Thiago Silva. His nickname is unstoppable, but he doesn't use it much because it would take away the surprise of his game.
Silva is an absolute beast at 205 lbs. Saturday night is the biggest fight of his career against a man that has great defense, great counter-punching, and world class BJJ in Lyoto Machida. This is the ultimate test for Silva, but one that he should pass with relative ease if he is to contend for the long run in the light heavyweight division.
However, don't think for one moment that Silva is overlooking the hardest opponent of his career. His unblemished 13-0 record, against what is considered a weak history of opponents, does not change his mental preparation. The following is a listing of ways Silva has a chance of taking out Lyoto Machida come Saturday night.
"Ground and Pound" is the basis of Thiago Silva's game. If Silva's able to take you down and mount you, the end is near. Whether it's pounding your face into submission, or taking your back for a RNC.
He'll take it either way, though he prefers hitting your face.
The key for Thiago in this match will be taking down Machida, as his defense is second-to-none in the LHW division.
Silva's straight punching, kicking, and knees are highly underrated. With his crisp punching and knee strikes against Tomasz Drwal, he was able to make him look absolutely silly in the last minute of the second round.
We (MMA fans) always talk about the precision punching of someone like Rich Franklin or Anderson Silva, yet Thiago Silva seems to land lots of punches himself. Should that not be the deciding factor of the fight, given Machida's counter-punching capabilities, but it may play an integral part of Silva's game plan.
It's no clue that Thiago Silva has taken a punch before. From Antonio Mendes' kick that sent him to the mat, to his ability to take a punch from Tatsuya Mizuno, Silva has weathered all storms thus far.
With Machida, it won't be business as usual, since he most likely will not be the aggressor against Silva, so Silva will have to take his game to him. This has caused problems for a few of Machida's former opponents (see Tito Ortiz). Thiago's normal game though is to indeed put pressure on his opponents, as he's done in almost every fight.
Silva will have to weather the Machida boredom game, while still finding a way to get the takedown.
This bout should be the coming out party for Thiago Silva. He hasn't gotten too much attention so far, due to his competition, while Machida has wins over notables BJ Penn, Sam Hoger, Rich Franklin and TIto Ortiz.
What usually isn't mentioned is the way those bouts have been won, with three of the four coming as decision wins. Silva is not a decision type of fighter, with 10 KO's, two Subs, and a mere decision.
If the bout continues to progress onward, the pace and tempo will likely favor Machida, but if Silva is able to attack as he has in his latest fights, Silva should win by GnP.