No Strategy, No Problem for ‘Bigfoot’ in Kyle Bout


Antonio Silva: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com

Former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva hasn’t had time to develop a proper strategy against last-minute opponent Mike Kyle, and “Bigfoot” isn’t exactly stressing over it.

“No, the change of opponent [has not affected my mental preparation]. A fighter has to be ready for anything. [Because of the late change], now there is no strategy,” said Silva at a Friday press conference. “But if someone messed with my wife on the street, I wouldn't have strategy, either.”

Silva was supposed to face Dutch veteran Valentijn Overeem at Strikeforce “Henderson vs. Babalu II” on Dec. 4 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Five days ago, however, Overeem injured his elbow and had to withdraw from the contest, leaving Strikeforce scrambling for a last-minute replacement.

Enter Kyle, a UFC veteran and the current King of the Cage light heavyweight champion. The 30-year-old American Kickboxing Academy product is riding a four-fight win streak and holds notable victories over James Irvin, Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante.

“He's a tough guy. He’s a good striker,” said Silva of his opponent. “I’m going to do my best for this fight. I’ve been working on my striking, wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I’m going to try the whole time to knock him out.”

Though Kyle is considered to be more of a threat at light heavyweight, Silva claims that he will issue ample respect to his 11th-hour foe. Though disappointed that one of Strikeforce's more famous heavyweight contenders did not step up to take the fight, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt says that he’s now completely focused on defeating Kyle.

“Every fighter has holes in his game. I’ve observed Mike Kyle’s holes, and I plan on capitalizing on them,” said Silva. “Unfortunately, [Fabricio] Werdum and Fedor [Emelianenko] didn't come to fight, so I’m going to take Mike Kyle. [I’m approaching this fight] like he's one of the best in the world. I take him very seriously.”

The Brazilian, who also holds a black belt in judo, is fresh off a victory over onetime UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at Strikeforce's last show in St. Louis in May. Coming on the heels of a strong-but-losing effort against top contender Werdum, Silva will now look to capitalize on his recent momentum.

“The [Arlovski victory] was one of the most important fights of my career. I worked very hard for it, and I reaped the fruits of that hard work. God blessed me with that victory,” he said.

Though many intriguing matchups await the Brazilian if he manages to get by Kyle, Silva says that he's not interested in calling anyone out. When pressed regarding potential fights against budding heavyweights Lavar Johnson, Daniel Cormier and Brett Rogers, the 31-year old was dismissive.

“I’m a fighter. I train very hard for my fights. I don’t pick opponents. I will fight anybody that Strikeforce thinks is good for the show.”

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