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MMA - Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva - How Weidman Killed the 'King' at UFC 162

7 May 2010
Vancouver WA
I know I've read a few threads in regards to MMA fights/fighters in the past, so I was surprised to not find a thread about this fight.

Sometimes I forget how much mental training and planning goes into these fights, and below is a great article explaining exactly how Weidman beat Silva. I won't even try to paraphrase, but it explains in detail what Weidman saw/acted on and its a really good read. Even if your not a big MMA fan, it does a great job of showing that, just like in boxing, it's not a purely physical sport. I'd read it at the source as the formatting is better, but just in case it gets moved in the future, I've copy/pasted it below.


UFC 162 brought one of the greatest surprises in recent UFC history as the relatively inexperienced Chris Weidman knocked out the great Anderson Silva. Weidman has just nine fights to his name going into the middleweight title bout, and had been absent from the sport for a year (a quarter of his total career) due to injury.
Here's the GIF of the knockout. You're going to want to keep that open.
Unfortunately, Weidman has been robbed of some of the glory that he deserves. Many fans and journalists are claiming his KO to be more a case of Silva losing the fight for himself rather than Weidman taking the title from him.
But was that really the case?
Weidman won the first round in fairly convincing fashion as he took down the champion, landed good punches and attacked with a kneebar and heel hook. Once the fight returned to the feet, Anderson Silva went to his showboating and looked to convince the judges that he was winning the round based on his confidence and bravado.
Sadly, MMA is the kind of sport wherein judges can be fooled into thinking that showboating actually means something. Some fans are certainly still convinced Silva won the first round.

Silva's limbo dancing is part of his game.

In the second round, it was more of Silva going about his usual antics and waiting for Weidman to overextend himself. The challenger did a wonderful job of continually moving into good striking range rather than lunging in at Anderson's bait. His jabs landed successfully through Silva's razzle-dazzle, and that had to irritate the champion.
I spoke in my "Killing the King" series about how Anderson rolls with or pulls away from punches and how his opponents in MMA make it a lot easier for him by never leaving the left-right-left punching pattern:
In MMA, this [rolling with strikes] should be easier than in boxing because almost all MMA fighters attack by alternating their hands—left-right-left or vice versa.
Boxers often double or even triple up the same hand mid-combination, which makes it difficult for the defender to turn side to side as Silva does.
Very few opponents have doubled up punches from one hand against Silva. I am not saying that doubling up would allow a fighter to knock Silva out—there isn't a simple answer to an iron chin. However, there is a reason why elite boxers rarely roll with every punch as effectively as Silva does; boxers are not as predictable and one-note in their offense.
Of course, I had no idea that Chris Weidman would be the man to try this and even less of a clue that it would end in a knockout for a fighter whose chances most of us were pretty pessimistic about.
Weidman's success in throwing Silva off his game and catching the champion off balance before finishing him on the ground was largely due to his doubling up off his right hand.

Muhammad Ali draws Sonny Liston out and catches him reaching.

Leaning straight back away from punches at the waist is a technical taboo in boxing. It opens up some lovely counters if you can convince an opponent to lunge at you—see Silva over Forrest Griffin or Muhammad Ali over Sonny Liston (which I wrote about here)—but if you get hit while bending backward at the waist, absorbing the force of the blow could end badly.
A fantastic example of both the risks and rewards of pulling straight back from punches can be seen in Prince Naseem Hamed's bout with Kevin Kelley. Hamed was dropped multiple times as he was hit while trying to lean back, but equally, Hamed's own knockout punch came off one of these awkward backward leans which made Kelley overcommit.

Fans can complain about Silva leaning back with his hands low all day because it cost him the fight, but it has also won him numerous fights in his incredible win streak. It is difficult to lean as far back, or as freely, with one's hands up—try performing limbo while holding your fists to your chin for a lesson in human balance.
Anderson loves to draw fighters in by making their strikes fall just short.

Silva loads up the short right hook while leaning back against Belfort.

