When I first saw the fight, I thought Chris Weidman would have to pull a Chael Sonnen and constantly look for takedowns at all times. If Weidman couldn’t get Anderson Silva down, he would be knocked out. I expected Weidman to win the first round, but in the second round — when he’d fail to get Anderson down — he’d be in big trouble and it would be a matter of time before he’d get decimated. Not getting Anderson down would mean that Weidman would gas.
Silva’s walk to the cage was a new level of cockiness. You can see him stop to manipulate the camera crew. You could just tell that he had also placed godlike status on himself. He really was acting like he thought of himself as someone special. You need to leave that sort of thing to others.
Ego can be a huge flaw. Anderson, like so many people, let his ego get the best of him. When things weren’t going his way, he tried to act like he’s above it all. The taunting and talking in between rounds… that Silva’s thing. Imagine someone on the undercard doing that. It would be different. Anderson is on his feet in round 2 with Weidman and isn’t landing anything. Weidman lands the odd jab and Silva’s ego gets more (and more) bent out of shape as in he’s thinking, “What the fuck? I’m Anderson Silva, and you can’t get the better of me!” The taunting gets worse. I think this is a natural egotistical reaction.
We have seen it a million times when a striker thinks they are better than their opponent and they get tagged. The next thing you know their hands are down and they are taunting. Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida is a good example of frustration — hands down, tagged badly. Jon Jones even started for a second at the start of the Alexander Gustafsson fight this past Saturday night, but caught himself. Silva took it to an entirely whole new level and I believe it was because his ego had reached that perch.
Here’s the new perspective of mine that I found the most interesting:
What if Weidman didn’t have the Sonnen gameplan of “get the fight to the ground at all costs”? What if Weidman’s plan was a little more complex? Let’s look at a smart gameplan that factors in Anderson Silva’s ‘weapons’:
— Silva is a counter striker.
— Silva is a counter striker.
— You need to either submit Silva or win via decision.
Chris Weidman dominated the first round, but if you notice, he dove for an ankle instead of playing it safe and trying to punch Anderson in the face for the rest of the round. He wasn’t looking to pound Anderson out even though he was landing big shots.
In round 2, Weidman’s takedown attempts were half-assed. This is the key to people being misled. Weidman was planning for a 5-round fight. If you re-watch it with this in mind, you see that Weidman didn’t want to burn himself out by battling for takedowns in the wrong spot. While standing, Weidman was fighting a counter-striker very smart. He didn’t really fall for any bait and expose himself. He threw the odd jab out there and was cautious of Silva’s counters. This is what frustrated Silva. Weidman was basically looking to score the odd jab, conserve energy and wait for the opening of a takedown and not gas himself trying to force it. It wasn’t at all a case of Weidman being too gassed to take Silva down. He was executing a gameplan to win a 5-round fight.
Re-watching the fight with this perspective, you can actually see that Weidman executed a perfect gameplan and was actually in control of the whole fight. He was never fading or out of his comfort zone. Yes, Silva was knocked out by acting like a gloating doofus, but make no mistake about it, nothing Anderson was doing for a round and a half was working.
Silva landed a couple of leg kicks and acted like he was better than Weidman, but in reality he was completely dominated in the first round and shut down on the feet in two, which made his giant ego get the best of him, hence the clowning.