Forty- nine seconds into that UFC Fight Night bout, American fans got their first dose of Anderson "The Spider" Silva. They'll probably never forget him.
Before anyone even got a chance to blink, Silva had already taken Leben out. A man that had seemed somewhat impervious to others' power went down hard and fast at the hands of "The Spider". In fact, Silva even made Leben look rather awkward.
Here's the thing, though. Anderson Silva may be new to fighting in the United States and the UFC, but he's hardly a green fighter. Therefore, on the doorstep of a scheduled middleweight championship bout against Rich "Ace" Franklin in only his second UFC encounter, it would seem appropriate to talk about how "The Spider" got to where he is today.
His career mixed martial arts record is 16-4.
Anderson Silva started his MMA career on May 27, 2000 in a Meca organization bout (a Vale Tudo outfit in Brazil), losing to eventual Chute Box Academy teammate Luiz Azeredo, via decision. However, a career that started off on a rather poor note got good in a hurry.
From there Silva went on a nine fight winning streak that spanned three organizations- Meca, SHOOTO (he won their welterweight belt), and Pride Fighting Championships (a Japanese organization at the level of the UFC in terms of popularity and fighters).
During this streak, Silva defeated two outstanding fighters in Hayato Sakurai by decision on 8/26/01 (SHOOTO, a title bout), and former UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton via first round TKO on 3/16/03 (PRIDE).
But all streaks come to an end, and so did Silva's, losing to Daiju Takase at PRIDE 26- Bad to the Bone, via first round submission (a triangle choke). Since then he's gone 7-2, with his only real loss coming at the hands of Ryo "The Shark" Chonan by way of one of the fastest and most sudden submissions ever seen in a mixed martial arts event (a third round flying scissor heel hook). Silva's other loss came via disqualification for an illegal kick at a Rumble on the Rock event (ROTR).
In reference to the Leben fight, according to a BostonHerald.com article by Thomas Gerbasi, Silva said the following through an interpreter. "It's training. Everyone has their own talents and their own skills, and this (win) just comes with hard work."
Seems like a perfect segue into his training background and fighting style, doesn't it?
Anderson Silva's training background and fighting style.
Anderson Silva first began training in martial arts, specifically Tae Kwon Do, when he was 14 year old. Since then he's benefited in a big way from Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu work, and has achieved black belt status in jiu- jitsu. However, his workouts are hardly limited to those styles alone. As is indicated at the UFC's official website, Silva trains intensely in all styles daily.
Early on, Silva trained with Brazil's famed Chute Box Academy, home of elite PRIDE fighters like Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Chute Box is known for putting out well- rounded fighters that are always in outstanding shape. Further, almost to a man, they are highly aggressive and technically strong in regard to their stand up skills (Muay Thai is a major focus). It is also known that they concentrate on sport- specific training (in other words, grappling, boxing, etc., to get in shape).
Clearly their formula works.
In short, Anderson Silva seemed like a perfect fit for Chute Box. However, despite this and the fact that their camp is known to be a very close- knit group (simply watch the end of the Mark Coleman/ Mauricio Rua bout to see how Chute Box fighters stick together), Silva left Chute Box some time ago, citing unhappiness with management.
Anderson Silva is an outstanding technical striker. His long limbs and fast reflexes only add to this. Further, he has loads of power as evidenced by his nine career (T)KO's. There are very few MMA fighters that can match his stand up acumen, and usually this becomes quite obvious almost immediately.
Silva is also a very solid Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu practitioner. However, during his MMA career he has only submitted two fighters. Still, against Carlos Newton, one of the best jiu- jitsu practitioners going, he showed the ability to survive on the ground until he got another chance on his feet (he won the fight via TKO).
Of his three real losses- the fourth came via disqualification- two of them came the route of a submission. Therefore, if you want to beat Anderson Silva, the ground is probably your best opportunity, even if he certainly isn't going to make it easy.
Last, Silva has shown both heart and excellent cardio in going the distance six times during his MMA career. He's never been (T)KO'd, so he also can take a punch (even if he rarely gets hit hard).
Silva's victory over Leben was so impressive that after only one UFC fight, he's getting a UFC title shot. On 10/14/06, the two will meet at UFC 64: Unstoppable.
The interesting thing here is that Franklin loves to bang and he's darned good at it. However, he has never come up against a striker the caliber of Anderson Silva (few have). Therefore, strategy is going to play an important role. Does Franklin believe that he can beat Silva standing, or will he try to employ his very solid ground skills?
The reality is, this article feels incomplete. Anderson Silva's next fight is going to go a long way to cementing some of his legacy and biography.
After 10/14/06, we may need an update here.
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