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Anderson Silva Looking to Extend an Impressive Streak at UFC 97

If Anderson Silva beats Thales Leites on Saturday night at UFC 97, he'll set a new UFC record for the most consecutive wins, with nine. But as impressive as that is, Silva's manager says there's more to it than that.

In an interview with MMA Weekly, manager Ed Soares defended Silva's most recent performance, a third-round TKO win over Patrick Cote, and pointed out that Silva's 8-0 UFC record consists of eight wins in which he stopped his opponents before the fight had even reached its halfway point.

Soares says:
"People are expecting him to come in and knock people's heads off in the first round. So now all of the sudden people are questioning who Anderson Silva is, because he went to the third round? It's a five-round fight. He hasn't even went half the fight in the UFC. Not even half the time allowed,"
That's a good point. Since losing by disqualification to Yushin Okami for an illegal kick, Silva has won nine straight fights, the last eight in the UFC, and finished all of his opponents less than halfway through the scheduled time of the fight. How many fighters can say that?

There are plenty of fighters with longer winning streaks than Silva (Miguel Torres and Lyoto Machida come to mind), but most of them have some decision victories mixed into those long streaks. Silva doesn't. He finishes opponents, and finishes them quickly.

Even Fedor Emelianenko, who almost always finishes his opponents quickly, has a shorter streak of finishing his fights in the first half of the allotted time. Emelianenko's streak is at seven straight fights; the last time he didn't finish his opponent was his unanimous decision win over Mirko Cro Cop in 2005.

When it comes to finishing opponents quickly, the most incredible streak belongs to UFC heavyweight prospect Shane Carwin, who is 11-0 and has never even gone past the halfway point of the first round. But most of those wins were in small-time shows, and with the exception of his most recent win, over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96, Carwin hasn't been fighting the kinds of high-quality opponents that Silva has.

I tend to view Fedor, and not Silva, as the most dominant fighter in MMA. But Silva has a truly amazing streak going, and it's a streak I think he'll extend on Saturday.