According to a report from Sherdog.com, #3-ranked welterweight prospect on the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, Erick Silva (12-1) will make his promotional debut against Mike Swick at UFC 134 in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Brazilian welterweight prospect Erick Silva has signed with the UFC and will make his promotional debut against Mike Swick at UFC 134.
Sherdog.com confirmed the match-up on Wednesday morning with a source close to the contest.
Silva is the current Jungle Fight welterweight champion, defeating fellow prospect Gil de Freitas and Francisco Ayon at Jungle Fight 23 in September to attain the title. We profiled the 26-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist in November, placing him in the top three of our countdown as one of the most hopeful prospects coming out of the region at 170 pounds:
Potential: Erick Silva was a prospect that we disagreed on when we ranked him against Douglas Lima. I felt he was a solid top three pick while smoogy felt Lima edged him out. In retrospect, I think it's much closer than I had ever anticipated as Silva's lethargic style at times made me think twice about placing him at #3.
In the end, Silva's more diverse skill-set gave him the edge over Lima in my mind, and his flashes of explosiveness in combination with all of the skills he possesses in winning fights should put him on Joe Silva's list. My only concern is his lack of urgency, and that is probably a plus for a fighter working his way through the ranks as Silva is currently doing under the Jungle Fight banner. Pacing is a skill that's normally learned after a bad performance, but Silva seems to have mastered it quite early. It's a big part of his success, but that doesn't change the fact that powerful wrestler could out work him over three rounds.
All of those traits don't take away from my initial feeling from watching Silva perform. While I think his pacing is a great asset, he still shows some signs of getting tired late in fights. His opponents are normally gassed out by then, and Silva takes advantage. Unfortunately, the UFC isn't going to do him any favors in that department as the welterweight division features a plethora of athletes with infinite amounts of cardio. There in lies the intrigue, and I'm interested to see Silva tested very soon. Look for him to sign with the UFC in 2011.
Swick is a great match-up on two fronts. It will test some of the deficiencies I felt were present in Silva's skill-set at the time along with providing a litmus test for Swick's current status in the division. Silva is a well-rounded fighter, possessing threatening skills on both the feet and on the ground. Swick has done well against what many fans would consider average talent in the UFC, but he has yet to make the step up into the upper-echelon of the division as he's lost to Paulo Thiago, Dan Hardy, and Yushin Okami in marquee match-ups. Silva won't be an easy return to the Octagon.