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ASK THE TORCH: Amadi answers reader questions on theoretical Anderson Silva-Georges St-Pierre bout and wrestlers fighting off their backs
Nov 30, 2011 - 6:45:20 PM
ASK THE TORCH: Amadi answers reader questions on theoretical Anderson Silva-Georges St-Pierre bout and wrestlers fighting off their backs
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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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Brent writes: GSP or Anderson Silva? Ok. We all know this fight will never happen. If it were to happen, in your opinion, who would win? GSP with his technical hit-and-run style, or Anderson with his accelerator down pin point accuracy?

A: While Georges St-Pierre is certainly a special athlete, I don't think he offers anything in the way of offense that Anderson Silva hasn't seen throughout his career. GSP's path to victory in this fight would be the same as every other fighter Anderson Silva has faced in the UFC; he would need to take him down, control him on the ground, and take a submission if it's there, but mostly just put rounds in the bag. No one has been able to pull this off in the UFC, and I don't think GSP gets it done either.

The fact is, no one in MMA can set up a finish quite like Anderson Silva . He's just far more cerebral in his approach than any other active fighter. Against Forrest Griffin he was able to bait him into pressing forward and made him pay for it every time. Anderson Silva was able to break Yushin Okami mentally by staying in his bread and butter position and beating him there.

He doesn't get much credit for it, but Anderson Silva is also one of the sport's most effective ground fighters. Silva is often able to frame up submissions by doing crushing damage off of his back. He set up a triangle choke against Travis Lutter with an upkick and finished the submission by throwing arching elbows across Lutter's skull. Some chalk up Silva's comeback from behind victory against Chael Sonnen to dumb luck or Sonnen's porous submission defense, but the truth is that Sonnen was initially out of position for any submission. It was Anderson Silva reeling him into position with a perfectly placed right hand off his back that led to the triangle choke finish.

My breakdown may sound like it, but I don't expect a fight between St-Pierre and Silva to be some sort of one-sided domination in favor of "The Spider." On the contrary, I fully expect GSP do well on the feet, get takedowns and win rounds for as long as the fight lasts. However, I do think that Silva is the more dynamic fighter and would likely catch St-Pierre at some point in a five round fight, should the two ever meet. Silva just poses too many problems for GSP for me to be confident in his victory.
 
Matt writes: Help me out here.  Every time I watch an MMA fight involving a person with a wrestling background, the announcer always says "wrestlers aren't comfortable fighting on their backs."  Isn't that what wrestlers do all the time, though?  Roll around on the mat and try to get back up, off their back?

A: You can usually tell how long announcers have been calling the sport by the amount of stereotyped and trite ideas they can foist onto a listening audience in a single broadcast.

"Wrestlers don't like to be on their backs" was a popular phrase back in the days where guys were only really skilled in one facet of the game. At this point, it isn't really fair to single out wrestlers when the truth is that most of the guards being played in MMA suck.

However, back to your point, you have to remember that the comment isn't about wrestlers getting off their back, it's about what wrestlers tend to do once they're forced to fight there (which is usually nothing). This is part of the reason why Georges St-Pierre is so successful against wrestlers. Because GSP can put a wrestler onto his back and keep him there, he's able to exploit the fact that their skills in that area just aren't up to snuff.

It takes lots of time and drilling to develop really sophisticated skills off your back. If you look at a fighter like George Sotiropoulos, he can sweep, he can submit and if nothing else he can break down a fighter's posture and defend himself from mission control. The downside to being that type of fighter is that generally, if your ground skills are that slick, your takedowns are probably flimsy and your striking may not be all that great.

We may never see a fighter who's truly great in every aspect of the sport; time just doesn't allow for it. An athlete who's spent his whole life wrestling isn't going to be on the level of someone who's put in countless hours working on their striking or their jiu-jitsu.

As Eddie Bravo articulated on a recent edition of Joe Rogan's podcast (of which I'm a fan), most fighters tend to roll (or in other words spar) when it comes to jiu-jitsu, rather than drill techniques like they do with every other discipline. Part of it is due to time constraints and part of it is because rolling is too damn fun.
 
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi. You've got questions and I'm willing to pretend I have answers.


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