Despite overwhelming Carlo Prater with punches in the first 30 seconds of the fight, Erick Silva suffered his first loss in more than five years the last time he stepped into the Octagon. In a controversial decision made by referee Mario Yamasaki, Silva was disqualified and handed a loss for what were deemed to be punches to the back of Prater's head.
On Friday, Silva will attempt to get back on track with a win over tough and seasoned veteran Charlie Brenneman, who is currently trying to put together another winning streak after having his last one stopped by Anthony Johnson, a much larger opponent.
In a bout that will be pivotal in the progression of both fighters' hopes of becoming welterweight contenders, let's take a look at whether Silva or Brenneman has a better chance of walking away with the victory.
In his first two UFC appearances, Erick Silva's striking looked excellent. Though he has only earned three knockout wins in his career, Silva has not shown any weakness on his feet, whereas Charlie Brenneman has always appeared most vulnerable when standing.
Brenneman's only knockout losses came against dangerous strikers like Johnny Hendricks and Anthony Johnson—but he has shown far more holes in his stand-up game than has Silva. It's no secret that "The Spaniard" will be looking to use his wrestling background in this fight to avoid striking with his Brazilian opponent.
With outstanding hand speed, Silva has the ability to exploit the holes in Brenneman's striking defense and finish this fight quickly—if he can keep it standing.
A jiu-jitsu black belt under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Erick Silva may be even more talented than Charlie Brenneman on the ground, but he hasn't proven it inside the cage. Both of Silva's first two Octagon appearances ended in less than one minute, leaving him without much time to show off his grappling.
Brenneman, on the other hand, has already shown that he could be one of the better wrestlers in the welterweight division. Less than one year ago, Brenneman mounted one of the most memorable upsets in recent MMA history by coming in on less than one day's notice and out-wrestling Rick Story.
In his fight with Story, Brenneman scored five takedowns—more takedowns than any UFC opponent other than Johnny Hendricks has been able to earn against Story. Brenneman was also able to out-wrestle NCAA champion wrestler Hendricks with two takedowns prior to being knocked out in August 2010.
If Charlie Brenneman is able to take this fight to the ground, he still won't be safe against a submission specialist waiting to be released in UFC competition. Though he hasn't had the chance to show off his submissions inside the Octagon, Silva has won more than half of his fights via submission—and he's a jiu-jitsu black belt.
"The Spaniard" has never been submitted in his MMA career, but he has also probably never dealt with a grappler like Silva. Brenneman's best chance of stopping Silva will be to take this fight to the ground. He'll be in danger of being finished, whether standing or on his feet.
Though he is the much more proven welterweight, Charlie Brenneman has little pressure on his shoulders heading into this fight. All eyes are on the rising Erick Silva, who could become a 170-pound contender in the near future.
With six UFC fights under his belt, Brenneman is also more experienced at the highest level, whereas Silva's first two UFC bouts came against lower-tier welterweights. Though Brenneman might not be considered a serious contender in the division, this is a big step up in competition for Silva.
The safe money in this fight might be on Charlie Brenneman, who is a more proven fighter than Erick Silva. However, despite his lack of experience against opponents at Brenneman's level, Silva appears to be the more well-rounded fighter and capable of finishing Brenneman from any position.
Much like he has in his recent fights, look for Silva to head for an early finish by rushing Brenneman and not allowing the wrestler a chance to set up a quick takedown attempt. This is a tough matchup to predict, but, stylistically, this fight favors Silva.
On Friday, Silva will most likely have a breakthrough win and should put himself in position for a bout against a welterweight contender later in the year.
Silva defeats Brenneman by technical knockout (punches) in the first round.