Plenty of elite fighters in boxing, kickboxing and MMA have pulled away from strikes, as Silva does, and have become known as crafty fighters for their chosen style; Ali and Prince Naseem are a couple of great examples from the boxing world.
Unfortunately, most who do pull away from punches eventually get hit while they are doing so, which is far worse than getting hit while leaning backward in a stance with some semblance of a guard.
A great example of the problem faced in Silva's leaning away from punches at the waist can be seen in Sugar Ray Robinson's autobiography, Sugar Ray, in which he details preparing to fight the incredibly awkward and savvy Randy Turpin, who had bested Robinson for his title in their first meeting.
Recounting how Turpin pulled directly back from strikes, Robinson remembers that an old adviser, Soldier Jones, counselled him to "feint Turpin into yanking his head back...because then he can't yank it back no more."
After apparently being headbutted in their second meeting, Robinson began to worry that the fight could be called off as a technical knockout in favour of Turpin. Robinson reminisced, "In my desperation, I feinted Turpin into retreat with my left jab, as I had done to my sparring partners. When he yanked his head back, I let go a right hand to the face."

Turpin was awkward, but nowhere near as active in his backward leans as Anderson Silva is. The truth of the knockout is pretty simple: Weidman's double right hand caused Silva to lean back as far as he could before the left hook was released.
Watch Silva's fights with Stephan Bonnar, Vitor Belfort or any other who chose to strike with him. It was predictable left-right-left combinations from start until finish (whether that be a minute in or 25 minutes later). Anderson is so used to evading basic combinations that they just won't work.
Reaching to hit Silva—as Forrest famously did—is just asking to meet a counterpunch as your strikes fall short.
What Weidman did was to stay in range at all times while getting Silva to lean back. As the second, short right hand came (with nothing on it), Anderson pulled back just as he normally does for the left hook, leaving him with nowhere to go, bent over backward and unable to move his feet as Weidman's left hook sailed in.
The thing which most people won't understand is the importance of the powerless backhand in the middle of the combination.
So often in combat sports, it is the minor punches which are more important than the major ones. Had Weidman not gotten Silva to pull his head back with the slappy second right hand, the left hook would have sailed right past by an inch or two, and we would all still be talking about Silva's reflexes.

Silva leans back from the first right straight.


Silva leans back again as Chris Weidman slaps a back-handed second right at him. Silva's head is now well behind his centre of gravity.


Silva has nowhere left to go as the left hook comes in.

As it happened, the first time that Weidman used the double right hand to place himself in range for the left hook, it worked. Had the fight continued, I have little doubt that Weidman would have continued to work his way in and fake Silva into overcommitting to a backward lean.
A similar effect can, of course, be accomplished by doubling up the jab, but the double right hand obviously worked well on this occasion.
On the subject of leaning back at the waist to evade punches and how precariously positioned it can leave a fighter, I am reminded of an old trick that the great karate master Mas Oyama would perform to illustrate the importance of posture.
Oyama would have a man sit on a chair with his feet on the floor and his back against the backrest. At this point, Oyama, a strong man by most standards, would place his index finger on the seated man's forehead and ask him to stand up. When the man inevitably couldn't, Oyama would explain that it was more to do with the weight of the seated man's head being behind his centre of gravity and needing to move it forward in order to stand.
I am not so traditional-minded that I believe a fighter should never pull straight back from punches—that is simply old fashioned and has been proven wrong by the enormous success of men like Ali, Prince Naseem, Roy Jones Jr. and Silva. What I will say is that using this unusual style of evasion does raise the stakes enormously when the leaning fighter inevitably does get hit clean.
Keep your eyes open for my breakdown of Cub Swanson's performance against Denis Siver and my upcoming pair of articles on "The Fights That Made Anderson Silva."

Pick up Jack's eBooks Advanced Striking and Elementary Striking at his blog, Fights Gone By.
Good article.

I think the Weidman win was a perfect storm. With enough film study, everyone is beatable.

I also think Silva suffered from some "Rocky III" syndrome - life got a little too comfortable for him and he lost his hunger (starting a school, moving up to the good life in America, etc.).

