MMA Ratings Podcast

November 2, 2020

UFC Vegas 12: Anderson Silva May Be Done With the UFC, But Bellator Remains A Very Real Option

By Adam Martin

Saturday night at UFC Vegas 12, UFC legend Anderson Silva stepped into the Octagon for the last time when he took on Uriah Hall in a five-round dream fight between two strikers. It's unfortunate we didn't get to see this fight earlier in Silva's career, but even at age 45, he had a respectable showing in the fight, as he was able to hang in there with Hall for three rounds. Unfortunately, the fourth round proved to be fatal to Silva, as he ended up on the wrong end of a brutal KO from the fists of Hall, smashing his nose in the process. Silva's final fight in the UFC certainly did not end the way he wanted.

This was certainly the last time we will ever see Silva in the UFC. The legend spent a good while in the Octagon weeping with Hall and sharing a special moment with his opponent, before taking one final walk around the eight-sided cage. Following the event, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Silva will no longer compete in the UFC, and went on to say that "The Spider" should never fight again. However, Silva didn't go that far. Although he said that this was his last fight in the UFC, he left open the possibility of still competing in MMA. And if Silva does indeed intend to fight again, then Bellator MMA will more than likely be his new home.

The UFC was not the right home for Silva anymore. At age 45, he was the oldest fighter on the roster, and the promotion was having a hard time finding suitable matchups for him. To be fair to Silva, he fought everyone the UFC told him to. He fought Israel Adesanya while the UFC Middleweight Champion was coming up, he fought Jared Cannonier when he was on a roll, and he fought Hall despite his opponent being far younger. If you look back at Silva's recent losing skid, he fought elite competition. Still, other than a decision win over Derek Brunson, Silva wasn't that competitive, so White decided to end their deal.

But while the UFC might not want to be in the Silva business anymore, Bellator should be very interested. Even if Silva isn't a top-15 middleweight in the UFC anymore, that doesn't mean that he can't win fights. Again, you have to keep in mind that Silva was fighting the best of the best in the UFC, and for the most part he wasn't getting blown out. There are still plenty of MMA fights that Silva can win, and there more winnable fights in Bellator than in the UFC. Although Bellator has turned over its roster recently, it's still a promotion that does have a lot of veteran big-name fighters on its roster.

If Silva did sign with Bellator, he would have the option of fighting at middleweight, at light heavyweight, and potentially even at heavyweight. And instead of fighting top contenders like Adesanya, Cannonier, and Hall, Silva could fight opponents who are similar in age to him in Bellator. It's also worth noting that Bellator matchmaker Rich Chou signed Silva years ago to fight in the Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament back when Silva fought at 170 lbs, so there's already a prior connection here. And you just know that Bellator President Scott Coker would love to talk to Silva.

Looking at potential opponents for Silva in Bellator, in the middleweight division a matchup against Gegard Mousasi could obviously be in play just due to the fact that they are both all-time greats. But truthfully, other than Mousasi, there aren't a ton of exciting matchups for Silva at 185. Taking a closer look at the roster, Silva fighting in the Bellator light heavyweight division makes more sense.

If Bellator wanted to match Silva up with someone of a similar age, then a matchup against his longtime friend, the 42-year-old Lyoto Machida, is possible at 205 lbs. Aside from Machida, there is a really exciting potential fight against Melvin Manhoef, who is 44. Silva and Manhoef are about the same age and both men are in very similar spots in their careers. Both men are fantastic kickboxers who would likely put on a very fan-friendly fight. And it's a fair fight because they are so close in age. Similarly, a matchup pitting Silva against Alessio Sakara could be fun. Sakara is 39 now, and although he is coming off of a win in his last fight, Silva could still win a matchup between the two. But if Silva really wants to have some fun, then he could always think about moving up to heavyweight.

At heavyweight, legends such as Fedor Emelianenko, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Josh Barnett all remain options. Of course, all of these fighters would have a size advantage against Silva, but "The Spider" has never shied away from a challenge in his career, as he has moved up in weight numerous times in the past. A move to heavyweight at age 45 would be bold, but it can't be completely counted out. And neither should Bellator dipping into the free-agent pool to sign a free-agent such as Dan Henderson or Tito Ortiz. These are all realistic matchups for Silva if he does indeed want to fight again.

It's not surprising that the UFC decided to get out of the Anderson Silva business, and Silva himself agreed to end his UFC contract with one fighting remaining on it, but I don't think Silva wants out of the MMA business just yet. Silva is still one of the greatest fighters of all-time, and although he lost to Uriah Hall by knockout, he did show flashes of his past form in the fight. The UFC ran out of suitable matchups for 45-year-old Silva, but there are plenty of fairer fights for him in Bellator. I do believe we will see Silva fight again, and I do believe that his new home will be the Bellator cage. Now let's wait and see when it happens.

UFC Fight Night
Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva: Uriah Hall def. Anderson Silva via TKO (punches) at 1:24 of Round 4.

UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva took place October 31, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night Analysis

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