EDITORIAL | Fights That Educated Fans #1
Sometimes during the course of an MMA bout you might actually learn something. There are times that a fight contains something special, unique to the styles competing inside the Octagon. When the bout is over you might even feel a little smarter for watching it and have a new word in your UFC vocabulary. They are unforgettable moments that are hard to forget.
Here is the first of 5 fights that opened the eyes of the casual fan to an aspect of the fight game.
Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva – UFC 64 – “The Clinch”
Coming in to this fight most thought Rich Franklin was the number one middleweight on the face of the earth. He was the UFC Middleweight Champion and was as dominant a fighter as there was at that time.
Enter Anderson Silva, a guy who demolished Chris Leben and did so quickly. Rich had been nursing a serious injury to his hand suffered in the David Loiseau fight, and watched the fight from the sidelines. Joe Rogan stated he thought Franklin saw what happened and “ran to the gym”.
When Franklin fought Silva, Rich’s ring rust coupled with Silva’s incredible striking skills spelled disaster for the Cincinnati native. Silva wrapped both of his hands around the back of Franklin’s neck, pulled his elbows in tight, and blasted Rich with knees. The result was a first round KO for Silva and the last time Rich Franklin has worn a belt to the ring.
A demonstration of the clinch technique from Anderson Silva himself:
After that fight, forums lit up with lengthy threads about the clinch technique and why Franklin couldn’t break – as one moronic poster said on a forum that rhymes with HimHimHay Geekly – “such an easy move”. Two things, Anderson Silva, and years of practice.
The move was such a hot topic that there were posts called simply “The clinch” or “Clench” depending on the level of spelling prowess of the poster. They would debate on why it was so hard to get out of, and why Silva used it so effectively. The bottom line was that they were talking about it, and inadvertently Anderson Silva educated MMA fans.