At UFC on Fuel TV 10, Thiago Silva will be entering his fight with Rafael Cavalcante as a 2:1 underdog. Oddsmakers, however, are greatly underestimating Silva’s chances in what is likely the biggest fight of the Brazilian’s career.
Cavalcante impressed the MMA world with a dominant run in the Strikeforce promotion. His striking power and submission ability made him one of the scariest light heavyweights under the Strikeforce banner.
In his most recent fight against UFC-level competition, however, Cavalcante was finished in devastating fashion by UFC and Strikeforce veteran Dan Henderson.
Similar to Henderson, Silva is also a high-level fighter who possesses extraordinary durability and striking power.
In 2007, Silva rocketed into the UFC by stopping his first four opponents. His brutal knockout of highly-touted prospect Houston Alexander at UFC 78 caught the attention of the UFC brass, and put him into the UFC 94 co-main event against Lyoto Machida.
Unfortunately for Silva, Machida ended that fight with a lightning-quick punch to a downed Silva just before the horn sounded to end the first round. To this date, it is the only time Silva has been stopped in a fight.
Since his loss to Machida, it has been a rough road for Silva. In his past five fights, he has only one official victory, mixing in two decision losses and having two wins overturned due to failed drug tests. It is a strong possibility that with a loss Saturday night, he may be cut from the promotion.
Despite his recent struggles, Silva has been competitive against some of the top light heavyweights in the world. He took both Rashad Evans and Alexander Gustafsson the distance, and found success in both fights. Other than his loss to Machida, Silva has never been in danger of being knocked out or submitted.
With the extra motivation of having his UFC career on the line, Silva’s experience, power and durability will likely be too much for Cavalcante on Saturday night.