For almost seven years, Anderson Silva dominated the UFC’s middleweight division, brutally stopping most men who dared to share the Octagon with him.
At times, Silva’s performances inside the cage were mesmerizing as the Brazilian routinely weaved through his opponents’ attacks before putting them away with one of his laser-accurate counters.
“The Spider” weaved through a decent number of punches as well at UFC 162, that is, until a Chris Weidman left hook found its target, dropping him to canvas. It was arguably the most significant left hook in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s history, bringing an end to Silva’s long reign as the middleweight champion.
It wasn’t the first time Anderson got caught inside Octagon though.
Chael Sonnen dropped Silva a couple of times during their UFC 117 title tilt, but the Brazilian quickly regained his wits. Stephan Bonnar also caught him a few times while Silva toyed with him against the cage at UFC 153, but it was almost as if Anderson didn’t even feel the punches.
Weidman’s punch proved to be the exception to the rule, not only slipping past Silva’s almost impregnable defense, but also, having enough power to put him away.
“The All-American” will now get his chance to prove his victory wasn’t a fluke when the two headline the Dec. 28 UFC 168 fight card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev.
The question is: Will Weidman be able to duplicate his success at UFC 168?
Well, the odds aren’t in his favor.
Sure, Silva has made it clear he has no plans to change his fighting style, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be dancing inside the Octagon at UFC 168.
Anyone who has closely examined all of the former middleweight champion’s fights would have noticed there are two Anderson Silvas.
There’s the guy who toys excessively with his opponents — typically people he doesn’t respect, the guy who showed up during his fights against Demian Maia, Stephan Bonnar, and, yes, Chris Weidman.
Then, there’s the guy who comes out with the single focus of destroying the person unfortunate enough to be sharing the Octagon with him. That’s the guy who showed during his fights against Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, and his UFC 148 rematch against Chael Sonnen. The Anderson Silva that will likely show up at UFC 168.