Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bleachers' Brew #382 Of a knockout and an upset (post-Chris Weidman's win over Anderson Silva)

This appears in the Monday July 28 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Of a knockout and an upset
by rick olivares

The talk about Chris Weidman knocking out Anderson Silva has not abated. Sure Weidman was undefeated in five UFC matches (nine overall) heading into their July 6 encounter. But some weren’t impressed in the manner they felt that Chael Sonnen or Stephen Bonnar made for good foils for Silva. Even news about a rematch between the two isn’t satisfying for some who feel that the fight was rigged. So maybe there is the lack of respect about Weidman, hence, talk of a fix.

But I’d like to digress.

If you’ve watched Anderson Silva through the years, you will have witnessed not only his greatness as the best Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the world but also his propensity to put on bizarre performances where he showboats, taunts, or barely puts on an effort in dispatching foes.

Those who are shocked obviously have not watched Silva before and are just like those guys on Sports Illustrated Now who wondered if the fight was rigged. Incredibly, two of the SI panelists never even saw the fight! So much for making an informed opinion.

For your information, Silva’s done it a lot – put his hands down, egged on his foe to throw him something -- to bait opponents into wading in and overextending themselves before he counters with a kick, a knee, or even a haymaker of his own. Vitor Belfort knows that all too well.

Now when a foe like Chael Sonnen does a lot of pre-match trash talking, then Silva dispenses with the showboating to do some serious butt kicking. Sonnen, 0-2 against Silva, knows. Now.

Apparently, Silva didn’t think that Weidman, undefeated heading into their UFC 162 fight, was the real deal. After all, the erstwhile champ won 16 consecutive matches including 10 straight title defenses. To steal a line from UFC anchor Mike Goldberg, Anderson Silva “has a knack for making great fighters look ordinary.”

So maybe Silva is entitled to his arrogance. Why he even brought out the Muhammad Ali dancing around the ring for good measure against Weidman.

But as former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold (who lost last May to Vitor Belfort in a UFC match in Brazil) tweeted, “The showboating finally caught up to him.”

Added English MMA bantamweight Brad Pickett, “Always respect your opponent.”

Weidman is the type of fighter who will give Silva problems. The Brazilian acknowledged that in all the pre-match interviews. Silva noted that the New Yorker was a complete fighter – he’s good at grappling and wrestling, is a Jiu Jitsu artist, and has a good stand up game. Silva, on the other hand, is a stand up fighter with great striking ability and is even frightening on the counter. Grappling is not really his game and he admitted so.

What Weidman did successfully in the first round was to takedown Silva and attempt a submission. The Brazilian recovered his guard and they got back to the center of the ocatagon.

Silva teased with some of his kicks and punches however Weidman moved out of the way.

In the second round, Silva did his best impression of Neo from The Matrix as he dodged some of those bombs being thrown by Weidman. The Brazilian even pretended to be hurt before Weidman caught him with a left that dropped him lack a sack of potatoes.

In a fight, you have to suspend your disbelief and know that anything can happen. I guess people are still reeling from that knockout heard around the world when Juan Manuel Marquez dropped Manny Pacquiao. And way before that, there was Iron Mike Tyson kissing the canvass after James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocked him out for the first time in his career. That fight has been described as one of the most shocking upsets in sports history.

You might say that’s boxing. But in the sweet science’s cousin, MMA, there was Dan Henderson knocking out Fedor ‘The Last Emperor’ Emelianenko in Strikeforce bout in July of 2011. Emelianenko is probably the greatest MMA heavyweight in the sport’s history and he was pounding on Henderson when the latter escaped a mount and threw an uppercut that was followed by hammer fists to knock out the Russian in the first round.

There’s also a 43-year old Randy Couture who was retired from MMA and was doing color work for the UFC when he was lured out of the booth to face a 31-year old Tim Sylvia who was on a six-bout win streak. Incredibly, Couture dominated all five rounds to win the UFC’s heavyweight title. And yes, at age 43.

And there is Matt Serra’s win over Georges St. Pierre in UFC 69. Serra was a plus-700 underdog to the Canadian who was being hailed as the next big thing in MMA. A looping right hand caught GSP and Serra waded in to finish him off. And I’d say that given the circumstances and Serra’s background (he was cut from the UFC and made it back via The Ultimate Fighter), this has to be the biggest upset in MMA let alone sports history.

Now for Chris Weidman knocking out Anderson Silva? If one alone were to win via reputation then we need not go through all of this. Fixed fight? Not at all. Weidman is a modern-day Rocky Balboa.

And this is why you fight the fight.

Anderson Silva is brought to tears by the allegations of throwing the fight:

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