(Video courtesy YouTube/ARK1988LAB)
You would think that if one were to interview 15 MMA experts, at least one would have a differing opinion than the rest.
Although a few of the 15 Brazilian experts Tatame recently asked about their predictions for the fight added the disclaimers that, "anything could happen" and that "Vitor is a tough opponent," not one of them chose "The Phenom" to win the bout, even with his recent revelation that Jesus will be his cornerman for the fight.
Check out the 15 ways the 15 experts think Silva is going to beat Belfort after the jump.
“Technically speaking, not only for his experience on the many fight he’s been doing, the hard times he’s been through and then switched it in his favor, Anderson would be the winner. But Vitor is a very talented guy, has fast hands again, but didn’t fight much, if you compare him to Anderson, who lately has been fought a lot. Vitor is extremely talented with his hands and he’s the guy who’s more likely to find Anderson on the other side of his punches. It’s a fight that promises to occur with both fighters standing, I don’t believe it’ll go to the ground. For what they’ve been showing, Anderson has an advantage”
“I think it’ll be a really tough fight, decided by a slightest detail while they’re standing. I believe that, because of the long time Vitor was of, Anderson has an advantage on that… And only on that. I think that technically they are equivalent and that this fight will be decided by a detail. Anderson is more versatile, has more weapons, but Vitor has a pretty sharp Boxing too, with less amount of coups, but with a great he also has great level too and is has knockout power. Vitor has one vantage: he can knock you down, he’s dangerous. I bet on Anderson exactly because Vitor is coming from an injury and hasn’t fight for a long time now”
Zé Mário Sperry:
“I see they studying each other, both being super cautious on the beginning. I believe that Anderson has a vantage for being more active. However, Vitor has fast hands and is very strong. I believe that his time off the rings might put Vitor in danger, and that’s why I’d point a certain vantage in Anderson’s favor”
“It’ll be a great fight because it’s about two complete and much experienced athletes, I actually was there in many moments, in the past, when both fighters trained together at X-Gym, in Rio. I believe it’ll be a fight where the two of them will be tactic and aggressive at the same time. Anderson has an advantage because he’s coming from Muay Thai and has a bigger reach and variety of coups. I’d bet all my cards on Anderson. It’ll be a tough fight because Vitor is more mature and on a good moment now, but I believe on a champion’s experience”
“They’re two top Brazilian athletes, they’re proving that they still in the market, but we’re living on Anderson Silva’s era. He’s maintaining the domain of the weight division, not only on his own division, but on the heavier division too. Even if Vitor has the best Boxing of MMA, Anderson has more resources and tools to block his game. I think Anderson will win, but it’ll be a super fight. Vitor is a tough guy, an excellent boxer, but Anderson has been proving to be ‘the’guy”
“Unlike what many think, I believe that it won’t be a quick fight. I believe both athletes will enter the octagon pretty focused with their strategic plans, with Anderson worrying more about the exchange and working on the long distance moving to the short distance. On Vitor’s side, I believe he’ll try to explore all areas, exchanging and privileging his hands more, and I always believe that there’s a possibility that he tries to take the fight to the ground, so he score some points by his takedowns, since standing I believe it’ll be harder for him. I believe that Anderson has a vantage for having more weapons while standing up, but Vitor is a good counter attacker and, since he moves a lot, he also knows how to get closer and then back up and, despite not using much kicks and knees, he’s dangerous on the medium, going to the short distance, where he can use his Boxing skills. I bet on Anderson, but I cheer for Vitor (laughs). I think Anderson has an advantage for his rhythm, and he’s the favorite to win by knockout or points”
“It’ll be a very technical fight since both are left handed. Vitor has an action zone where he can more pretty fast, but Anderson is more versatile, has some unique tools. It’ll all depend on the beginning of the fight. If Vitor finds a way out and start liking it, it’ll be dangerous for Anderson, but if he does one thing wrong on the first round, he’ll get in a huge trouble because Anderson will impose his rhythm towards Vitor and that, for sure, may lead Anderson to a win, and it can be a knockout. I’d say that for this confrontation Anderson is more likely to win than VItor. Anyone who makes a mistake up there will put himself in big trouble”
“Both are very technical, they have a good game while standing and are explosives. It’ll be a great fight, especially because they have this rivalry. When it comes to advantages, it’ll be a tight fight. Whoever gets tired first will lose, the conditioning will define the champion. Anderson has heart. It’s unpredictable (laughs). Both fighters have heavy hands, Vitor is much talented, and I don’t need to talk about Anderson here”
“The psychological war may be the thing that defines this combat. The one who manages to prepare his mind wiser, with all the anxiety and the pre-fight tension… Technically, Anderson has a slightly advantage because of where he currently is. Anderson is the most adapted fighter of the weight class, is a mark breaker on UFC. Vitor hasn’t fought on this division yet, since his last fight was on a different division, when he fought Rich Franklin. Anderson is more qualified for being in a good physical and technical moment, he’s much more mature as an athlete now.
