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Lots of People Have "Bad Nights" Against Forrest Griffin

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Coming at this from a fan's perspective, I love the Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin match.  It's the first UFC opponent for Silva that won't be giving up reach, and he's the biggest guy Silva has fought.  Silva usually is around 230 pounds out of camp, but during camp he diets and trains down to 205, and then cuts to 185.  When he fought James irvin, he supposedly cut from around 218.  Regardless, he will be smaller than Forrest for this fight.

This will be a seriously competitive fight, regardless of what people are saying.  Forrest isn't an amazing technical striker, but he is very good at throwing in high volume and overwhelming his opponents with his relentless pace.  This is only a 3 round fight, and his style tends to do very well on score cards.  Anderson can't just take his time getting into this fight, or he could find himself down a round or even two going into the third.

Forrest beat Shogun and Rampage when they were ranked number one in the world at light heavyweight.  People find reasons to diminish these wins, but it's an exercise in futility.  You can do it to diminish almost anyone's wins in a sport as unpredictable as MMA.  The bottom line is that before both of those fights, people asked the same exact question people are asking now: "How can Forrest win?"  I admit I was one of them, I thought that Rampage just had too much for Forrest, but it wasn't the case.  Even if you believe Rampage won that fight, you still can't deny that it was extremely close, and Forrest performed far better than most expected him to.  Saying Rampage performed badly unfairly diminishes the fact that guys don't just perform in a vacuum, they perform based on what their opponents bring to the table.  It's no accident that lots of guys have "off nights" when they fight Forrest Griffin.

In recent fights, one of the more discouraging trends in Anderson Silva's game is the fact that he has been throwing only one strike at a time.  In his last fight, he stood in front of a fighter that had no jab and was leaning against the fence begging to be finished, but he couldn't be bothered to string a few strikes together to end it. Besides the James Irvin win, most of his devastating finishes haven't been one-punch knockouts.  Unless he gets back to stringing together combinations, I don't think he is going to finish Forrest with a single shot.  Forrest doesn't have an amazing chin by any means, but he was able to withstand five rounds of Quinton's punches and a number of big shots from Rashad while the fight was standing.  He can be finished, but it's not easy, and it's not like a single punch from Anderson Silva is going to be a whole new world of power that Forrest has never felt before.

As a fan, the most frustrating thing is seeing guys like Fedor and Anderson Silva fight guys nowhere near their league while they are in their prime.  These recent Silva fights against Cote and Leites have been a true waste of an amazing talent.  People can cry for Yushin Okami all day, but that is not an intriguing fight at all.  He's never beaten top middleweight talent, and the only question in that fight is whether Okami can somehow manage a wet blanket decision victory.  Excuse me if I'm not horrified over the fact that he's getting "screwed."    

I was worried that they would put Silva in with someone like Luis Cane, which is the kind of fight that doesn't really inspire a lot of excitement.  Instead they swung for the fences, and now we're going to get a true dream match among guys that are still in their prime.  These are the fights that bring out legendary performances, as opposed to the disgrace at UFC 97.  I'm no shrink, but it seems to me that Anderson Silva responds to new challenges and real threats, and he has both on his hands here.    

Don't believe the hype that this is a one-sided blowout, Forrest is a live underdog.  Forrest will show up in shape with a good game plan, and if Silva takes him lightly he could end up shaking his head in the back just like Shogun and Rampage.   I'm leaning toward Anderson in this fight, but it's no slam dunk, and if he can't get up for this fight and really make an effort, Forrest will embarrass him too.