Muay Thai is slowly becoming the most popular striking-based martial art worldwide and the growth of mixed martial arts has a lot to do with it. MMA is the fastest-growing sport on the planet, and many of the biggest stars in the sport’s history, like Anderson Silva, come from Muay Thai backgrounds.
Muay Thai Unleashed: Anderson Silva’s Most Impressive Finishes
Anderson “The Spider” Silva has been one of Muay Thai’s greatest ambassadors in mixed martial arts so let’s take a look at some of the most memorable finishes he had during his illustrious career:
1) Neo Does MMA
One of the best illustrations of how much better Anderson Silva was than his competition is his UFC 101 first-round knockout over former light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. It was crystal clear from the opening moments that Griffin was in over his head as he missed strikes wildly and was never able to find his rhythm.
Silva, on the other hand, looked like “Neo” from the popular Matrix movie. He slipped, ducked, and rolled past Griffin’s strikes with ease, just as easily as Neo weaved through bullets after realizing he was the chosen one.
The finishing sequence that brought the fight to an end couldn’t have been dreamt of by the best movie makers. Silva effortlessly slipped past Griffin’s punches as the latter pushed forward before putting him away with a single jab to the face. The punch wasn’t enough to leave Griffin unconscious, but it took his will to fight away from him.
2) Te Trong To The Face
The front kick’s sibling, the push kick, is one of the most used kicking techniques in Muay Thai, but Silva showcased why the technique should be as popular as the push kick. The stage was UFC 126 as Silva defended the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight title against Vitor Belfort.
The two had some heated exchanges heading into their title showdown and fans expected Belfort to give Silva a serious run for the money. The fight played out differently though as Silva landed one of the most perfect front kicks ever recorded. Belfort was out before his body even hit the canvas.
3) Perfect Flying Knee To The Body
Jorge Masvidal might currently get the credit for the most devastating flying knee in mixed martial arts history, but Silva held that title for a while. Most fighters aim for the head when they throw flying knees, but not the Spider.
Stephan Bonnar stepped in as a last-minute replacement to save the UFC 159 card held in Brazil. Silva had already indicated he no longer wanted to compete in the light-heavyweight division at the time, but he accepted the fight to save the card.
Silva went on to deliver one of his most memorable performances on Brazilian soil, first daring Bonnar to come and clinch with him against the cage. At the time, many felt that was Silva’s weakness since having his back pinned against the cage restricted his movement and forced him to engage inside.
Even Silva’s corner was worried about his decision to invite Bonnar to pin him against the cage, but he waved them off before proceeding to finish Bonnar off with a flying knee to the solar plexus that left him unable to continue. It was arguably the most brutal knee to the body in mixed martial arts history.
4) Muay Thai Clinch School
The Muay Thai ‘Plum’ is one of the most underrated positions in combat sports. It doesn’t look that unbreakable when two Muay Thai fighters go at it since they both know what to do in that position. You’ll need to watch a Muay Thai fighter work in the clinch against a fighter from a different striking background to appreciate how dangerous the position can be for the defender.
Anderson Silva handed out two of the most brutal Muay Thai clinch clinics in mixed martial arts history during his fights against Rich Franklin. The first took place at UFC 64 when Silva challenged Franklin for the promotions middleweight title.
Silva picked Franklin apart from range during the fight’s opening moments, and he eventually secured a clinch. Franklin clearly had no idea how to break his grip and ended up taking over a dozen knees to the face before the referee stepped in to save him. The finish was so brutal, Franklin needed serious surgery on his face to rebuild it.
The two men met again at UFC 77, and while Franklin did a better job this time around, he still ended up getting stuck in the clinch and finished with knees in the second round. Interestingly, Franklin had about a year to learn how to break the Muay Thai plum, but he barely did better during their rematch. That’s how dangerous a seasoned Muay Thai fighter’s clinch is. You don’t want to ever get stuck there.
5) Along Came A Spider
No one knew much about Chael Sonnen when he joined the UFC’s middleweight division, but he turned out to be his biggest rival, leading to two of the most memorable fights in MMA history. The first fight was all Chael Sonnen as he dominated Silva on the ground for four and a half rounds before getting caught in the spider’s web, losing via triangle choke.
The anticipation for their rematch couldn’t have been any higher as Sonnen took his trash talk to a higher level, calling out Silva and the entire nation of Brazil. Sonnen’s increased confidence was to be expected given how well he performed during his fight against Silva.
The first round of the rematch turned out to be more of the same as Sonnen took Silva down with relative ease and kept him there for most of the round. However, the momentum changed in the second round as Silva was able to successfully stuff Sonnen’s takedowns.
Silva later gave fans one of the most impressive finishes as he masterfully tripped Sonnen while he ducked under a spinning back fist. Sonnen crashed against the cage, and Silva hurt him with a knee to the chest. He followed up with some ground-and-pound until the ref pulled him away.
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