With some (increasingly rare) downtime here in the month of July, I’m working a lot on the SILVA database, and on adding SILVA scores to my lists. This means that a number of fighters are going to be added this month despite not competing. Most notable in this update, despite being retired (and therefore, no longer particularly relevant), is former UFC light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, arguably the most famous and most popular fighter in UFC history.
A full list of processed SILVA scores can be viewed here.
Here’s a list of scores included in the update:
CHUCK LIDDELL – SILVA SCORE: 32.83
This does answer an interesting question, which is “who would Chuck Liddell have been able to beat if he continued to fight?” Of course, SILVA is far from the be-all and end-all of measuring how good a fighter is, but Liddell’s still very respectable SILVA score of 32.83 reflects the fact that his losses were all to very good opponents. This score is very slightly above Rich Franklin and Keith Jardine (see below), both of whom beat Liddell during his collapse. Otherwise, some of the more notable fighters SILVA would predict Liddell to beat in the light-heavyweight division include Ryan Bader (now that Bader’s lost to Tito Ortiz), Matt Hamill, and Thiago Silva. After that, it’s slim pickings, as the vast majority of highly-ranked fighters now rate above Liddell.
Ironically, Liddell is rated directly below both Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, fighters who were Liddell’s biggest rivals during his career (and who Liddell is a combined 4-1 against).
Liddell’s highest SILVA score ever was an extremely good 49.62, achieved after his UFC 40 knockout victory over Renato “Babalu” Sobral. For most of Liddell’s career, from after his UFC 33 win over Murilo Bustamante to his UFC 76 loss to Keith Jardine, Liddell had a SILVA score of above 43; fighters with a SILVA score of 43 or higher are estimated to be “elite” fighters. Liddell dipped below this point on one occasion: following his PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
SILVA would have predicted former PRIDE middleweight (93 kg) champion Wanderlei Silva to beat Liddell at two points: following Liddell’s first loss to Jackson, and following Silva’s PRIDE 28 title defense, against Jackson as well. Following the latter fight, Wanderlei’s SILVA score would’ve been 43.29 compared to Liddell’s 43.22. At all other points of Liddell’s UFC tenure, SILVA would’ve predicted Liddell to beat the former PRIDE champion.
KEITH JARDINE – SILVA SCORE: 31.61
This is actually not bad at all for a fighter who’s 3-6-1 in his last ten fights. Just as Liddell hasn’t lost to a poor opponent, all of Jardine’s losses are to opponents who ranged from good to excellent. Additionally, SILVA still gives Jardine credit for his win against Brandon Vera (SILVA: 30.05) as well as really liking Jardine’s win against Francisco France in the Nemesis Fighting promotion. Jardine is unlikely to have much success against great opposition again, but there are still quite a few UFC fighters he could beat. The problem is that, with the possible exception of Stephan Bonnar, none of them are particularly well-known.
JAMES IRVIN – SILVA SCORE: 24.24
There are a grand total of five UFC light-heavyweights SILVA would predict Irvin to beat: Alexandre Ferreira (who’s moving to middleweight), Fabio Maldonado, Anthony Perosh, Todd Brown (who has been released by the UFC), and Tom Blackledge. Irvin’s SILVA score is more indicative of somebody competing on The Ultimate Fighter than a longtime UFC veteran.
Other SILVA scores added:
- 205 lbs: Rodney Wallace: 29.86
- 185 lbs: Josh Bryant: 30.16
- 185 lbs: John Salter: 27.44
- 185 lbs: Seth Baczynski: 26.43
- 185 lbs: Steve Steinbeiss: 25.59
- 185 lbs: James Hammortree: 20.88
- 185 lbs: Jamie Yager: -0.30 (joining James McSweeney in the negative SILVA club)
- 170 lbs: Forrest Petz: 27.51
- 170 lbs: David Mitchell: 27.44
- 170 lbs: Ben Saunders: 26.89
Other noteworthy developments
ANDERSON SILVA: 47.05 SILVA instead of 47.72
For some reason (and I don’t come close to knowing the process here), Sherdog has added two Anderson Silva fights from 1997 to his record. The paranoid side of me thinks it’s to try to make my piece on the Nine-Year Rule look bad, as it would appear to put the nine-year mark for Silva at June 25th, 2006. After that point, Silva is 13-0, which features only the entirety of his tenure in the UFC. However, when I performed the study, fighters who competed once (or multiple times on the same day), and then took a long break had their debut discounted. The hypothesis behind the study is that (mostly) continual participation in MMA, and the subsequent stresses that such participation has on the body, is what causes fighters to ultimately decline or collapse. I maintain that, for Silva, the nine-year mark should be considered to have taken place on May 27th, 2009. Since then, Silva is still 4-0, although this includes a win against 15-year veteran Vitor Belfort, and a win over Chael Sonnen in which Silva mostly got smashed.
The curiosity here is why Silva’s SILVA score (sorry if that’s confusing) would decline with two wins being added to his record. That’s the result of what I will openly admit is a flaw in the SILVA system: fighters with an excellent rAP will see their rAP decline when they face very low-level or inexperienced opponents. As both of the fights added to Silva’s record were against inexperienced opponents, his rAP has declined, and therefore, his SILVA score has declined as well.
Anderson Silva still has the highest SILVA score in the middleweight division, and would be predicted to win against any current middleweight opponent.
MAIQUEL FALCAO: SILVA score unchanged (20.28)
SILVA is completely unimpressed with Falcao’s choice in opponent for his fight at Centurion MMA 2, Julio Cesar Bilik. Bilik entered the fight at 10-6, but most of his wins were against opponents who had yet to win a professional MMA fight. The result is a Victory Score of just 49.60, well short of the 65 point cutoff necessary for Bilik to be considered a “UFC-level opponent.”
The reason Falcao’s SILVA score is so low is because of a loss to Daniel Ludtke. The Fight Level statistic, which is used to calculate SILVA for all fighters with a rAP between 10.00 and 43.00, only considers a fighter’s last ten fights. Because Ludtke is considered to be a low-level fighter, Falcao’s Fight Level is hurt badly by that loss. However, Falcao fought Ludtke exactly ten fights ago now, meaning that the next time Falcao competes, the Ludtke loss will no longer be considered by Fight Level. The result is that Falcao’s Fight Level will increase dramatically, and Falcao’s SILVA score will increase dramatically as well, unless Falcao happens to lose to a low-level opponent again.