Who Can Defeat The Spider?
By Holli Yargo Hearne, Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Having decidedly destroyed nearly every competitor in the UFC middleweight division, Anderson Silva is moving up a weight class to prove he is also a top contender as a light heavyweight. The Spider, as he is called, effectively plowed through Rich Franklin in October 2006 to gain the championship belt for his weight class. After that, he has defeated every opponent in unquestionable fashion.

This Saturday, Spike TV will be televising UFC Fight Night for free and will be featuring Silva in his 205 lb debut against James ‘The Sandman’ Irvin. Irvin recently knocked out Houston Alexander at Fight Night 13 in a record 8 seconds with a single Superman punch. He has 14 wins and 4 losses on his professional record but those 4 losses were against all his toughest opponents, including Thiago Silva, Lodune Sincaid, and Stephan Bonnar.

As a middleweight, Silva gained immediate attention after knocking out the hard-headed Chris Leban with a knee. His first title defense was supposed to be against The Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Travis Lutter. Lutter, however, didn’t make weight by two pounds. The fight was kept on the February 3, 2007 UFC card as the headliner but was not a title fight. Lutter, sick from the dehydration of cutting too much weight, won the first round but submitted to a triangle choke accessorized with sharp elbows to the head in the second.

The Brazilian’s first true defense was against Nate Marquardt who was considered a real contender to beat Silva. However, with 10 seconds left in the very first round, Marquardt was dismantled with strikes for a TKO loss.

Rich Franklin returned to the cage to rematch Silva for the belt. Franklin was confident following a very decisive TKO win over Jason ’The Athlete’ McDonald. Confidence didn’t help Franklin when it became immediately apparent that this fight was looking a lot like their original fight. Franklin appeared out on his feet by the end of the first. By all accounts, the former champ shouldn’t have answered the bell for the second and the point was proven after one minute when The Spider’s strikes kept coming and the fight was stopped to prevent permanent injury to Franklin.

Silva’s most recent win was against fellow Pride alum Dan Henderson. Henderson was heavily favored to be the man to steal the belt from Silva. In fact, Henderson, a Pride titleholder in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, took the first round only to succumb to a rear naked choke early in the second.

So the question remains: Who can defeat The Spider? Changing weight classes can make or break a fighter. Does James Irvin have a chance? The popular opinion is that he will add another W to Silva’s record. But perhaps he shouldn’t be counted out so quickly. Everyone believed Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson would successfully defend his LHW title against Forrest Griffin. Experts be damned; Griffin pulled out the win and took the belt. Perhaps Irvin can be Anderson Silva’s first non-DQ loss.

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