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Giving credit to both BJJ and Bigfoot Silva after Saturday’s Strikeforce main event showing

By Zach Arnold | February 15, 2011

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Lost in all of the talk about Fedor losing for the second time in a row is the fact that he faced a bigger opponent who used better technique and more physicality to win the fight. Eddie Goldman reminds us that we should take some time and focus on the fighter who advanced into the second round of the 2011 Strikeforce HW GP tournament.

“One of the key lessons from the incredible victory of Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva over Fedor Emelianenko is: never underestimate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Yes, we’ve all seen it now. We know a triangle choke, we know an armbar, we know all these moves that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has. That doesn’t mean that you can stop its effectiveness now just because you’ve seen it. Fabricio Werdum showed that against Fedor Emelianenko. This is not a Royce Gracie vs. Dan Severn where over 90% of the people watching the show, including the announcers, never had seen a triangle (lock) before. Virtually everybody had seen it before and yet he still was effective with it. What Bigfoot Silva did in getting that takedown in the very beginning of the second round, really ducking the punch from the shorter Fedor, and Bigfoot Silva came in really with a wrestling move and dominated Fedor Emelianenko going from mount, side control, north/south, all those moves, we all have seen that before. Yet because of his speed, his timing, his technique, he was effective in them. Again, even though they were no longer the property or understood by a tiny number of people.

“I think this is a very important lesson that’s being lost in this whole discussion because as shocking as Fedor’s loss was, we also have to pay props to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and its practitioners because the two fighters that have now beaten him. Yes, he’s declining, he doesn’t seem to have the speed or explosiveness that he did a few years ago, but the two fighters that have beaten him are both primarily from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, of course, have adapted that to Mixed Martial Arts. Never underestimate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This was a set of techniques that was developed really primarily for a smaller fighter to take on a larger opponent, including of course in self-defense situations. Now you had a bigger fighter, Bigfoot, much taller, stronger, bigger, and heavier, bigger reach than Fedor and able to dominate him with that and Fedor was not able to do much from the ground at all. That’s not a criticism of his style of Sambo. That’s just a criticism of his ground work and the training that he had for this fight because, again, in the end this is Mixed Martial Arts. You use what works and you take from all styles but the tendency has been in recent years for a lot of people in MMA to discount Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Don’t count it out. It still is great and it’s still is really one of the key foundations of Mixed Martial Arts.”

As for why Fedor lost and what failed him…

“Bigfoot said his basic game plan was to take Fedor down and ground ‘n pound him, which is what he did. But he certainly made numerous attempts to finish the fight on the ground with the submissions, getting his back, getting side mount, north/south, basically doing whatever he wanted on the ground and Fedor looked pretty helpless and clueless. I suspect, rather than him being clueless although he may have looked that way, that he’s just slowing down. His body is breaking down and cannot do what he wants it to do any more, which is why he said after the fight that he would retire. We’re going to see whether that happens or not.”

Despite Fedor’s recent two losses to BJJ fighters, Eddie says that shouldn’t whitewash the career of the former PRIDE ace:

“His last two fights, he’s been dominated by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stars (Fabricio) Werdum and Bigfoot (Silva). That does not erase the fact that he was undefeated for 10 years in a sport where losses are commonplace, even for the best fighters including of course Werdum. Including of course Bigfoot Silva, and every other fighter in the Strikeforce tournament. And this is also a sport where losses are not career-killers unlike they are in boxing. Fedor’s record is unprecedented in the relatively short history of Mixed Martial Arts and because of its length and because of the caliber of fighters that he fought will be very, very difficult to duplicate. And it’s not just in the PRIDE days when he defeated Nogueira and Cro Cop and Coleman and Randleman and so many other fighters, Fujita, you can look up all those guys up. But also later. Look at his victories over Tim Sylvia that some of the marks in the media were saying that he was afraid to fight after Sylvia left UFC. Look at his victory over Arlovski. Both those guys were Top 5 heavyweights, consensus, in the world at the time they fought Fedor and they’ve never been the same since. Those were all historic victories even though, as I said, he’s obviously at age 34 starting to fade.”

“And don’t, at all, discount the great career of Fedor Emelianenko, even if he never has another fight, even if he never has another high-profile victory. He’s an all-time great, arguably the greatest Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight and fighter of all time and nothing can erase that history.”

Eddie did say on his radio show that Fedor being brought back into the SF tournament as an alternate would ruin the tournament’s legacy and that the tournament should be legitimate as opposed to pull old Japanese-style marketing tactics.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

3 Responses to “Giving credit to both BJJ and Bigfoot Silva after Saturday’s Strikeforce main event showing”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Struggled against BJJ fighters and ducked the new breed of bigger stronger elite wrestlers. Fedor’s legacy isn’t doing too good.

    It would be easier to get behind Silva if we hadn’t already seen him look human against Werdum and almost get KO’d by a LHW.

    Sengoku released Dave Herman and he signed with the UFC. Not a huge pick-up but it gives their division even more depth. Wonder why they haven’t released their lighter fighters yet.

    Either way, the MMA world is consolidating. Santiago and Herman were wasting their careers in Japan. Time to come to America and test themselves. Rankings become even less relevant as more fighters come to the UFC. As long as they all have the ability to fight each other and the best get their title shots….

    • edub says:

      Disagree on rankings:

      I think they become even more relevant, because there will be less guessing. With most of the top talent in one promotion and pretty much the rest in another it should be a lot easier to judge where fighters stand compared to on another.

      I was also wondering the same thing about their “lesser” fighters (I think that’s what you meant by lighter).

  2. A. Taveras says:

    Good points by Eddie. Hopefully Fedor picks his next couple matches carefully and then sees it fit to walk away.


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