Looking at Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, I just don't see how Silva being larger would have an appreciable effect on the outcome. His style isn't based on smothering guys or pressing them against the cage. His ability to land and dodge strikes is based in technique. For GSP, I think the argument holds true, as well: his takedowns are based on proper setup and technical wrestling, not trying to muscle a guy to the floor. If their styles and weights were reversed, I could see the issue, but not as it stands. St. Pierre has already fought guys nearly as tall as Silva and trains with guys like Nate Marquardt and, in the past, Rashad Evans. The fight is going to be tough as hell, but the size won't decide the outcome. -- Chauncey from Atlanta
Mike Whitman, news editor: I believe you are partially correct in the sense that technique will undoubtedly play a serious role in determining the bout’s winner, but I believe we have different perspectives on how Silva’s size and strength advantages would be used in this fight.
You make a solid point by observing that Silva’s build is not what most traditionally think of when considering physical prowess. As he displays on a regular basis, “The Spider” is unique, both in applying his natural gifts and his learned techniques to make his opponents look amateurish by comparison. Just as valid is your stance on St. Pierre using speed, timing, technique and calculation -- rather than brute force -- to earn his takedowns.
However, in the final analysis, I must disagree with you. I believe that St. Pierre’s takedowns will undoubtedly be negatively affected by Silva’s larger frame.
Bottom line: the closer these guys fight to 170 pounds, the better for St. Pierre. If “Rush” can whittle the Brazilian down in pre-fight contract negotiations, St. Pierre’s chances of winning increase significantly. In my opinion -- and in St. Pierre’s, from the sound of it -- adding muscle and cutting less weight will do the Canadian little good against Silva, who has gotten used to fending off dudes the size of Chael Sonnen, Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
An important point to remember: Silva’s size advantage will not necessarily equate to “The Spider” chucking St. Pierre around the cage like a fly caught in his web; nor does it mean that Silva will be impervious to those beautiful double-leg takedowns, should the Canadian manage to navigate his way through Silva’s punching range and lock his hands around those arachnid hips.
Unfortunately for St. Pierre, closing that distance will prove easier said than done thanks to Silva’s height and reach advantages. Certainly, Silva’s footwork and counter punching will also play a pivotal role in determining the outcome, but we cannot ignore these physical advantages.
Provided St. Pierre ends up in the clinch, I imagine he will wish that he had not. The crushing power of Silva’s Thai plum is well documented, as is his ability to sucker his opponents into wasting energy from close quarters while he calmly waits to strike. Even if St. Pierre avoids the plum, I foresee him having a really tough time tripping a larger Silva to the mat with any kind of regularity on fight night.
If St. Pierre does manage to hold down Silva for 25 minutes, he will face arguably the most dangerous guard threat he has ever encountered. Granted, Silva may not be Vinny Magalhaes or even his mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but damn if that dude does not use every inch of those long legs to protect himself while threatening with submissions.
Wherever the fight goes, Silva’s size will be something that St. Pierre has never dealt with under live fire. While playing war games in the gym with larger men certainly cannot not hurt his chances, I imagine St. Pierre would agree that a full-contact fight under the bright lights is an entirely different ball game.
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