Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

How Anderson Silva Turned Loss Into Victory

Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman will fight for the middleweight title tonight in a rematch of their bout from July, and it's a strange one, because despite Weidman having finished Silva off last time, no one really has any idea what to expect. Weidman could wax an aged and suddenly vulnerable Silva, or Silva could drop Weidman in a minute and then retire as the undisputed greatest of all time, or the whole thing could play out as a terse back and forth for five rounds, and none of it would be especially surprising.

A lot of the intrigue comes from the way their first fight played out, with Silva openly mocking Weidman and then getting knocked out for the first time in his long career. That mockery was tactical, in service of a strategy; Silva is a counterpuncher, and for him, scoffing at his opponents has long been a way of baiting them into coming at him. You could thus read Weidman's win as a strategic success and evidence that he'd figured out Silva's patterns and how to time them, or as a bit of a fluke, or as both, or as something else entirely. (In the piece below, which originally ran in July, I argued that the result was somewhat beside the point.) The ambiguity left the fight open enough to interpretation that people are still arguing over it, and will probably keep doing so whatever happens tonight. The only thing that seems certain is that it will be interesting; Silva fights, for years, have been events.

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