• On The Rise: Erick Silva

  • Whenever a major fight card takes place there will be movement up and down the rankings in some way, shape or form. This feature will look to reflect upon a recent fight card and analyse which of its competitors had made the biggest impact, made the biggest statement or has simply gained the most from victory.

    We will look at that particular fighters past, present position and what we can expect from them in the future, as well as comparing the outcome of their individual fight against the others on the same fight card.

    This week we will be looking at the Brazilian, Erick Silva.

    With the majority of the fights going to a decision this past weekend at UFC fight night 36, it is fair to say that given the UFC’s love of finishes, not many fighters will have seen their stock rise too much regardless of the outcome of their fight on Saturday.

    However, Erick Silva may be the exception to this rule. He needed just 52 seconds to defeat Takanori Sato by TKO.

    In doing so, Silva has positioned himself well in the welterweight division and may now be set to realise the potential that many saw in him back in 2011 when he made his UFC debut.

    His initial rise to fame was dealt a setback when the Brazilian suffered losses to Jon Fitch and Dong Hyun Kim, both of whom are no pushovers when it comes to the 170lb division. In the current light and context of the division, those losses don’t look as damaging now as they once might have.

    Given the current situation of the welterweight division it is fair to say that with another 2 or 3 wins Erick Silva may well be seen as a viable contender and the next Brazilian star.

    For his next fight, Silva may be looking to those on the periphery of the current top 10 as a means of catapulting him further up the ladder. Names such as Josh Koscheck, Rick story or even a potential rematch with Kim may be good options further down the line, subject to availability.

    What’s more, now is perhaps the best time in recent memory to go on a winning streak in the division. The exit of George’s St.Pierre, whilst weakening the star power of the division overall, has left the door wide open for the emergence of a new king.

    If you are to look at the top 15 in the Welterweight division, as ranked by the UFC’s own official ranking system, there are some names that you might not expect or could easily be displaced with a bad showing in their next fight.

    Perhaps the most dubious inclusion within the top 15 at present would be Josh Koscheck, who whilst being a former title challenger, has not won since February 2012. To rank him at #13 would seem to make a mockery of the achievements of other fighters in the division who have won on more than one occasion during that same time-frame such as Erick Silva, who has in fact won three times in that period.

    Likewise, you have fighters who although ranked are not ranked as high as might first be expected.  The best example of this might be Jake Shields who might not have the excitement factor of others within the division but nevertheless, his record reads very impressively with wins over Tyron Woodley, Martin Kampmann and Demian Maia, who is strangely still ranked above Shields despite the loss.

    As a result of these precarious rankings, we will likely see over the coming months, a lot of movement between places one right through to fifteen.  Not forgetting that in addition to the current names, there is always the possibility that a new star may emerge, ready to claim the throne left by Georges St. Pierre.

    As we have seen time and again, MMA is evolving at a rapid pace and over any two year period you can see a meteoric rise from a single fighter a la Jon Jones. In relation to the Welterweight division, one name to look out for is Brandon Thatch, who has looked devastating so far in his UFC career, stopping Justin Edwards via TKO and following it up with a submission victory over the veteran Paulo Thiago.

    Also, lets not forget Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson who is unbeaten in his career so far and is currently slated to fight Omari Akhmedov, who himself hasn’t been beaten since 2010 in just his second professional outing.  Should Nelson make it through that fight unscathed, he will no doubt be looking to follow a similar path that might be currently envisaged for Erick Silva, heading onwards and upwards towards the top ten.

    Regardless of how quick someone might rise to the top of the division, in truth it will take some time for any potential champion to vanquish the ghost of GSP, that will undoubtedly linger given he never actually lost the belt but of any of the up and comers.

    As it happens, it may well be that Silva has the right mix of aggression and skill to become a star. Additionally, there is no doubt that him being Brazilian helps his cause given the growth of the Sport over there and the void left by Anderson Silva for the time being.

    As previously stated, there was initially a lot of speculation at the tremendous potential Silva has in the Sport and whilst this took a slight hit with those losses to Fitch and Kim, at 29 it appears as though he is entering his prime and realising his athletic potential.

    About The Author – Greg Byron

    Greg started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after his brother introduced him to a local MMA fighter/coach when he was just 16 years old. Greg has trained for nearly a decade in both BJJ and MMA, competing in several grappling events within the UK. In addition to MMA, Greg possesses a law degree and works for a firm in northern part of England.

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