry of strikes and combinations, overwhelming his opponents and finishing them.
As unpredictable as Jones appears to be, Silva is a experienced and a deadly counter-striker, who throws his strikes with accuracy and precision. And while he might not look like the most physically imposing fighter, Silva possesses knockout power in both his hands and feet.
Jones' reach might cause problems but Silva's strike defense is one of the best in the MMA, and he utilizes excellent head movement.
Both fighters are successful inside the clinch.
Once Jones goes to clinch with an opponent, he likes to establish control and use his 6'4" frame for leverage. He also likes to use a variety of trips and throws to take an opponent down, largely it's due to his 84.5" reach.
Jones uses as much of his large frame as he can to minimize as much distance as possible and wear down his opponents, either mixing up his strikes in the clinch or imposing his size and controlling them against the cage.
Silva possesses a deadly clinch, arguably displaying the best Muay Thai in MMA. Inside the clinch, Silva delivers an onslaught of knees that have pummeled and crumbled past opponents, opponents such as Rich Franklin, Chirs Leben and Jorge Rivera.
Silva remains calm and composed and once he applies a Muay Thai plum it is very hard for his opponents to escape as he maintains a tight grip. He is very technical with his knees and elbows.
Silva is one the best in establishing a clinch, but against a bigger, stronger opponent in Jones, who also holds some of the best grappling ability in MMA, Silva would have a hard time managing with Jones' size and skill.
Silva has always been susceptible against fighters who hold superior grappling ability—it is obviously an area of his game that Jones could expose.
Jones' size and reach allow him to shoot in for take downs from a further distance than most wrestlers, and it also allows him to establish a clinch much easier in order to control his opponents and successfully put them on the canvas.
A bout versus Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94 saw fans take an interest in Jones as he displayed strong grappling abillity and dominated the experienced veteran. Jones even pulled off an impressive suplex that had the crowd buzzing.
As stated before, Silva's take down defense isn't top notch and he has shown to be weaker in the grappling department. It was evident in his title bout versus Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 that Silva had difficulty for a majority of the time successfully defending his opponents take downs. In his title bout with Dan Henderson at UFC 82, Henderson got inside of Silva's range and clinched, slamming him down easily.
And neither of these fighters have the skill or size that Jones possess.
It is more than likely Silva would have difficulty against a wrestler who is athletic and demonstrates strong wrestling skills, and he would be overpowered by the light-heavyweight champion's strength.
Both Jones and Silva have garnered success on the ground.
As a wrestler, the one area Jones feels comfortable is in his opponents guard, controlling them and not allowing them to maintain any offense. Once again, his size plays an advantage into outworking his opponents for a take down, and once he establishes control from top guard, Jones unloads on them.
His size is so overwhelming that not only can't his opponent establish any defense from their back, they are much more vulnerable to strikes. Jones utilizes an effective ground-and pound that sees him smother his opponents and land hard, clean elbows.
He also uses his long limbs to gain more leverage, ultimately landing more powerful strikes. Jones also lands his shots effectively from different positions on the ground, evident in his bout against Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko.
Silva is as dangerous off of his back as he is on his feet. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Silva has earned five victories by submission. He trains under the guidance of his teammate Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria, widely considered to be one the best BJJ practitioners in MMA history.
On the ground, Silva shows composure and technique while applying submissions, holding notable victories over fighters such as Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter and Chael Sonnen.
Training alongside the Nogueira brothers is certainly not going to hurt Silva, but given Jones' success on the ground, his size and reach will affect and dominate the Brazilian. Although, Jones' aggression in the guard has shown before in the past, and could lead to him getting caught by an experienced fighter like Silva.
However, it's evident that once Jones attempts to pass and transition in his opponent's guard, he becomes an imposing figure that eventually overwhelms them.
Based on the facts, all signs conclude to Jon Jones picking up the victory.
Silva is a superior striker but Jones would still make a competitive fight on the feet. Jones has all the tools to earn a win against arguably the top pound-for pound fighter in MMA, and it would certainly make a strong claim for Jones to reign atop the pound-for-pound rankings.
Jones' size and strength would become a signifcant factor in the outcome of this super-fight. His 84.5" reach would give Silva problems stylistically and disrupt his timing and approach. It would come down to if Silva would be able to find his range and counter against a fighter who holds a significant reach advantage over him.
Jones' wrestling credentials would frustrate Silva and have him on the canvas more often than on the feet. Silva's top notch BJJ skills would be non-existent and he would be overwhelmed by the size and strength of Jones. His top control and transitions would also overwhelm Silva.
Ultimately, Silva would be outworked and beaten up by a bigger, stronger fighter.
Winner: Jon Jones via TKO 2nd round.