The Mountain and Beyond: Silva vs. Belfort
In The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi writes:
"Always take the broader view of the entire situation both when you are in a fight and when you are not. Do not concentrate on details. Keep only one thing in mind: that the thing is to beat the enemy. In this way, your spirit will continue to grow, and you will always be conscious of your surroundings and the situations that appear. Concentrating on one cart when you are crossing the avenue means that you leave yourself open to another cart hitting you from the other side because you were concentrating on the details and not the entire situation. The same applies to fighting. ... If you concentrate on the eyes, he can easily fool you into thinking one thing while he does another. Always look to the mountain and beyond. This way you will be aware of the broader picture and can easily win if you have the resolve to do so."
This passage reminds me of the 2011 fight between then-UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva vs. challenger Vitor Belfort:
Belfort engages Silva. Rather than standing on the outside, away from all possible strikes from Silva, Belfort stands within proximity.
Belfort is waiting to charge in, either with punches or a takedown. This range is dangerous because it brings Belfort within Silva's kicking reach. It's mongoose vs. cobra.
Silva lowers his guard and looks at Belfort's legs, inviting Belfort to charge.
Belfort hesitates, knowing he's being baited. In his previous attempt to break through Silva's guard, he was met with a check hook.
Belfort looks to Silva's eyes for clues. Belfort believes Silva will kick his lead leg. Assuming he knows what Silva is about to do, Belfort readies to block the kick and possibly catch it for a takedown. But Belfort is also a veteran and knows looking down could be a setup for a head kick. Look low, kick high. Silva's sidelong stance would make a roundhouse kick to the head easy to spot. Belfort's head is also nearly out of range for a head kick. He would only need to lean away to avoid it.
But it was Silva who first noticed Belfort's gaze. Seeing that Belfort was looking at his eyes, Silva changed his gaze to Belfort's legs.
Silva throws his kick. Belfort lifts his lead leg and leans back, reaching to grab Silva's kick. Silva knowing Belfort is anticipating a circular movement coming from the side, throws a dead-center front kick. There would be no defense.
Your longest reach is a straight line. A roundhouse kick that comes from the side would take too long to arrive and lose too much reach, either missing or grazing with the toes. Or, at worst, being countered. However, a front kick right down an unoccupied lane would meet full force with Belfort's chin.
Vitor Belfort crumbles to the ground at 3:25 of the first round. Belfort thought he was a move ahead when he was only climbing into "The Spider's" web. He was thinking punch or takedown—the first steps—while Silva was thinking of the whole mountain.
Game, set, match.