Hey chaps, just a little opinion piece on the questionable nature of the suggested second meeting between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. Just a few examples of very favorable match making, which is of course no crime, but should always be well considered. One from my own blog rather than HKL this time!
The prospect of Wanderlei Silva vs Vitor Belfort II is on the horizon and the truly head scratching question is not so much who will win, but rather why such a mismatch on paper is being treated as a legitimate contest. Wanderlei Silva is a declining, chinny brawler whose aggression and swinging wild has been working against him since 2006, while Vitor Belfort is a heavy-handed boxer who decimated Silva a decade ago before the PRIDE superman began his physical decline.
The sport of MMA is a beautiful and fascinating one, but it is a combat sport and so we often have to realize that it is almost as rotten as boxing. Big name fighters are fed stylistic dream match ups, while hardworking fighters without fan interest are sought out simply to lose in the most spectacular fashion possible. In the sport of MMA, where skill sets are so lop-sided and there are so many areas to the fight, putting on glorified exhibitions is an easier task than in any other combat sport. Of course, there is always the chance of an upset, but often the man with the better skill set can be assured to come out on top. Tailor made match ups are far from a crime, and only to be expected in any combat sport, but should always be well considered by the fan before getting caught up in hype.
Examples are not in short supply - just recently Chael Sonnen was matched against one dimensional brawler Brian Stann in order to announce his return to the UFC with a bang. Here are some of the most transparent hype building match ups in recent memory.
Wanderlei Silva vs Vitor Belfort II
Gift match for whom?
Wanderlei's looping punches and straight forward charges leave colossal gaps for a competent boxer to shoot through. Where Cro Cop ended Silva's image as a world class MMA striker by side stepping the swinging Brazilian's charges, Belfort could easily trade blow for blow and come off the better. Silva has been chinny since his early days, but recently proved vulnerable to even light-fisted Michael Bisping and Cung Le. What's more is that Belfort has already destroyed Silva once before, and neither of their styles has changed all that much since.
Why is this match happening?
Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva are legends in Brazil, and will doubtless gain much attention as the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. What's more, the rivalry angle of this match can be played up enormously. Brazilian fighters are always feuding and reconciling (anyone remember when Wanderlei vs Anderson was the talk of the internet?), drama comes naturally to them and will likely make everyone forget the cold, hard logic around this match.
Vitor needs another stunning knockout victory without risking his record against a competent wrestler. When fights go past the opening exchanges, he looks lackluster.
Most hilarious factor?
Vitor Belfort is 7 - 1 in his last 8. Wanderlei Silva is 3 - 5 in his own and looked vulnerable in the most recent two wins. This match makes absolutely no sense from a realistic sporting point of view, only from an entertainment one.
Gift match for whom?
Kimbo Slice was a one dimensional brawler. He had a big punch and few other skills for MMA.
James Thompson has the worst chin in the heavyweight division and British level wrestling.
Why did this match happen?
Kimbo Slice was the marquee attraction for EliteXC, the famously corrupt promotion under the Pro-Elite banner. After Kimbo's massacring Bo Cantrell and Tank Abbott, EliteXC realised that they would need to have him fight fighters with some notable wins in the last decade to sell the brawler to discerning MMA fans.
Most hilarious factor?
Even with the odds stacked in his favor, Slice couldn't knock out the glass jawed Brit. After getting laid on for much of the second round while being hit with 30 unanswered, wheezing elbows, Kimbo eventually finished with an unspectacular TKO by opening Thompson's cauliflower ear. The legend of Kimbo's punching power, all that he had, went up in smoke.