Anderson Silva has beaten every opponent he has faced in the UFC and for the most part (his fights with Thales Leites and Damian Maia notwithstanding) he has done so with a style and ease that is remarkable. Jack Slack is a striking analyst who runs the website www.fightsgoneby.com and written a few books on the subject, including “Elementary Striking: Strategies for Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA” and “Advanced Boxing: Tactics of Ring Masters.” Slack also analyzes fights for www.bleacherreport.com, including his “Killing the King” series where he breaks down the skill sets, and any apparent holes, of combat sport champions. On June 29, Slack published a Killing the King piece for Anderson Silva.
Slack starts his analysis with the aspect of Silva’s game that is most visible to observers: his counterstriking game. Slack notes how MMA fighters tend to throw the same combinations as each other, and Silva is adept at reacting to those attacks. Even better, Silva induces the attack that he wants to face, as he did against Yushin Okami and Forrest Griffin. Slack uses a series of pictures to show the key moments in each of those fights.
Another skill of Silva’s that Slack points out is his ability to roll with punches. Silva is a tough guy with a solid chin to be sure, but by rolling with punches, he makes it look like he is getting hit harder than he really is. Silva rolls with solid punches and comes right back, as he did when Stephan Bonnar had Silva up against the cage. Slack points out that this ability is made stronger by the lack of variation that MMA fighters use. Boxers, on the other hand, vary their attacks more consistently and would therefore (theoretically) give Silva a tougher time. Slack offers video of Silva sparring against a boxer at famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club as evidence that his analysis is correct.
Slack finishes his analysis of Silva’s striking with discussion of his movement, which Silva is a master of. Slack points out that he is so effective in this area that the best way for a middleweight contender to deal with Silva is to get him on the cage, do what work they can, break free and repeat. In his analysis of how to accomplish this, Slack suggests using body strikes, as Silva is more open to the body than he is to the head.
The best chance most fighters have against Silva is to take him down. The only fight Silva was really in danger of losing was the first fight with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen is a world class wrestler who managed to take Silva down in every round of their fight and tried to bludgeon him with ground and pound. Slack uses Silva’s experience with Sonnen to point out a few ways to attack Silva with striking that would open him up for takedowns.
Slack is a very interesting analyst and it is recommended that any MMA fan, especially those who train and looking for striking instruction, should read Slack’s bleacherreport articles. Slack can also be found on Twitter (@JackSlackMMA). He does a good job of giving instant analysis during fight events and interacts with his followers very well.