The Curious Case of Erick Silva

By Graham Jones
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Welterweight contender Erick Silva, who faces Matt Brown on “UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva” on May 11, is in prospect purgatory. Silva has shown that he has the raw skills to compete with the best in the world by thoroughly dominating in all of his UFC victories, but in higher profile fights, Silva just hasn’t been able to find a win.

Since his promotional entrance into the 170-pound division at UFC 134, it was abundantly clear that “Indio” Silva (16-4) operated on a different level of athleticism than his opponents.

He possess a speed advantage against just about every opponent he faces, has knockout power and is an assassin on the ground, but the talented Brazilian just hasn’t been able to put on a breakthrough performance against a highly-ranked opponent.

In his first two UFC outings, Silva dispatched countrymen Luis Ramos and Carlo Prater within the opening minute with ease, though, the Prater fight was ruled a loss due to strikes to the back of the head, and had many fans looking to him as a future top contender.

Following his DQ against Prater, Silva faced seasoned vet Charlie Brenneman, and passed the wrestling litmus test with flying colors as he stuffed Brenneman’s shots and submitted “the Spaniard” with 27 seconds left in the first round.

After going essentially 3-0 in the UFC, Silva drew former No. 1 contender Jon Fitch at UFC 153. The two put on the “Fight of the Night” performance in a bout where both fighters threatened the other with submissions, and both nearly found a finish. In the end, it was a rejuvenated Jon Fitch who walked away with the unanimous decision victory, but Silva showed he could survive past the first round.

“Indio” followed up his first true promotional loss by topping Strikeforce vet Jason High, finishing the talented grappler on the ground with an inverted-triangle.

Following another performance where he blew his opposition out of the water, Silva once again faltered in trying to take the next step up the welterweight ladder as he was viciously knocked out for the first time in his career against Don HyunStun GunKim. This is beginning to become a pattern for the once vaunted prospect, as he continued the trend of slaughtering subpar opponents by stomping out Takenori Sato in the first round of their bout in February.

Erick Silva is now slated to face the owner of one of the hottest winning streaks in the division, UFC veteran Matt Brown. After a lackluster start with the promotion, “The Immortal” has reeled off six wins in a row, and the last four have come by way of KO or T(KO). Brown represents another big leap forward in competition for Silva and could cause stylistic problems for the Brazilian.

Silva will own an athletic advantage, but Brown typically doesn’t engage in the type of fight that will lend itself to “Indio’s” explosive skill set. Brown comes forward, cuts off the cage and drags you into a war. If Silva is able to use his speed and employ lateral footwork to counter act the forward-charging Brown, he could have success tagging him as he wades in; but if Silva backpedals, then Brown will force him against the cage possibly land a night-ending shot.

Silva has a million different ways to end a fight, but Brown might not offer him the opportunity. This is truly a make or break fight for talented Erick Silva, and possibly his last chance to show he belongs at the top of the welterweight class.

Graham Jones is an MMA writer for Follow him  on   Twitter @graymatter91,    “Like” him  on   Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

You May Also Like