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So You Want To Fight Like Anderson Silva

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A look at the MMA mastery of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Photo by Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
Photo by Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is widely considered to be the best Mixed Martial Artist of all time. He's made no secret of his technical mastery. Instead he's authored two books of fighting technique and one DVD series.

With UFC 134 just around the corner, we thought it was an opportune time to collect some of our best understanding of Anderson Silva's fighting techniques. 

Learn from the master:

  • DVDs: Anderson Silva's Takedowns & Takedown Defense, Boxing, and Striking Combos.
    In Takedowns & Takedown Defense, Silva covers the double leg, single leg, throws from over-under, throws from double underhooks, and setting up takedowns with strikes. The Boxing section covers footwork, basic strikes, parrying and blocking, evasive movements, and clinch fighting. In the final installment, Silva goes over boxing and Muay Thai combinations for attacking and countering.

  • Anderson Silva MMA Instruction Manual STRIKING
    The amount of information I gleaned about striking, particularly footwork, from this book positively dwarfs that I've gotten from every other MMA book combined. Lets face it, Silva is light years ahead of most MMA practitioners as a striker and comparing his striking instructionals to those of B.J. Penn or Randy Couture is like the difference between basic algebra and advanced calculus. You will not be disappointed if you buy this book looking to learn about advanced striking technique for MMA.

  • Anderson Silva's MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting
    This time Glen Cordoza alone co-writes with Silva as they cover basically everything in his MMA repertoire that is not striking at range. Silva's approach to ground fighting and take downs are singular and very interesting, but let's not kid ourselves, it's the stuff on the Muay Thai clinch that makes this book such a gem.

    Silva is famous for his use of the Thai plum aka double collar tie as an offensive mainstay of his arsenal and here he shares his secrets to success with the position. For many fighters the Thai plum is just a way station from which to throw a few knees to the face. For Silva it's a complete system of moves to break down an opponent's posture and deliver painful strikes in sequence from less to more and more damaging.

  •  Anderson Silva Lands a Muay Boran Back Elbow 

    "I still wasn't convinced, so one night I went home and asked my wife to stand on the couch and hold out her hand. I executed a lead reverse back elbow into her palm, and she told me what I already knew -- it was a very painful strike. To get in the practice I needed, I had her stand on the couch every evening after my official training -- this time holding a pillow -- and I would do one hundred reverse back elbows. By the time the Frykland fight came around, I felt very confident. Unfortunately, backstage I couldn't sneak off with my wife to warm up on a pillow, so I had one of my training partners hold out a mitt so I could squeeze in a few more lead reverse back elbows. Again my trainers told me to forget that move. I figured I had no other choice but to prove them wrong, so two minutes into my fight with Frykland, I stepped toward him, threw a lead reverse back elbow at his chiin, and knocked him out."

  • Anderson Silva Pulls a Wrestling Switch on Nate Marquardt at UFC 73
    In the Middleweight Title fight at UFC 73 between Anderson Silva and Nate Marquardt, Silva hits an MMA version of the switch that ultimately leads to his victory. Marquardt controlled most of the first round from the top position, but the fight was stood up by John McCarthy with approximately 1:30 remaining.

    It was soon afterward that Marquardt shot in on Silva's leg and a scramble for the takedown ensued. The Spider showed a great deal of creativity countering the single leg with a switch, because in amateur wrestling this technique is rarely used to counter a takedown while standing. He is rewarded because the maneuver has caught Marquardt out of position and seconds later Silva ground and pound's his way to victory. As stated earlier, Silva needed the pressure from Marquardt's takedown attempt for this move to even be possible

  • Anderson Silva's Masterful Clinch Work Beats Rich Franklin
    Anderson Silva has a wide range of standing techniques, but in this Judo Chop, we will take a look at perhaps his most devastating - the clinch.
    Today, part 1 of our 2 part series takes a look at the fundamentals of Silva's clinch game. We'll break it down using the clinch work found in the first fight with Rich Franklin from UFC 64 in October 2006 - an absolute master class in proper implementation of Silva's clinch game.

  • Anderson Silva and the Muay Thai Clinch Beat Rich Franklin Again

    In part 1, we broke down the way Silva used the Muay Thai clinch to absolute perfection in order to dominate Rich Franklin and claim the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 64. Today, we look at the rematch, one year later at UFC 77. The general consensus heading into the second fight was that Silva would surely use the clinch again, and that Franklin absolutely had to come in with a powerful clinch defense in mind. As it turned out, Silva did use the clinch, Franklin did defend, but in the end, that defense only prolonged the inevitable.

It's been a pure delight to look back at our work on Anderson Silva's technical mastery of MMA. We hope you enjoy it as well.