You could look at Erick Silva‘s second UFC fight and his controversial loss – one that snapped a nine-fight win streak – and wonder how it’s hindered his UFC progress. Silva, though, said it was probably the best thing that ever happened to his career.
Silva, the explosive Brazilian welterweight who knocked out Luis Ramos in his UFC debut, then got former WEC title challenger Carlos Prater in his next bout at UFC 142 in early 2012.
Silva leveled Prater and stopped him with punches in 29 seconds, and he immediately celebrated the violent knockout win. But mere seconds later, referee Mario Yamasaki ruled Silva’s hammerfists illegal (since they landed to the back of the head, following a few warnings), and Prater was awarded the win via disqualification.
“That fight changed my career significantly,” Silva told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “No one knew me before that fight. That changed fast. When talking about UFC Rio 2, many people may not recall the card, but they remember that young man who lost by disqualification.
“In a way, something very positive came out of it. I don’t think I would change a thing about it. I trained a lot to do exactly what I did. I used my explosiveness, my aggression, and I took the fight to Prater. I wouldn’t change that. I do think the ref jumped the gun, but I feel fine about it now. It’s in the past. People ask me if I harbor any bad feelings against the ref or Carlo. I don’t. I’m at peace with it. In my eyes, I won that fight, even if that’s not what the record may say.”
Since then, Silva (14-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has earned a submission win over Charlie Brenneman, and in his most recent bout, he suffered a decision loss to former title challenger Jon Fitch in UFC 153's “Fight of the Night.” On Saturday he meets Jason High (16-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who replaced injured John Hathaway, at UFC on FUEL TV 10. Their bout is part of the FUEL TV-televised main card at Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.
It’s the 28-year-old Silva’s first fight in eight months following a leg infection and an elbow injury that scrapped a planned bout with Jay Hieron at UFC 156.
“Some things just aren’t meant to happen,” he said. “I probably would have fought anyway, but my trainer and manager helped me make the best decision by canceling. I would rather lose when I’m fully healthy than to fight sick or hurt and sound like I’m making excuses after the fact.”
Silva, who’s now based out of Rio de Janeiro and trains with Team Nogueira and X-Gym, knows a win over High, who’s riding a seven-fight win streak, would further push him up the welterweight ladder. It’d also provide a bit of redemption since High is a wrestler like Fitch, who nearly stopped Silva on several occasions in their competitive bout back in October.
“I’m sure a rematch with Fitch would go differently,” he said. “Truthfully, everything has its time. When we faced each other, he was the better man and beat me by points. Now it’s up to me to get better.
“From that fight I also learned not cut so much weight in so little time. I had never done it like that before, and I sure felt it during the fight. I don’t think talking about it is the best thing, though, since it may sound like an excuse. But I know where I went wrong and not to repeat it.”
Silva, who fights in Brazil for the fourth time in five UFC fights on Saturday, said he’s spent his recovery time doing media events and working with sponsors and the state government as an ambassador for the sport. However, he knows that winning ultimately will determine just how popular he can become in MMA, especially in his home country.
He’s taking that knowledge into Saturday’s event.
“It will be a very active fight,” he said. “I’m plan to nullify his game. I plan to keep moving, using my speed. I am quite confident on my footwork and explosiveness.”
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