One intriguing bout on the bill this Saturday, October 13, when the UFC hits the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, is a welterweight tilt between Jon Fitch and Erick Silva.
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While Silva opened as an underdog in this bout, the pendulum swung in his direction as he now sits as a -135 favorite coming into the biggest test of his career hitherto. “Indio” has looked unstoppable inside the octagon thus far, despite a disqualification loss to Carlo Prater, which can be chalked up to poor refereeing on the part of Mario Yamasaki. The Team Nogueira product has left all of opposition looking utterly inept thus far in performances that can only be described as predatory. No man who has ventured to step into the octagon with Silva has made it out of the first round.
Standing opposite to the Brazilian dynamo is the gritty, long-tenured Jon Fitch, who now finds himself an underdog at +105. The AKA product has tasted defeat only twice in 16 promotional outings, with losses to welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre and most recently the surging Johny Hendricks. While the wrestler from Indiana has never been known for his exciting style, he is the epitome of a grinder and one of the most consistent fighters inside the UFC.
It’s hard to determine whether the line swayed due to hype that Silva has built around himself, or if Jon Fitch’s recent twelve-second knockout loss caused his stock to plummet. Irregardless of reasoning, there are two key past fights to look at when matching the two; Fitch’s most recent win over Thiago Alves and Silva’s recent victory over Charlie Brenneman.
While Silva and Thiago Alves share many similarities, “Indio” is much more aggressive and slightly more dynamic. Yet, while Fitch was able to control and positionally dominate Alves with ease, Brenneman, a better pure wrestler than Fitch, was unable to put together any sustained offense against Silva, despite chaining takedown attempts.
Despite the match-up, the fact remains that if anyone can be the man to defeat Erick Silva, it is certainly Jon Fitch. However, it’s hard not to go with the favorite in this bout. In a fifteen-minute fight, the most rational choice would be the more dynamic fighter with a clearer path to victory, which in this case is the Brazilian.