I was absolutely disappointed in the showboating. It was beneath him, the sport, and bush league for any champion.
Great and accurate, "physical" analysis of the fight. My "mental" analysis of the fight is that it seemed as if Anderson Silva was not motivated much at all. He seemed resigned he lost, he has no interest in a rematch fight, no interest in regaining the title, and when probed about it in the post fight interview, it sounded as if he was tired of carrying the weight/burden of the title all this time. If I had to paraphrase Silva, it sounded to me like he was like, "Congrats to Weidman. He deserved the win. I had a good run, now let him carry the weight of the title for a while."
Silva is a nasty fighter but I'm happy to see his Flashy disrespectful style get the best of him. Wiedman deserves the title and earned it. The fact Silva dose not want a rematch seems to prove he met his match. Hell of a way to end his carrier.
I think Dana White said it best in the post fight press conference.
Paraphrasing, he said 'If Silva would have won, everyone would have said what a genius he is.
His method has worked for 6+ years. Fact is he got clipped. Simple as that.'

Chris Weidman and Dana both said(paraphrasing) 'His style looks disrespectful, but it's not. He's trying to get into the persons head. It's part of his fighting style to get into peoples heads.' Chris said, 'I don't know how you can punch someone in the face and that's okay, but somehow taunting them is 'disrespectful'.

Either way, I hope there's a rematch. I think a serious Silva would kill Weidman. No contest.

Either way, I hope there's a rematch. I think a serious Silva would kill Weidman. No contest.

Normally I would totally agree with this, but there seems to be a very direct correlation with age and the "glass jaw" effect. People who previously had pretty strong jaws, seem to lose their ability to take a punch with age. There are numerous examples of this from Chuck Liddell to Roy Jones Jr; people who lose several fights in a row to pretty horrific KO's in the twilight of their career, but to strikes they were able to recover from in their youth.
Great and accurate, "physical" analysis of the fight. My "mental" analysis of the fight is that it seemed as if Anderson Silva was not motivated much at all. He seemed resigned he lost, he has no interest in a rematch fight, no interest in regaining the title, and when probed about it in the post fight interview, it sounded as if he was tired of carrying the weight/burden of the title all this time. If I had to paraphrase Silva, it sounded to me like he was like, "Congrats to Weidman. He deserved the win. I had a good run, now let him carry the weight of the title for a while."

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but are the quotation marks around physical and mental directed at my comment on the mental training aspect? If I'm misunderstanding you please correct me, but that's how I read it.

I disagree this was just physical analysis. The right he threw before the left hook was absolutely stunning, in that it had absolutely nothing on it. Sure that's a physical description, but there is more to it than that, which the article discusses referencing other fighters. Weidman's previous right left him in position to throw the left hook, but he didn't. The only reason to throw the second right was to get Silva off balance as a set up punch. Had Silva recognized Weidman was in no position to through another right, he could have taken the punch or moved into Weidman who was reaching pretty badly, and Weidman would have been completely defenseless. As the article states, Silva looks for fighters to over-commit when punching, though he looks for them to do it in a right-left-right fashion.

Boxers get credit for their mental game plans (read anything on Ali), but MMA fighters aren't given equal credit. Even in the post fight discussion, none of the announcers mentioned Weidmans left-right-right-left combination. It's just overlooked. Weidman didn't connect the dots mid fight; this was planned/trained/executed. Weidman knew Silva would prefer a stand-up fight given Weidman's background and planned/trained accordingly. Weidman's body position says throw the left, but Weidman knew to throw another right.

To me, your mental analysis makes it sound like Silva lost the fight, not that Weidman won it. Apparently that's a sentiment that others share, but I think it (unfairly) diminishes Weidman's accomplishment.
Maybe I'm reading this wrong,


By physical, I mean it is an accurate account of the actual events that took place. By "mental" I mean the actual psychological aspects. Don't get me wrong. Weidman clearly won, both physically and mentally which mean he won it and not that Silva lost it. However, I question if Silva was at the peak of his game, especially psychologically. I would argue he was not.
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