PHOENIX -- For three rounds in the UFC octagon Saturday afternoon at the US Airways Center, one of this city's favorite sons battered and bloodied his opponent.
Henry Cejudo, a 2008 gold medalist in wrestling at the Olympics,...
By Oswaldo Reyes, for The Sporting Nation
Erick Silva (17-5-0, 1 NC) has been one of Mixed Martial Art's most intriguing prospects for quite some time now. His style of fighting can be deemed as explosive, aggressive, and creative from start to finish, using unorthodox kicks and takedowns to keep the crowd on their feet and his opponents on their back.
What has plagued his bright future is the inconsistency in his performances to date, going in the pattern of win-loss-win. Now imagine where the young Brazilian would be if his results matched his talents. With his early performances featuring finishing the likes of Luis Ramos and Charlie Brenneman in the first round, he was then moved up the ranks to fight former UFC division gatekeeper Jon Fitch (who owned one of the longest win streaks in the history of the organization), where he fell short going all three rounds.
Even Silva's losses look impressive just off of his aggression, entertaining the crowd even if it means getting finished himself. Losing to Matt Brown and Dong Hyun Kim by technical knockout, this is where his gift becomes his curse. His confidence in his abilities and explosive risk-taking moves put him in vulnerable positions if he is not successful. This leads to polished fighters just waiting for him to expose himself, just to capitalize on his style.
Similar to what made Diego Sanchez such a staple in the sport of MMA, Silva fights for the fans and always is a highlight on any card.
Now Silva is reaching a place where he can be one of the warriors the sport will forever respect but never acknowledge as a champion. In order to counteract this he needs to fulfill the high expectations he had coming in after his impressive start, being held to the standard of the new wave of dominant Brazilian fighters and champions -- the likes of former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and even to former dominant UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
His journey back to MMA high esteem began this past Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Brazil, on the main card via Fox Sports 1. Silva squared off against the young up-and- coming Mike "Biggie" Rhodes (6-3), known for his well-rounded style of fighting. This fight ended up being one of the most exciting fights of the night, and ended in a quick finish by Silva, displaying his slick jiu jitsu to submit his opponent in seconds.
Will Erick Silva capitalize on this opportunity to shoot up the rankings after his win? His record suggested Saturday would be his bounce-back performance, which is always a plus when it comes to any fight fan in the world. Will the next follow the pattern or are fight fans looking at a star in the making? The momentum seems to be pointing up for the baby-faced Brazilian.