As everyone knows by now, Anderson Silva lost. Actually, if you’re the kind of person who would read this blog, and you DON’T know this by now, consider me both wildly impressed and sincerely bummed out by your selective internet consumption.
Before I opine on the fight and make everyone hate me, here are a few other thoughts I had about UFC 162, which was memorable, but only partly for good reasons.
1. If you have to pass a random drug test before your fight because you’ve already pee’d hot twice, and it comes out in your athletic commission hearing that you no longer have a training camp and trained yourself at home to fight a good heavyweight, you’re a prime candidate to challenge an all time record for getting knocked out the fastest.
Oh, Dave Herman.
2. Brian Melancon is Baby Fedor, not Kiril Sidelnikov.
I’m being somewhat glib in saying that, but man. I’m not going to lie; I had no idea who this guy was or what he was about coming in. All I knew was what was on his Fight Finder, which wasn’t much more than a split decision loss to Isaac Vallie-Flagg.
So to see him come in and completely decimate a nasty fighter in Seth Baczynski was startling. He dominated the fight on the feet, nullifying Baczynski’s reach by slipping and throwing big hooks that repeatedly found their mark.
Actually, “big hooks” doesn’t tell the full story. Brian Melancon was throwing HEATERS at Seth Baczynski. Heaters. And partly because of his compact frame (but mostly because the punches he threw were technically sound), he didn’t open himself up to counters. Simply put, Seth was in over his head on the feet, and nobody knew it more than him. When he was dropped with a left hook, the writing was on the wall. But those coffin nails Melancon threw were just gross. That left hand that put Baczynski to sleep looked like it literally split his head in two. Just disgusting stuff from Brian Melancon. Consider me on board.
3. Mark Munoz can shit the bed so badly when he loses that it’s difficult to remember how good he can look when he wins.
I loved Munoz’s fight with Tim Boetsch. The first round was really good, as both men excelled in the grappling exchanges and had some really fun scrambles.
That’s the thing about Munoz as a wrestler: He’s not going to just Josh Koscheck you all over the cage, powering through massive double legs that send you flying through the air like the victim in a Jackie Chan movie. He’s more of a clinch based takedown artist, and finishing takedowns has always been an issue for him. But he also has a gift for ending up on the winning end of scrambles, and he really showcased that attribute in spades against Boetsch, who is a good wrestler.
The second and third frames saw Munoz really pull away, as he landed tons and tons of punches to poor Tim Boetsch’s head and body that were positively Munoz-ian. I still think Munoz is too flawed to contend at middleweight, but he’s an impressive enough athlete to stick around the upper echelons of the division for awhile.
4. The elephant in the room.
When a fighter goes on a roll like Anderson Silva’s (or Georges St-Pierre’s, or Fedor Emelianenko’s), you start to ask yourself how they’ll finally end up tasting defeat. I refuse to buy into the idea that a guy can just dominate his entire career and retire undefeated. If you retire undefeated, you weren’t fighting the right guys. So how did I see it going down for Anderson? If it was going to be at the hands of Chris Weidman, my thoughts were similar to other Weidman backers; he’d get taken down, probably beaten up a bit, and tapped with some sort of arm triangle/brabo/gator roll type choke. This still would have been a surprise, but in comparison to what actually happened, it would have looked pedestrian and predictable.
Over the years, Anderson has displayed two kinds of showboating. The first kind is what made him a legend. Something switches on in his brain, and he goes to this place that nobody else has access to. He’ll start with the showy hand movements, the Bruce Lee crouch, and on and on, but at the end of it, there’s always some kind of wicked strike that either ends the fight or sends his opponent careening off the rails.
The second kind is what can make him frustrating to watch. He throws his hands up, yells God-knows-what at his opponent, stamps his feet, and yadda yadda yadda. The problem is that there’s no offense. This is what was on display Saturday night in Las Vegas, and Chris Weidman was having none of it, as he dominated the fight while Anderson was filming his own SNL digital short.
Anderson’s tomfoolery definitely made it easier for Weidman to capitalize, but the main takeaway for me is the fact that, while Anderson was ballsy enough to showboat something serious (as he’s done many times), Weidman was equally ballsy enough to stand there in the pocket and keep swinging. In the past, when Anderson went to that place, guys would freeze up and just kind of look at him. Weidman took the opportunity to take him out like a Whack-A-Mole game at the arcade, and Anderson’s 38 year old body couldn’t get out of the way. It reminded me of that Chris Rock routine about that guy who is just a little too old to be in the club.
Anytime a legend falls, there are always wingnuts popping up everywhere with conspiracy theories, armchair psychology, and the like. This one was no different, and I’ve heard some doozies. I almost feel dirty even addressing them, because I don’t want any readers to think that I’m taking any of them seriously. I’m not. So, just for fun, lets rattle off a couple of my favorites.
“Anderson could have easily beaten him if he didn’t clown. Weidman didn’t beat him; Anderson beat himself.”
In other words, Chris Weidman didn’t accomplish anything by violently knocking out one of the greatest fighters of all time. Anderson was tired of being the champion. Got it.
“I call into question the power behind that shot. He had to reach really far and he barely tapped him with it. It’s a suspicious looking knockout. Did Anderson throw the fight?”
I love, love, LOVE the idea that there are people out there that watch that & think “I didn’t see what I just saw. Therefore, something must be afoot.” Like Anderson Silva is sitting across the table from Marsellus Wallace going “In the fifth, my ass goes down.” Hilarious.
You want to know why he got knocked out by that? Because he wasn’t expecting to get hit. Simple as that.
Anderson Silva got slept by a better fighter on Saturday night. Welcome to the Weidman era.