:: UFC 77: Hostile Territory - Preview by Stephen Quadros
UFC 60 Review by Stephen Quadros
UFC 77: Hostile Territory
Saturday, October 20, 2007
U.S. Bank Arena
By Stephen Quadros, “The
|Anderson Silva (Champion)
Rich Franklin (Challenger)
||UFC Middleweight Championship
Anderson "The Spider" Silva knows the feeling of fighting in "hostile
territory". When he made his debut in Cage Rage (UK) on September 11,
2004 it was against a man who was feared on the street as well as in the
cage, England’s “Lighting” Lee Murray. Murray had just KO’d The Spider’s
then-training partner Jose "Pele" Landy and played the UK versus Brazil
angle to almost disrespectful heights at the pre-Anderson fight
weigh-in. The crowd was definitely against Silva as he entered the arena
on fight night and they were vocal about it. Boos and catcalls permeated
the venue as the humble, yet intense man from Curitiba made his way
through the audience. The result: Anderson toyed with, punished and
schooled Lee Murray in a match where the Brit miraculously made it
through three rounds.
That was the last time Anderson Silva saw the outcome of one of his
matches being determined by the judges.
Since arriving in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in June 2006 Silva
has completely dominated a very tough list of opponents, including Chris
Leben (TKO), Travis Lutter (submission), former King of Pancrase Nathan
Marquardt (TKO) and of course his brutal title winning TKO over Rich
Prior to losing to Silva, Franklin had won the middleweight belt and
gone on to become one of the UFC’s key marketing tools. He had the look
and the humble, yet likeable personality any promoter dreams of. Rich
further rose to golden boy status for his "good cop" coaching role
opposite (“bad cop”) Matt Hughes on the second season of The Ultimate
Fighter TV series.
Franklin had only lost once prior to facing Silva, a crushing knockout
to Lyoto Machida in Inoki Bom Ba Ye 2003. But because most of the
viewing audience in America had not SEEN the Machida loss (it happened
in Japan and was not televised in the US) and only knew Franklin from
the fame generated from TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) and his appearances
in the UFC, Rich was regarded my many who only followed the post-TUF UFC
(and were not really aware of the exploits of Matt Lindland, Dan
Henderson, Paulo Filho, Denis Kang AND Anderson Silva) as the best in
the world in his weight division.
The first fight was one where Rich seemed to never really get started.
And against a sharp shooter like Anderson that means you will be in a
world of trouble. Soon after the Brazilian achieved the Muay Thai
clinch, the end to Franklin’s title reign came with finality in round
number one. Obviously the game plan for Ace in this rematch is to stay
out of that position. But because Silva is so wily and accurate from the
outside, fighting at a distance isn’t advisable either.
An in-close brawl, that transitions into a takedown and top control is
essential medicine for Rich to defeat The Spider. Once that is
implemented Rich has to be on point with punches and especially elbows.
If he cannot get Anderson on his back and hurt him there, Franklin will
have a much-reduced chance of regaining the belt.
There is a strong possibility that this fight will play out in a very
similar, albeit much more competitive, fashion to the first time around.
A standup fight is discouraged for the "American Fighter". If Rich’s
wrestling, subsequent submission defense and ground and pound are finely
tuned, there is a potential problem for Silva. If not Anderson will win
inside the distance.
Welcome back to the big show, Brandon. Meet Tim Sylvia.
Everyone is optimistic about Brandon “The Truth” Vera and his future.
And they have every right to be: he’s a very young 30 years old,
relatively not too bashed up and has truckloads of skill in every area.
His having an 11 month break may actually be a good thing for him. He’ll
be fresh…and hungry.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia is going to
come in mentally primed for this as well. The only problem he may be
facing is if his body will be able to react fast enough to what his
brain tells it to. After having his forearm broken from an armbar by
Frank Mir three years ago, Sylvia got on a hot streak and regained the
championship in the Octagon by knocking out rival Andre Arlovski in a
rematch® (April 2006). After two dull title-retaining victories over
Arlovski (the third time) and Jeff Monson, Sylvia was set to stave off
the challenge of the beloved Randy “The Natural” Couture. Tim lost his
title to Randy by decision (March 2007); most likely in no small part
due to a serious back injury he sustained in training prior to the bout.
After the Couture fight he immediately had back surgery. So the question
is, has he had enough time to recuperate and get back to where he needs
to be against a talent like Vera?
Still, at 23-3, 16 TKOs, Sylvia has a huge edge in terms of experience
over Brandon (8-0, 6 TKOs). And the Muay Thai clinch that Vera, 6’ 2”,
has employed so successfully in the past will be neutralized by the
height advantage Tim has at 6’ 8”.
This match will come down to who implements their game plan first:
Sylvia landing his straight right hand and Brandon moving in and out
with low kicks. I see this being competitive but not necessarily
exciting. Tim has a tendency to bottle up his aggression and has been
accused of fighting too defensively in the recent past. Vera on the
other hand has never heard such criticism…yet.
I pick Brandon Vera by decision.
Quadros, "The Fight Professor", has worked as a host and play-by-play
commentator for some of the world's greatest fight organizations including:
PRIDE, K-1 and Inoki Bom Ba Ye. He currently balances
his activities between acting, working as a analyst/color commentator for
ShoXC (Showtime), Cage Rage (UK), the International Fight
League (IFL) on Fox Sports Net and MyNetwork TV, hosting his own radio
show at Sherdog.com (every
Tuesday at 12 noon PST), choreographing fight scenes for feature films and
playing drums for the bands
Snow and Whipped
Cream. Visit Mr. Quadros on the worldwide web at:
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