UFC felt it needed a more star power for the upcoming pay-per-view so it called on Anderson Silva. Now he faces a unique challenge in the hard-hitting Derek Brunson.
Anderson Silva seems to be at a strange crossroads in his career. A serious run at another championship does not seem logical and all of the “dream” matches he could have had are no longer being dreamt up by fans. He still has the name recognition and those who saw his bout against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 can see that the “Spider” has some venom left. When the fight card for UFC 208 started to take shape and the UFC could tell it was feeling a little light on top when it came to marquee names it called Silva and he answered. Now he has to go up against the number eight ranked middleweight Derek Brunson.
Silva (33-8) has not won a bout in five years but is still considered by many as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. There is no point in going into his past because MMA fans know just how accomplished his career is. Let us focus on the Anderson Silva of right now. He is 41 years old but is not that far removed from taking current middleweight champion Michael Bisping to the limit when they fought last year. Bisping won the decision but had many scares during the fight. Silva then faced Daniel Cormier in what can be best described as a glorified exhibition. Silva filled in for the suspended Jon Jones on less than a week’s notice but showed fans that he still can be very dangerous.
What kind of threat can Silva pose to Brunson? Brunson (16-4) is ranked number eight but is coming off a brutal knockout loss to Robert Whittaker. Many questioned Brunson’s strategy for the fight with Whittaker as he seemed to just move forward with no caution at all. The strategy did not work in Brunson’s favor and Whittaker only needed less than one round to finish the job.
Prior to the fight with Whittaker, Brunson was on a five-fight win streak with four of those wins coming by way of knockout. Half of his career wins have come by KO/TKO so the power threat is there but he also is susceptible to the KO himself. Three of his four losses have come by way of knockout. Along with Robert Whittaker both Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza have defeated Brunson via KO.
If Brunson and Silva decide to stand up and exchange then the fight should prove to be an exciting one to watch but with Brunson fresh off a KO loss he may change-up his game plan and be more cautious.
A lot more is at stake in the match than many may realize. Brunson cannot afford another loss, especially to a 41-year-old fighter regardless if it is Anderson Silva. With an impressive win over Brunson there is a good chance Silva could face Bisping again but this time for the title. That is if Bisping can get past Yoel Romero. Bisping has been more keen on setting up “big money” fights rather than facing the number one contenders. A title match against Silva could spark up interest for the pay-per-view buying audience.
UFC 208 will take place on Saturday February 11 and will air live on pay-per-view.