The Case for Anderson Silva

Reasonable people can disagree, so I thought I'd also air Sergio Non's perspective after sharing mine:

Leites never presented another significant threat in the affair. By the fourth round he wasn't mounting any serious takedown attempts, and simply dropping to mat, as if somehow he could will Silva to come down with him.

Silva contented himself with throwing the occasional strike, particularly to Leites' left leg. The titleholder felt safe enough to start playing around with side kicks and Ali-style body movements to tempt Leites out of his survival shell, but the challenger would have none of it -- if Silva wouldn't hit the ground, the Leites had nothing else to offer.

It's hard to blame Silva for his opponent's one-dimensional approach. Why should Silva have to prove anything? He already has the title belt. No less a fighter than former light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell bristled at the notion that Silva was to blame for lack of aggression.

"The guy threw punches at the air and (Leites) fell to his back," said Liddell, a counterstriker himself by nature. Silva "was attacking him the whole time."

Well, except he wasn't attacking the whole time at all, but it bears repeating that Leites deserves his fair share of the blame for retreating to guard flopping time after time. And to that end: Leites has shown durability in his previous fights and expressed a willingness to push the action in the run up to the fight. Zuffa may have made a mistake in booking Leites for the fight, but only because hindsight is 20/20. He talked positively about bringing the fight to Silva given what a grand opportunity this was and his previous bouts have shown him to be a fighter historically unafraid of taking damage to win. That Thales Leites gave way to one that was risk averse to a frustrating degree and made Silva's task of merely engaging far more difficult.

I still believe Silva could've tried far harder to overcome this (and not to the degree that Silva should at all times risk life and limb to accomplish the task of fighting; I am not advocating that Silva needlessly burn brain cells for the fans' entertainment dollar now or ever), but every fight requires two to tango. Leites didn't seem keen on dancing in Silva's ballet of violence.

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