But, on a bout between two giants of MMA, it’s hard to predict anything. Vitor is fast and need to be closer to Anderson to use his Boxing skills. It’s a great fight to watch, but it’s hard to predict. The one that doesn’t make a mistake will win”
“I think it’ll be a great fight. Vitor is a great fighter, one of the most talented guys I’ve ever trained with, and Anderson is on a good phase, but coming from an injury. I think Anderson is more skilled, but Vitor can hit you hard. I believe that Anderson won’t stop in front of Vitor, he’ll move a lot, he is capable of doing good round in the end of the fight, because I believe Vitor might perform better on the initial rounds. The long fight is better for Anderson, since he proved he can handle it… He has the mind of a champion, and he handle it”
“I believe it’ll be a tough one in both of them. Anderson has an advantage for being the champion, he’s more used to being there. Vitor has fought a lot, but I still think Anderson will take this one home. Anderson is more complete as an athlete. I’m not saying that Vitor ain’t, but today Anderson is more prepared for this fight. Each fight is different, so I think it’s 50-50, but I’d bet on Anderson”
“They have different characteristics. Both guys are strikers, they like to trade punches, but Anderson Silva likes to kick and Vitor prefers to punch. It’s unpredictable. Anderson has been fighting more than Belfort, that’s the truth. He’s got the rhythm, hás been fighting a lot, and Vitor is off for a while, but it’s complicates. There no super favorite for this fight. If Anderson Silva fights for real, with no jokes, he has skills that please me more”
“We have on one side Vitor Belfort, who’s an explosiva guy who likes to counterattack as much as he enjoys attacking, and on the other we’ve got Anderson Silva, who is going through a great phase, moves in an incredible way while in the ring, proved that he can submit you while he’s in trouble… It’s hard. Vitor is an explosive athlete, but it’s hard to find Anderson because he also moves a lot. I see Anderson having an advantage on that one”
“I think that Anderson Silva will win this for his experience, for the knowledge he has. He proved many times, in many different situations, that the place that Vitor wants to fulfill is his. The beginning of the fight will depend a lot on their minds. The exchange demands a lot of your psychological state and, of course that, on that point, I believe that Anderson Silva is stronger than Vitor Belfort, not only for his personality as a fighter, but for the way he trains, for the experience he has, for the things he has shown and proven”
“Let’s see IF they won’t get hurt or any other thing happens before that bout indeed happens (laughs). I believe that Vitor is a Ferrari. He’s a complete guy, an excellent athlete, but it depends on the driver. Lately his behavior hás been good, I mean before he got injured and stopped fighting, really good actually. But he hasn’t confronted a skilled guy like Anderson, so let’s see what he’ll bring for this opponent. I don’t think it’s the smartest thing in the world fighting, for the belt, with the best guy in the whole world after staying off for so long, especially when you’re coming off a surgery. There’re things that aren’t on Vitor’s side. Anderson, on the other hand, is the champion, has proven that he won’t give anyone a good time, he’s a guy that knows that octagon like few does and he knows how to behave in there. I believe that Vitor is better than Sonne, but each fight is different. The only thing that can disturb Anderson is the fact that he’s tired, he’s lacking motivation and stimulus to train hard. It can seem easy, but to be the champion for all this time with all the pressure he handles it, and doing the fights he did, Demian Maia’s fight made him exhausted. Vitor is motivated for winning the belt, becoming the champion of the division, beating a guy that has been there for a long time. Anderson has to create some motivation for himself. I hope he manages to find some motivation, don’t take it personally, don’t make the mistake that he did on Demian’s fight. Even winning, it was bad for his image. I hope he can use that weapon and understand that it’s just part of the selling of the event”
It’s somewhat surprising that some of the contributors pointed out that Belfort is a better, more well rounded fighter than Chael Sonnen, who was less than two minutes from beating Silva for the first time since 2006, yet still didn’t budge in their view that Silva will beat his fellow Brazilian at UFC 126 next month. Belfort, who has fought the majority of his career at heavyweight and light heavyweight and still has the power in his hands that he exhibited at those weight classes holds a distinct advantage over Sonnen in the knockout department, which should make Silva nervous, considering he was dropped on more than one occasion by the Team Quest fighter in their UFC 117 bout.
On paper, both fighters have very similar skill sets.
Each man holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but both prefer to rely on their strong stand-up to win fights. Belfort, who has competed in professional boxing in Brazil and has trained extensively in karate and kickboxing doesn’t throw many kicks, preferring to use his hands to inflict damage on his opponents (see Terry Martin, Matt Lindland and Rich Franklin). As he demonstrated in his first-round drubbing of Chris Leben in his UFC debut, Silva has power in his hands, but it’s his kicks and knees that have proven to be his greatest weapon.
It’s unlikely that the fight will end on the ground, unless it’s by TKO, but considering Silva’s abhorrence for knocking out Brazilians, it’s likely that IF he beats Vitor, it will be via
bizarre boring cautious decision, similar to his recent bouts against Demian Maia and Thales Leites.