Even on his own home turf, Erick "Indio" Silva can pass the test that Jon Fitch will present, as the former Purdue Boilermaker steps into Silva's yard at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro.
Silva answered questions concerning his game when Charlie Brenneman tested him at UFC on FX 3. In the process, Silva bumped his official UFC run to 2-1, and earned his first fight bonus in three UFC appearances with a first-round submission win by rear-naked choke over Brenneman. The submission win over Brenneman impressed enough for UFC president Dana White to announce Silva as the "Submission of The Night" winner.
Now, nobody questions what Fitch will aim to accomplish. He catches heat because he talks about making fighters feel like they just went through a meat grinder, but he just ends up outwrestling them. Of course, he will want to do the same against Silva on Silva's home turf, considering he provides a huge step up for the young Brazilian prospect.
The only problem, however, is that he's traveling to Brazil to spoil the homecoming of a Brazilian.
If we only learned one thing from any of the UFC's past three outings in Brazil, we should have learned that while other fighters may turn it up to 11 in their own hometown, Brazilians opt to turn it up to something higher than that. Nobody likes facing defeat at home, but Brazilian MMA fighters truly despise losing in their own home country, especially to non-Brazilians.
Silva is no exception to this, despite owning an early career loss by unanimous decision and a no-contest to his namesake. One need look no further than his past performances in order to understand how the energy of his countrymen seems to bring out the best in him. In addition to this, the kid is a growing phenom with tremendous potential—as he has shown in his past three outings—which could elevate him to the status of becoming Brazil's top welterweight.
Obviously, we must see what he does against Fitch and the rest of the division's upper echelon before Silva can confirm in our minds that he will rise to that level, but if what we've seen from him proved anything so far, the kid known as "Indio" has the best shot out of anyone to achieve that status, starting with Fitch on Oct. 13.
My suggestion: don't blink this time. This one could end before anyone ever realizes it, and the end result could deliver yet another "W" for one of the sport's finest young fighters on the rise.