Anderson Silva successfully defended his UFC Middleweight record for an unbelievable 9th time at the weekend. In doing so he avenged his only loss since 2006 by taking out Yushin Okami in the 2nd round and extended his undefeated record to 14 fights. Many people thought Okami could be the type of fighter to really give Silva trouble, but the ultimate genius of the standup game in MMA had other plans and took Okami out in lethal fashion, utilising a similar style to that which saw him KO Forrest Griffin.
It is hard to argue a case against Silva now being considered the GOAT* in MMA. No one in MMA at his level can boast the same sort of consecutive win streak and it is unlikely his title run will ever be matched. There are those that would level the criticism that the 185lb division is a little lean on talent, but that is a moot point. You can only face those put in front of you and Silva has NEVER refused an opponent and whoever you put in front of him, he’ll find a way to win.
18 of Silvas 31 career wins have come via KO and in this post I am going to break down his top 5 career KO victories as I see them:
5: Carlos Newton – Pride 25 (Flying Knee)
Newton at the time was an ex-UFC champion but did not seem to be developing his game as much as his peers. Flitting between weights, he had a hard time putting together the kind of performances that saw him bulldog choke Pat Militech into submission to win the UFC title. Silva was making only his 2nd appearance in Pride but he won in style with a perfect flying knee and instantly ingratiated himself with the Japanese fans. His Michael Jackson style dance celebration was also pretty cool!
4: Rich Franklin – UFC 64: Middleweight Title Match (Clinch Knee to face)
Franklin was a peerless champion at the time, in a Middlweight division sorely lacking real standout talent. Dana White hoped to have finally unearthed a 185lb star, when he brought Anderson Silva in, who promptly obliged the UFC front man, dispatching the iron-chinned Chris Leben inside a round in devastating fashion. Silva was fast-tracked to a title shot on the back of that win. But surely he couldn’t do that against Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin could he? Turns out he could, and he rearranged Franklins nose and took his belt, courtesy of a beautifully deadly knee from the clinch.
3: Forrest Griffin – UFC 101: Light Heavyweight bout (Jab) What does a fighter who is on the verge of cleaning out his division do? He moves up a weight to test himself (take note GSP!!). After soundly besting James Irvin at 205lbs, Silva was given what many thought was a huge test in the shape of former champion and tough-as-nails TUF winner Griffin. Silva put in a performance straight of the matrix, making a mockery of Griffins manful attempts to get him into a brawl with almost telepathic head movement. Griffin threw leather and Anderson simply wasn’t there any more to be hit. After toying with Griffin and making him miss 34 of 35 punches (!!!!), he threw a straight right jab from southpaw stance as he was retreating from another Griffin blitz. The punch came from a guard which hung loosely by his waist as he bobbed and weaved his head to avoid Griffins strikes. A thing of beauty and a demoralising loss for the ever-emotional Griffin, who ran from the Octagon sobbing.
2: Vitor Belfort – UFC 126: Middleweight title defence (Front Kick)
It was close between this KO and the number 1 slot, but I put the Belfort win in at number 2. Belfort was a former training partner of Silva and a lot of fans thought his lightning quick hands, KO power and elite jiujitsu would be a big test for the champ. Turned out not so, although Belfort got the better of the first exchange. After that initial Belfort flurry, they circled and then Silva unleashed a left front kick, that landed square on Belforts jaw, crumpling him to the mat. Silva followed up, but the ref was already diving between the 2 men. Another one for the highlight reel.
1: Tony Fryklund – Cage Rage 16: World Middleweight title defence (reverse upwards elbow)
I was fortunate enough to be at this fight and the finish was insane. Silva made a huge impression in his short stay with the London based Cage Rage promotion. He had a 3 round war with local favourite Lee Murray to win the promotions “world” middleweight title and then finished Jorge Riveira and Curtis Stout before he faced off with Fryklund. Fryklund was a UFC veteran and had faced som top competition but he had no answer for the dazzling muay-thai of Silva. Silva ducked as if feigning a level change and then landed a rising 6-12 elbow right on the button with his forward arm and Fryklund was gone. The way Silva walks away nonchanlantly afterwards is the icing on the cake. This has to be the best elbow KO ever and deserves its place as Anderson Silva’s best ever knockout strike simply because of the audacity of it and the fact that there is probably no other fighter around who could make this strike as effective as Silva does.
So there you have it! My Top 5 Silva KO’s. Feel free to leave me some comments and feedback. Maybe you can think of some others, maybe there are some other fighters that I should do a top 5 for? Let me know!
*Greatest of all time for those that don’t know!! 🙂