Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contenders Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson will collide this Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
After years and years of dominance, Silva is without an official win since 2012. Now, it must be mentioned that a trio of his losses in that time came in title fights and the other two possess some truly bizarre circumstances, but it’s still safe to say “The Spider” could really use a clean victory. In the last couple years, Brunson moved firmly from the role of prospect into the position of contender. He may have lost his last bout, but Brunson went on a serious tear to win five straight fights prior to that defeat.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each athlete:
Record: 33-8 (1)
Key Wins: Chael Sonnen (UFC 148, UFC 117). Vitor Belfort (UFC 126), Forrest Griffin (UFC 101), Dan Henderson (UFC 82)
Key Losses: Chris Weidman (UFC 166, UFC 162), Michael Bisping (UFC Fight Night 84)
Keys to Victory: Silva is a legend of the sport, undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters in its short history. A precise counter striker with a wide array of techniques, Silva is still one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the world even while in the twilight of his career.
This is a match up that Silva has faced many times before. Brunson is a strong wrestler with some monstrous power punching, which is always a dangerous combination. Still, it’s one that Silva knows how to destroy.
The question is whether Silva still can.
Win or lose, Silva’s game plan is already known. Circling the outside, Silva will stab at Brunson with long range strikes and look to time him with a hard counter. If Brunson is able to close the distance, Silva will attempt to delay and tire his opponent until an opening to do big damage opens up.
It’s worked plenty of times before.
Key Wins: Uriah Hall (UFC Fight Night 94), Lorenz Larkin (UFC 177), Sam Alvey (UFC Fight Night 73), Ed Herman (UFC 185)
Key Losses: Robert Whittaker (UFC Fight Night 101), Yoel Romero (UFC Fight Night 35), Ronaldo Souza (Strikeforce: “Rousey vs Kaufman”)
Keys to Victory: Brunson is an impressive athlete with a really solid wrestling background. While his game used to revolve around smothering his opponent’s from top position, he’s moved on in recent years to physically overwhelming fighters with a barrage of heavy punches.
Opposite Silva, a mix of the two will be necessary.
As mentioned, Silva has faced this style of fighter before, and relying just one aspect of this style is unlikely to work for Brunson. If he goes out there and strictly wrestles, he’ll slow down, and Silva will capitalize. If he goes balls to the wall and swings wildly, he could knock out the aging “Spider,” but the more likely scenario is that the veteran is still wily enough to catch him instead.
To avoid those two scenarios, Brunson needs to mix up his attack. If he’s able to feint level changes into punches, it will really help him muddy the water and land his punches. Brunson covers a surprising amount of distance with his left hand, and it’s very possible he could catch Silva off-guard if he sets up the shot.
If not, any success with his hands will help Brunson land his power takedowns.
Bottom Line: This is one of the biggest bouts in the Middleweight division with interesting title implications.
Should Anderson Silva receive a title shot with a win here? No … but it’s Anderson Silva. The former 185-pound kingpin is never more than one impressive knockout away from having a huge percentage of the fan base claim that he’s back and ready for a title fight. Hell, B.J. Penn rallied his fans last month without any momentum behind him.
If Silva stops Brunson, he may just receive a bout with either Michael Bisping or Yoel Romero. If not, there are still veterans available for Silva to compete opposite, but he should not be facing the top young contenders of today anymore.
As for Brunson, he performed pretty poorly in his last bout, which happened to be the biggest bout of his career. Brunson is better than that display, but it’s up to him to prove that here in the NEW biggest fight of his career. Even in 2017, a win over Silva is worth something. It would go a long way in helping erase the Whittaker fight and return Brunson to the title mix. On the other hand, a second consecutive loss will set Brunson back a couple steps and force him to put some wins together before attempting another title run.
At UFC 208, Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson will face off in the co-main event. Which fighter will be awarded the victory?
Source:: mma mania