Jon Fitch may have suffered a 12-second knockout loss to Johny Hendricks last time he fought, but it's important to remember that he's still Jon Fitch.
You know, the guy that's spent the last three years patrolling the line between the the greatest welterweight fighter of all time and the rest of the world.
The guy who fought nothing but contenders the last four years and defeated most of them handily.
The guy with a 13-2-1 UFC record.
So why is it that Jon Fitch, the guy who is all of these things, is entering his UFC 153 bout with Erick Silva as an underdog?
Well, Silva is riding no small measure of hype and momentum as he preps for the October 13 showdown, having scored three impressive first round stoppages (though one led to a disqualification loss) in his first three UFC bouts.
And that should be worth something. It really should be. Just not enough to make Fitch—a guy who might be the third-best welterweight to have ever graced the Octagon—an underdog.
Silva's role as fight-favorite becomes increasingly peculiar when we consider that his most meaningful victory came against UFC washout Charlie Brenneman. Sure, every win is worth something, but again, this isn't enough to suggest he's capable of taking on Fitch, let alone that we should fully expect him to as a favorite.
To Silva's credit he has done as much as he possibly could have to this point—we can't fault him for not having beaten a top contender when he hasn't been given the chance to do so yet. And given the glimpses of brilliance he's shown on the stages he's been provided, there is no reason to believe he isn't a legitimate star in the making.
But still, that alone provides no justification for favoring Silva in a fight against a guy who stands where Silva is going.
Luckily, oddsmaking has no impact on the outcome of a bout, so Fitch will have the opportunity to rectify things in the Octagon. And he will do just that.
Silva's combination of power striking and sensational grappling ensure him a bright future with the UFC—maybe even a title down the road—but Fitch is a guy who knows precisely how to deal with what Silva brings to the table, and he knows how to neutralize Silva's tools.
How Fitch goes about doing so has not endeared him to many fight fans, but his blanketing wrestling offense has made him a mainstay in the win column for the past several years, and will get him his hand raised at UFC 153.
Silva's time will come, but his fight against Fitch will be the first roadblock he encounters as a UFC fighter. He's going to lose and be better for it in the long run, but he's going to lose all the same.
Jon Fitch wins via unanimous decision, after controlling his opponent for the better part of 15 minutes.
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