The Match Up
Erick Silva 16-5-1
Favorite finishing move: Rear Naked Choke (4)
Mike Rhodes 6-3
Favorite finishing move: TKO (3)
Silva - 360 / Rhodes + 300
3 Things You Need to Know
1. Erick Silva is officially a "failed prospect", but this isn't an indictment of his future in the UFC.
Silva was one of the only prospects I can think of who excites more in loss, than in victory. There's something very routine about his victories, no matter how impressive, while there's something dramatic about his defeats.
It sounds unfair to lambaste the guy. Which is not what I'm doing. But the potential seemed there, and like that, we know exactly who he is. Perhaps it's how look at him in the context of expectations, no matter how imagined. When he fought Jon Fitch at UFC 153, I think he impressed a lot of people in defeat. He actually had back control at one point, and displayed all the promise of someone who experienced too much, too soon, though much more was to come.
In that way Silva is like an overachieving franchise team. One season they get all the breaks. Every player is healthy, the clutch plays are constant, and the rhythm never stops. So the GM thinks he's got something brilliant on his hands, and goes out and spends to the cap, knowing the owner won't care because the money is going towards a nice championship run that will boost ticket sales. Except next season the breaks aren't coming like they used to, not every player is healthy, and the money gets spent on expensive contracts that bludgeon the team's flexibility until soon a roster that looked dynamic is actually quite rigid, and stilted.
Wait, what was I saying? Oh yea. Silva is like that. I get the impression he's aware of his varied arsenal, but doesn't think he needs all the pieces working together in tandem. There's nothing wrong with losing to Matt Brown in round 3 (even had Brown hurt for a minute), but the book on Silva has been written, published, and sold back to half price books. However, that doesn't mean he won't entertain us, or remain in the UFC.
2. Don't let the odds fool you. Not only is Rhodes better than his 0-2 UFC record indicates, but he's a better matchup than even a +175 would indicate.
To be sure, Rhodes is a 6-3 fighter. But he's also 25, and like Silva, has plenty of tools in his arsenal. There's a quiet improvement to Rhodes from fight to fight, and as long as he can keep the fight standing, he's in good position to take the fight. I thought he looked fine against the underrated Robert Whittaker.
He doesn't have a ton of experience, which is his biggest drawback. It's important to remember that he made his debut after only his 7th pro fight. That doesn't have often these days. To see him struggle is more or less expected, even if he's struggled against competition that doesn't look glamorous on paper.
3. The MMA gods have been into gruesome violence lately, so expect a Fujita vs. Thompson bloody camera moment.
Silva is a frontrunner, and will look to blitz Rhodes. Like in Rounders, sheer a sheep many times but skin him only once. Silva, like Ed Norton's enthusiastically greasy character, has never bothered to learn this lesson and frequently hopes to catch his opponent crumble in the face of activity.
This is essentially what happened in the Kim fight. He too quickly assumed that Kim would just fold, and ended up getting played like an accordion. Still, Silva's offense shouldn't be underestimated. He's got enough reasons to be confident in his finishing skills, and that's because no matter how much we criticize him for what he could be, what he is, is still dangerous.
Still, I like Rhodes to weather the storm. I think having a weapon like kicks in particular, will serve to maintain distance against a fighter who isn't patient at range.
Rhodes by Decision.