Erick Silva (13-2, 1 NC, 1-1 UFC) vs. Charlie Brenneman (15-3, 4-2 UFC)
The Matchup: It is easy to become enamored with Silva’s obvious potential after two brief Octagon appearances. In a grand total of 69 seconds, the former Jungle Fight champion has displayed dangerous striking and aggression in overwhelming Luis Ramos and Carlo Prater. Although Silva was disqualified in the latter fight for illegal blows to the back of Prater’s head at UFC 142, it is the type of loss that comes with an asterisk attached, much like Jon Jones’ disqualification defeat to Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale.
Brenneman is the kind of opponent who can drag the talented prospect into the deep waters of a fight. His most recent victory over Daniel Roberts was a clinic on what “The Spaniard” does best, as he scored multiple takedowns, repeatedly passed guard and defended against submissions en route to a unanimous decision victory. What the AMA Fight Club representative lacks in explosiveness -- he has zero finishes in six UFC bouts -- he makes up for in sheer work rate. A vintage Brenneman performance sees the former collegiate wrestler setting a relentless pace on the mat and wearing down his foe by winning scrambles and controlling positioning.
The downside to this approach is that Brenneman often lacks the element of surprise. An average standup game leaves little to fear outside of the predictable shot. If Brenneman over-pursues the takedown, he will leave himself open to a variety of attacks from Silva. In addition to his high-octane striking, “Indio” has shown a slick submission game outside of the UFC. As a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo who has trained under Team Nogueira, it is likely that Silva will be able to hold his own on the ground and sweep or reverse from his back when necessary. Also, Brenneman often seems to find himself caught in submissions, which does not bode well against someone with Silva’s pedigree.
The Pick: Brenneman does not have the standup or the ground-and-pound to threaten Silva, so his best chance at victory lies in outworking the Brazilian over a drawn-out affair. Silva’s takedown defense will be tested early and often, but look for him to catch “The Spaniard” with something significant on the way in and earn a second-round knockout.
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