Rather, let's take a trip through memory lane and see how we got to this point.
Anderson Silva has completely dominated UFC competition since first walking into the Octagon on June 28, 2006 to face Chris "The Crippler" Leben. Of course, that was only two fights ago.
In total it has taken him only three minutes and 48 seconds to dispose of Leben and former UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich "Ace" Franklin.
Again, though, it's only been two UFC fights.
It's not that Anderson Silva wasn't outstanding before his UFC debut; he certainly was. In fact, coming into his bout with Chris Leben he'd won five of his last six, with the lone loss in that streak coming via disqualification against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8 ( an illegal kick ).
Further, if you want to go back farther, Silva has won eight of his last ten.
Still, it is interesting that of Silva's three true losses ( looking past the disqualification ) two have come via submission.
After all, his next opponent- Travis Lutter- knows a little something about submissions.
By disposing of the rest of the middleweight opposition on TUF 4, Travis Lutter earned this title shot ( it was part of the TUF 4 deal ). Obviously, like Silva, Lutter has been hot of late, having won seven of his last nine ( not counting his TUF 4 victory over Pete "Drago" Sell ).
However, Lutter is only 2-2 in the UFC during that streak ( 3-2 if you count the Sell victory ).
So is this fight going to be another demolition at the hands of Anderson Silva? Or is Lutter going to finally expose The Spider in some way?
Along with this, Silva brings a strong Muay Thai background to the Octagon. In fact, he likely has the best technical striking skills in the UFC at this weight, and possibly even in the MMA world. Silva has the ability to systematically destroy opponents with his unbelievable reach, devastating kicks, and knockout power in both hands.
Oh yeah, and he's also pretty deadly with knees and elbows in the clinch, as former UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich Franklin, would attest to.
Beyond that, Anderson Silva always demonstrates good cardio and toughness ( he's never been knocked out ). Also, his takedown defense is good, but not impenetrable.
Which leads us to the ground game.
When people enter into discussions about Anderson Silva, they often do so wrongly assuming that he's weak on the ground. The reality is that he's a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and is famous for his 'Spider Guard' ( hence his nickname, The Spider ).
Still, in terms of MMA performance, Silva has been good on the ground but not outstanding. He has been submitted twice in the past and was being dominated on the ground by jiu-jitsu great Carlos Newton on March 16, 2003 until the two were stood up.
That's about when Newton got knocked out.
The rest on Travis Lutter. - Lutter sports an overall MMA record of 9-3 with seven submission victories and one KO to his credit. In short, he gained a lot of confidence in TUF 4 by pretty much destroying the competition.
Lutter has elite jiu-jitsu skills. Further, he has better than average takedowns and ground control. Though his striking has improved immensely, it is still only about average.
Until recently, Lutter had lost to much of the best MMA competition that he had faced ( Matt Lindland, Jorge Rivera, Trevor Prangley ).
Good thing for him that recently is all that matters.
In other words, Lutter's excellent ground skills will force Silva to be somewhat cautious; he won't want to get careless and be taken down.
If this one hits the ground, Lutter will be in a position of authority. Further, he is definitely capable of submitting Silva, even if it's hardly a shoe in because Silva is much better defensively on the ground than Patrick Cote.
Still, if the fight stays on the ground, Lutter will likely pull out either a decision or submission victory.
So what's going to decide this one?
The dirty stuff. In other words, the in close stand up fighting.
Lutter will probably be able to close off the ring on Silva before being knocked out. Further, he'll likely be able to get in close with Silva, a prerequisite to taking him down.
Unfortunately for Lutter, Anderson Silva is very dangerous in such positions. His knees and elbows from the clinch are killer.
Therefore, the question is, can Lutter survive the moments between grasp and takedown with Anderson Silva? If he can, he'll have some success. If not. . .
Well, we've all seen how that goes.
Fortunately, we're all about to see Anderson Silva take on a very different kind of opponent; someone that doesn't want to stand with him. Though Silva certainly deserves to be favored, this one could potentially turn into a much better fight than people are giving it credit for.
Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.
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