At the risk of sounding like a mark, I’ve planned a vacation around UFC 79 in December because like a lot of other people out there, I’ve been waiting to see Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva for five years now.
I’m not actually rooting for one fighter over the other as I’m just rooting for a good fight. I’ve been a fan of both for so long now and seeing two icons in the cage together throwing down against each other is going to be surreal to me irrespective of the fact that both are coming off consecutive losses.
While I’m not rooting for one fighter over the other, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a prediction. In my mind, I have little doubt that Wanderlei Silva is going to give Chuck his third consecutive loss and really put Liddell’s career at a crossroads.
Liddell has utilized his excellent takedown defense to allow him to dominate wrestlers and top Jiu-Jitsu players but has struggled against strong strikers such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Keith Jardine. I can’t help but wonder if Liddell would have had as dominant of a run as the UFC light heavyweight champion if there had been more top strikers in the UFC at 205 lbs.?
Silva has a style that just does not mesh well with Chuck’s and while it’s a fight I believe Liddell can win, it’s a fight I don’t think he will win. I envision the two exchanging bombs in the center of the Octagon with Chuck hitting the canvas and Silva looking down at him.
One other thing to consider is the tactical element.
Anyone who reads this site knows that I wasn’t crazy about Liddell’s gameplan during his loss to Jardine at UFC 76. Liddell’s trainer, John Hackleman, took issue with my critique but it isn’t like I was the only one who felt that Liddell’s strategy was lacking.
He better have a tight gameplan for Wanderlei because Silva apparently has been spending some time recently at Xtreme Couture as he prepares for UFC 79. ProElite.com interviewed fighters from Xtreme Couture to get their reaction to Randy Couture’s comments at his press conference on Thursday and one of the fighters interviewed was none other than Silva.
Silva spent time at Xtreme Couture in August and there were rumors at the time that he would joining Couture’s camp as an instructor. That never happened and Silva initially called Florida home upon moving from Brazil to the U.S. He split from Florida not soon after he moved and now calls Vegas home. I couldn’t tell you whether Silva is a full-time member with Xtreme Couture but it’s no secret that he continues to train there. I find it interesting that he’s working with a fighter in Randy Couture who has fought Liddell on three occasions. What kind of knowledge do you think Randy is passing onto Wanderlei?
It wouldn’t surprise me if Couture is giving Silva a lot of time and attention as I can’t help but feel that Couture has a vested interest in Liddell losing. I think it goes without saying that Couture isn’t too happy with the UFC right now and we all know that Dana White considers Liddell his closest friend in the fight game.
According to White, Couture is the second highest paid fighter in the UFC with Liddell ranking ahead of him. If Liddell loses his third straight fight don’t you think Randy might be able to make a strong case that he deserves to be paid more than Liddell?
Not only does a loss by Liddell improve Randy’s market value, but it could be a way for Couture to enact a measure of revenge against Dana.
You can’t tell me that Couture won’t benefit by Liddell losing to Silva at UFC 79.