In a statement released in a column he wrote for the Brazilian website Jornal Extra, former UFC & Pride Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira stated that Anderson Silva will face off against Yushin Okami at UFC Rio and make the move to the light heavyweight division should he be successful against the last man to have defeated him (link from Fighters Only article).
Silva has been successful in his two previous bouts in the 205lb division. He easily knocked out James Irvin in July of 2008, needing just 61 seconds to dispose of “The Sandman” He followed that up with a devastating knockout of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in August of 2009.
Whether or not this is speculation on Nogueira’s part, it will surely set the minds of fans everywhere in motion. With that being said I would like to take a look at some of the possibilities awaiting Silva should he decide to add the extra 20lbs. to his frame and vacate the middleweight title.
Both men prefer to keep the fight standing and although Jackson has a background in wrestling he rarely if ever uses it. This would be a match-up of Silva’s speed against Jackson’s power. Jackson has shown in the past that he is vulnerable to a fighter who possesses a good Muay Thai skillset. An intriguing battle to say the least, the UFC could make a lot of money as Jackson is a very good promoter and could get people to believe he is the man to finally give “The Spider” a loss on his UFC record.
Prediction: Silva proves to be a bit too much for Rampage who chooses to stand and trade rather than put Silva on his back. Silva via 2nd round KO.
If Silva has one weakness it is his wrestling, he was unable to stop Chael Sonnen’s takedowns and if not for a last minute miracle submission, he would have lost every round of a five round bout. Lawal is younger, stronger and has excellent top control as evidenced in his fight with Gegard Mousasi. Lawal’s striking leaves a lot to be desired and if he were unable to take Silva down it could be a short night’s work for Anderson.
Prediction: Lawal could give Silva fits, but Lawal showed in his fight against Silva's teammate Rafael Cavalcante in their bout for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship, he could forget his gameplan and elect to trade with Silva. Just as it was a bad idea against "Feijao" it would be a bad decision against the former UFC Middleweight Champion. Silva via 3rd round TKO.
In keeping with the Strikeforce theme, Mousasi would offer Silva an opponent who has excellent hands and who is a very well rounded fighter. Mousasi is a fighter with a background in both boxing and kickboxing and has shown he can be a very accurate striker. No one knows how he would handle being punched in the face by Silva, but these two men would certainly offer fans a very exciting contest.
Prediction: In what could be an all out war, I have to give the edge to Silva en route to a unanimous decision victory.
A battle of two legendary Brazilian mixed martial artists, we would hope that Shogun would be at 100% going into a potential fight with Silva. They have a history together as they used to train with one another, but that was years ago and both men have grown as fighters since that time. Each fighter has an excellent Muay Thai base and loves to use the clinch and punish their opponents with knees. Silva would probably have the advantage because of his speed and due to the fact that Shogun has had so many problems with injuries.
Prediction: Silva would prove to be too fast and woudl eventually wear down the brittle Rua. Silva via 2nd round TKO.
Another battle between two great Brazilian fighters, but the difference is these two train together along with the Nogueira Brothers at Blackhouse. Each fighter possesses excellent hand speed, foot work and are very difficult to hit. The only time anyone would hit the canvas would probably be due to being hit by their opponent as neither fighter shows a penchant for ground fighting. A true chess match, fans may not get an explosive battle at first, but once these two warmed up, you could expect to see fireworks.
Prediction: I would love to see these two go at it in a five round fight because I think it would take a round to a round and a half for them to get acclimated to one another. That being said, I see Silva winning via unanimous decision.
Here we match-up the pure athlete in Jones against the veteran who has yet to be defeated in Silva. For once Silva would not have the advantage in the speed department as Jones has proven time and time again that he is one of the quickest fighters to have ever graced the Octagon. As was discussed earlier Silva’s one glaring weakness is his wrestling while Jones has shown that his takedowns are one of his biggest strengths.
Both men like to throw unconventional strikes and throw their opponents off of their game. Silva may have a tough test here, but as we all know he can never be counted out. Don’t discount the reach advantage that Jones would have in this bout as well, Silva’s long limbs have always worked in his favor, but against Jones he would have to rethnk his gameplan.
Prediction: Jones, Jones, Jones. I truly believe that Jones could defeat Silva if they were to fight today. Although we have yet to see Jones get hurt or for that matter even tested, as long as he fought smart he wouldn't have to worry about it. Jones via third round TKO.
Again Silva is matched up with a fantastic wrestler who also has very good footwork and is very quick. Evans has shown in the past that he can be hurt and if he was to get caught by Silva there is no doubt in my mind that The Spider would finish the job unlike Jackson and Thiago Silva. If Evans were to stick to a solid game plan of using his takedowns and controlling Silva he might have a chance, but more than likely Silva would catch him at some point and make Machida’s knockout of Evans look like child’s play.
Prediction: Silva would catch Evans at some point in the bout and once the blood hit the water he would be like a shark going after its prey. Silva via second round KO.
Who wouldn’t love to see Silva send Ortiz into retirement? The thought of Silva playing and dancing with Ortiz all the while frustrating the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion into making a critical mistake, makes this bout worth the money it would cost on pay-per-view. After suffering a beating at the hands of Silva, Ortiz would have no choice but to finally shut his mouth and ride off into the sunset.
Prediction: After listening to Ortiz trash talk him during the weeks leading up the fight, Silva decides he will have some fun at the expense of "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy." Ortiz will attempt a few lame takedowns which Silva will stuff with ease before delivering a series of blows that send Ortiz home to Jenna and the twins for good. Silva via first round KO.
At 47 years old, Couture has done more in his forties than most people do in their lifetime. From making movies to defeating fighters he had no business beating, Couture is not only a great fighter, but he epitomizes what a mixed martial artist is supposed to be. Silva would certainly have an advantage with his speed and his striking, but Couture has shown time and time again that he should never be counted out. Could his dirty boxing stifle the powerful striking of The Spider? It would be a lot of fun to find out.
Prediction: The fan in me would love to see Couture pull off the upset, but in reality Silva is too quick and too strong for Couture at this stage in their careers. Silva via 2nd round TKO.
This is a match-up that wouldn’t be as exciting now as if it were to take place in a year to 18 months. Davis still has a lot of learning to do and as “Lil Nog” showed, his takedowns are good, but can be stopped. Silva doesn’t need a huge opening to finish his opponent. All it takes is one mistake and it’s over, Davis is still at the stage of his career where he would certainly offer up an opportunity for Silva to put him to sleep. Once Davis has had an opportunity to fine tune his all around game then this bout could be exciting, until then let’s leave it alone.
Prediction: Depending on when the fight took place, my predicition would be a bit different. If it were to happen within the next 12 months, I would go with Silva via 3rd round TKO. He is just too epxerienced for Davis at this point. If they were to fight in 18-24 months I still believe Silva would win, but this time around it would be via unanimous decision.