It was truly stunning news a couple of days ago when it was announced that Jon “Bones” Jones was pulled from his HIGHLY anticipated showdown with Daniel Cormier for the UFC LHW title because he came up hot on pre-fight drug test. The UFC 200 main event was put into peril and UFC President Dana White had to scramble to find respectable substitute for Jones. A number of prominent fighters volunteered, including Gegard Mousasi, who is the #9 ranked LHW in the world. Mousasi was already on the undercard, scheduled to fight in an another LHW bout and I was hoping Dana White would allow him to take on the Champ. Many others felt the same way and there were many calls to Dana White on social media, especially Twitter, to make that fight happen, but White went another direction and gave the nod to the legendary former UFC MW champ Anderson Silva. I think that choice caught many people by surprise, myself included, because Anderson normally fights at middle weight, although he walks around at 200 pounds or more when he isn’t cutting weight for a MW fight. More surprising though, at least to me, is that Anderson wanted this fight on such short notice, with no training camp at all.
So, now we have a very interesting fight indeed.
Dan Cormier (+410)
Anderson “Spider” Silva (-375)
You very rarely see Spider Silva as a significant underdog, even now, in the twilight of his singularly great career. From a betting perspective I think Anderson is a great bet -375. Some Vegas books have Silva at -400 or -410. I totally understand that because Cormier is still arguably in his prime and is supremely talented. He has pretty much destroyed everyone in his path, but Jon Jones. But if there is one fighter out there, besides Jones, who has the skill set to deal with Cormier’s nearly superhuman strength and Olympic level wrestling ability it may indeed be the Spider. However, there a number of big flashing question marks concerning Silva. Just what kind of shape is Anderson really in? He weighed in a fairly trim 198 pounds, which is a good weight for his 6’2″ frame, but will he have the stamina to go more than a round or two with the powerful Cormier? Can Anderson, without a training camp, just go in there and wing it against a fighter at Cormier’s level. What will the Spider’s strategy be?
Part of me is still disappointed that Mousasi will not be Cormier’s opponent because I think he would have given Daniel a tough fight, but I think he also would have been a significant underdog. That said, after thinking it over, I think Silva vs Cormier is the most intriguing fight that UFC could have arranged. Although Silva is a big underdog he still has certain moves that very few UFC fighters have and even in his 40’s his quickness give him an advantage over most opponents. Cormier better not underestimate him or he may find himself receiving a flying knee to his face or a variety of other head kicks. Anderson is also very skilled on the ground so even if Cormier scores a takedown or several takedowns for that matter he may find himself in trouble if he gets caught in Anderson’s guard. Silva has quickly ended a few fights on the ground and in dramatic fashion. His submission (triangle armbar) victory over Chael Sonnen, in the closing minutes of the 5th round of a title fight he was losing, is an excellent example of just how dangerous Silva can be while on his back.
In the end, I do think Cormier will probably win this fight, but if Anderson Silva is in good shape he may shock the world here. If I had a chance to fly to Vegas tomorrow night and make a bet a couple of hundred bucks on this fight Silva would be my choice simply because I think he offers the best value. It would also be very cool to see him add another win to his spectacular career.