In an interview with MMA Junkie, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva exclaimed that now "he is focused, there are few heavyweights in the UFC that can defeat him."
Bold words from the American Top Team representative considering the last time Silva was seen inside the Octagon, he was wiping his own blood from his face after a vicious assault from the former UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, in May that left "Bigfoot" dazed and confused with a resounding TKO loss on his record.
Motivated to put that loss behind him, Silva stated that, "I'm coming into this fight with a lot of anger from the last few situations that I've been in. But I'm very excited and motivated to get my first UFC win."
Battling the undefeated Travis "Hapa" Browne, Silva "think(s) Travis Browne is a good fighter, but I don't know if Travis is in the top 10 based off his last three opponents. But other than that, I believe that after this victory, I'll be among the top five or six heavyweights in the UFC."
Vaulting himself into the top five or six heavyweights in the UFC is a bold statement from Silva, considering outside of "Bigfoot's" defeat of Fedor Emelianenko in February 2011, the Brazilian's last significant victory inside the cage would be a split-decision victory over the aging Ricco Rodriguez in February of 2008.
If Silva does defeat Browne at UFC on FX on October 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, would he be considered a top five heavyweight? That question I will refrain from debating right now.
What I am interested in debating is whether or not "Bigfoot" can defeat "Hapa."
Both heavyweights will be relatively equal in size when they enter the Octagon. Browne is three inches taller, yet will most likely be giving up about 10 to 15 pounds of body weight.
The striking advantage is also relatively equal. Silva possesses 11 (T)KO victories, whereas Browne has amassed nine knockouts in his short career.
The difference in the stand-up game is their defense. "Bigfoot" has been challenged by athletic strikers in the past. His two most recent defeats to both Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier supports the evidence that an athletic big man who can avoid the slow, lumbering strikes of Silva can be a test for the Brazilian.
"Hapa's" Hawaiian style Muay Thai striking offense flows fluidly with his athleticism and size. Browne is light on his feet inside the Octagon and moves with the relative athleticism of a Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots or even a Haloti Nata of the Baltimore Ravens.
Browne delivers devastating strikes from all angles with all his weapons. Head kicks, punches and a variety of other strikes have provided "Hapa" with skull-rattling (T)KO stoppages in his career.
Conversely, Silva is an exacting striker who grounds himself solid into the Octagon floor and delivers slow yet pinpoint strikes.
Even though some experts have defined "Bigfoot" as agile, his ability to create striking angles and maximize his reach have been an issue in the past and will be at the forefront of his stand-up exchange against Browne.
Browne will hold the advantage in the stand-up affair, whereas Silva will have a clear advantage in the ground game.
A black belt in BJJ, "Bigfoot" has used his mastery of the submission game to transition into more dominant positions, allowing the huge Brazilian the opportunity to deliver savage ground-and-pound.
Silva's dominance on the ground was a key to his victory over the legendary Emelianenko as he continued to brutalize "The Last Emperor" with clubbing hammer fists from the mount.
Even though Silva holds the advantage in the grappling department, Browne's takedown defense is stellar, allowing absolutely zero takedowns out of seven attempts by his opponents under the UFC banner.
If "Bigfoot" wants to take this fight to the ground, his lack of athleticism and pure wrestling talent will make it difficult for the Brazilian to change planes and execute a successful power double or a trip takedown from the clinch.
When the blood is clotted and the sweat is wiped on October 5, Travis Browne will remain undefeated within the UFC picking up his most significant victory to date.
Antonio Silva may possess confidence and the fighting skills on paper; however, he is no match athletically for "Hapa," and Browne will expose Silva's weakness with athletic big men and send the Brazilian back to American Top Team with an 0-2 UFC record.