Much like you, if a raw street fight broke out anywhere near me, I would stop and watch the entire thing. Then, I would analyze it with my in-house UFC expert, Steve. If you’re interested in a column that tells you what happened on fight night, then you should probably check ESPN. If you’re interested in anything but results, then you’ve found the right place. Each fight night, something remarkable happens and it will be documented here. If you’ve never seen UFC, you should start by watching this clip.
“That guy looks like Steven Seagal,” I said.
“No! What did you say? Which guy?” said Steve.
There was a guy hugging Anderson Silva right before he got set to fight that looked like Steven Seagal, right down to the banana peel goggles and bulging gut. We both figured that I was mistaken. Why would someone like Anderson Silva hang out with Steven Seagal? The fighters were set: Middleweight champion Anderson Silva was to put his title on the line against Vitor Belfort.
I had never heard of Belfort before but there was plenty of hype about this fight. Steve explained that both fighters had trained together in Brazil and Vitor was at one point the light heavyweight champion. But I’m skeptical of hype since guys like Anderson Silva don’t lose. He’s touted as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.
I’ve seen him a few times and here’s how I would describe his strategy:
Silva waits. He’s not making the first move, you are. He’s the champ. If you don’t make a move, you’ve wasted your title shot. He doesn’t care if the crowd boos him. He’s slowly stalking the ring, waiting for you. It becomes clear that you have to do something. So you start to kick him a little, different angles, but he blocks those. Maybe you try and wrestle him to the ground. You never saw it coming but it’s over. At some point you let your guard down and he knocked you out. Nobody ever sees it coming.
Silva isn’t the most likable champion, even though he’s absolutely spectacular as a fighter. He’s definitely a bit weird. He came to the weigh-in wearing a phantom of the opera mask because the other guy implied that Silva was somewhat of a performer.
In the first round, neither Silva nor the other guy threw a punch for the first two minutes. Everyone started to boo. Steve and I shuffled around in our seats at the bar, never taking our eyes off the TV screen. The other guy got a couple of good shots in but nothing that Silva couldn’t shake off. Then, Anderson Silva gave the other guy a front kick to the face and the fight was over.
Joe Rogan, the colour commentator for all UFC events, was like, “I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYONE KNOCKED OUT LIKE THAT BEFORE! NOT JUST UFC, ANYWHERE, KICKBOXING, KUNG FU, TAE KWON-DO, KARATE, BOXING, WOMEN’S HOCKEY, FEAR FACTOR, NEVER EVER HAVE I SEEN ANYONE KNOCKED OUT LIKE THAT WITH A FRONT KICK TO THE FACE!” Steve’s currently working on why Joe Rogan feels compelled to yell all the time.
The next day, we learned that it was indeed Steven Seagal in the ring. As it turns out, Seagal’s been training with Silva for years and taught Silva the front kick that got the knockout. I can just imagine the two of them in Seagal’s basement watching Under Seige 2, with Seagal narrating the movie, “Now watch the kicks I use to defeat these twelve Chinamen that have infiltrated the ship. Did you see that? That’s what I want you to do to this guy, exactly like that.”
Silva doesn’t make any effort to speak English, which might explain why the fans always boo him. He went on for about two minutes in Portuguese at the end of the fight and the translator was like, “Basically, Vitor is a great fighter and Silva has a lot of respect for him.” I’m also skeptical about how much this translator filters out whenever Silva speaks.
In the end, the mystery of what Silva is thinking or saying is irrelevant because he’ll be remembered for that split-second where he snaps his leg out and surprises you with a Steven Seagal special.
–When he’s not watching grown men fight, Umar Saeed covers the endless battle between money and people on his website: www.umarsaeed.ca/