When was the last time Anderson Silva registered a win? Ah! Yes! UFC 153: Oct. 13, 2012. That was the night “The Spider” (fighting at light heavyweight) sent “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar into semi-retirement, courtesy of a first-round TKO.
At the time of the Bonnar fight, Anderson was still the reigning middleweight champion – a title he usurped from Rich Franklin in 2006. The Brazilian would eventually go on to defend the strap a record-breaking ten times – culminating in the longest win (16) streak in UFC history.
But on Jul. 6, 2013 at UFC 162, Chris Weidman finally put an end to Silva’s amazing UFC run – a showboating Silva failed to see a Weidman left hook, and paid the ultimate price – coughing up his covet 12 pounds of gold via second-round knockout.
In Silva’s case, his fall from grace was akin to a domino effect – he lost to Weidman in the rematch (leg injury). And just over a year later, his unanimous decision victory against Nick Diaz was overturned to a no contest – a result of Silva failing a pre-fight drug test.
A contentious unanimous decision defeat to the now sitting 185-pound titleholder Michael Bisping followed in 2016.
In his last outing (UFC 200), he came up short against current light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier (contested at 205 – belt wasn’t on the line) – losing by way of unanimous decision.
At present, Silva, 41, is 0-4-1 in as many outings – a period of almost four and a half years without a win.
Trumpeted as the greatest pro mixed martial artist to have ever laced up a pair of 4 oz mitts, Silva is aware that nothing short of a win against Derek Brunson at UFC 208 will suffice.
Still, there’s no fear that he’ll be bounced from the promotion if he again fails to register a victory, however, should he lose, and/or lose in an emphatic way, no doubt, the calls for Silva’s retirement will resonate ten-fold.
So, what does Brunson (16-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) bring to the table?
At 33, he’s eight years Silva’s junior – a plus.
Furthermore, Brunson has a sound wrestling base (Silva’s chink in the amour), as well as good striking which he compliments with his heavy hands, as evinced by his four-fight win streak (all first-round stoppages).
Be that as it may, Brunson can be reckless at times, along with a tendency to leave his chin in the air whilst going on the attack.
It’s the aforementioned uncharacteristic flaws that played into the hands of Robert Whittaker in Brunson’s last fight, thus resulting in a first-round TKO to the Aussie.
For Silva (33-8-1 MMA, 16-4-1 UFC), the blue print to snapping a five-fight skid should be anything but obvious (his fight IQ is up there with best):
1. Vitiate Brunson’s takedown attempts at all costs.
2. Keep the fight standing (keep showboating to a minimum or refrain altogether).
3. Look for openings, and do what Silva does best – counterstrike – test that chin of Brunson’s.
If Silva sticks to this game plan, it’s a sure-fire bet he takes home the spoils. Nonetheless, if he deviates, he might end up being the highlight reel.
But fret not, at UFC 208, the matrix-esque MMA legend will finally catch a break; expect Silva to turn back the clock – he’s putting Brunson on Ice.
UFC 208 is slated for Sat., Feb. 11, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York