Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight knockout artists Anderson Silva and Jared Cannonier will collide this Saturday (May 11, 2019) at UFC 237 from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Anderson Silva’s last performance was pretty extraordinary. “The Spider” did not come particularly close to upsetting Israel Adesanya at any point, but it was a remarkable improvement in form and ability from his 2017 “victory” over Derek Brunson. Silva came into that bout at the age of 43 following a two-year layoff, so sudden improvement was not exactly expected. Meanwhile, Cannonier seemed destined to be one of those “what-if” fighters, a man with immense physical talent who got into the game a bit late and wasn’t able to make the most of his potential. However, the 35-year-old shed some extra weight for the first time to make 185 pounds back in Nov. 2018, immediately scoring the biggest win of his career and looking like a contender in the process. first time to make
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 34-9 (1)
Key Wins: Chael Sonnen (UFC 148, UFC 117). Vitor Belfort (UFC 126), Forrest Griffin (UFC 101), Dan Henderson (UFC 82)
Key Losses: Chris Weidman (UFC 166, UFC 162), Israel Adesanya (UFC 234), Michael Bisping (UFC Fight Night 84)
Keys to Victory: How much of an introduction is really required for Anderson Silva? The Brazilian ruled the Middleweight division for about a decade almost entirely due to his brilliant and creative counter striking game. Even with age slowing him down, Silva is a crafty and dangerous kickboxer.
At this point, Silva has a more difficult time blinding opponent’s with his speed or timing that picture-perfect knockout shot. Luckily, that’s not really what he should be aiming for opposite Cannonier. Instead, Silva should look back to Cannonier’s fairly recent fight with Jan Blachowicz, in which the Polish kickboxer stymied all of Cannonier’s power and speed with the simple jab.
Now, I don’t mean to imply that Silva should spend the entire fight jabbing, but it’s rather proven that Cannonier can be lulled into a technical fight when a wild one favors him. As such, Silva should be rangy and moving, looking to poke at Cannonier with his long kicks and straight punches. If Silva lands quickly then moves his feet, there’s a real chance Cannoner will spend the fight stuck in first gear and never really force the issue.
Key Wins: David Branch (UFC 230), Ion Cutelaba (TUF 24 Finale), Cyril Asker (UFC Fight Night 86), Tony Lopez (AFC 104)
Key Losses: Glover Teixeira (UFC 208), Jan Blachowicz (UFC on FOX 26), Dominick Reyes (UFC Fight Night 129)
Keys to Victory: Cannonier began his UFC career as a Heavyweight, using his speed and footwork to shock the competition. Even two weight classes lower, Cannonier is still faster than most of his foes, and last time out, he showed great conditioning to outlast the wrestling assault of Branch before putting the hurt on him.
The blueprint to defeating Silva is widely available at this point. Running in and reaching with punches sloppily is a bad plan; pressuring with lots of feints is the much better path. However, as explained in Silva’s section, it would probably be better to rush Silva than hang back too patiently and allow Silva to dictate the exchanges.
Hopefully, Cannonier really has put it all together, and the Branch knockout is no mere exception. If that’s the case, Cannonier could learn something from Adesanya, who did well to pressure Silva with feints but kept it rather simple with his actual offense. Spinning shit aside, Adesanya’s most frequently landed blows were low kicks and the cross from either stance. If Cannonier is staying tight with his offense, digging low kicks, and getting into the pocket whenever possible, he has a very real chance to knockout Silva.
Bottom Line: We have a high-level kickboxing match on our hands.
What’s Anderson Silva’s motivation in 2019? The answer remains to be seen. With the Adesanya bout, Silva was (bizarrely) promised a title shot with a win, but now he’s far removed from the title picture. Perhaps, like Jose Aldo, Silva simply wants a few more opportunities to compete in Brazil. Maybe that’s secondary, and a few more late career paychecks are the goal.
No matter the motivation, Silva will be tested on Saturday night.
As for Cannonier, this is a pivotal moment in the career of “The Killa Gorilla.” If Cannonier can win here, that’s a consecutive pair of important victories and excellent start to his Middleweight career. It’s enough that Cannonier would have to be seriously considered as a contender in the future, which is quite a turnaround from his 3-4 start in the Octagon.
At UFC 237, Anderson Silva and Jared Cannonier will duel in the co-main event. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?