Jon Fitch meets Erick Silva in a classic matchup of an aging veteran meeting a young, up and coming fighter. Fitch was once considered a consensus No. 2 welterweight, but is now fighting to save his career at UFC 153.
Silva received quite a bit of hype after entering the UFC and has passed every test that's been placed in front of him. But Fitch is an entirely different animal.
Fitch feels he is in a must-win situation and that's always dangerous going into a fight. Either Fitch is going to come out and look the best we've ever seen him or his career may continue its downward spiral if Silva can walk away with the victory.
This bout has received almost as much attention as the main event fights and I'm sure this is the 1,000,000th dissection of this fight.But these are a few things fans need to keep their eyes on during the fight.
Erick Silva has become a popular fighter for fans to project success upon recently. There's no doubt he's earned the praise as he's looked extremely impressive thus far in his UFC career.
But part of me still wonders if Silva is ready to move from heralded prospect to welterweight contender.
Jon Fitch is a tough guy for anyone to fight and will be a good barometer of where Silva ranks in the division. Fitch may also be a case of too good, too soon for Silva.
Fans are expecting a lot from Silva and at 28 years old, the time is now for the Brazilian. Beating Fitch will validate the hype for Silva and move him to the upper level of welterweights.
He's also fighting with quite a bit of pressure. Many are predicting Silva to win and become a top-level fighter, and Silva is also fighting in front of his countrymen. He's performed admirably under the spotlight thus far but none of his opponents have been anywhere near as good as Fitch.
Jon Fitch is heading into UFC 153 in a bit of a crisis. Not only is his career possibly on the line as he faces Erick Silva, but the fighter desperately is in need of a paycheck. Fitch last competed in Dec. of 2011 and prior to that it was Feb. of 2011.
That's quite a long time to go without your main source of income and Fitch has admitted it's put a strain on his personal life. It's put such a strain that Fitch has changed his opinion on excitement over winning, realizing that the most exciting fighters often times get paid the most money.
He's talked about how he's changed his game a bit to be more exciting and will have the entire MMA world watching him work out the kinks against Silva.
Some fans are worried Fitch will forgo his wrestling background and strike with Silva, but I don't believe that's the case. I believe Fitch will simply look to work more powerful strikes on the ground or work some submission attempts.
Fitch has always been a grinder in the Octagon but perhaps UFC 153 is the beginning of "Jon Fitch 2.0."
Although Jon Fitch has been rather modest about his wrestling credentials lately, he's a very good wrestler in MMA. He's arguably one of the best at controlling top position and not allowing his opponents any space to breathe or work their jiu-jitsu games.
To date Erick Silva has yet to fight off his back. He's dominated all the competition he's faced thus far but one has to believe he'll find his back on the mat at one point at UFC 153. Fitch is too good of a wrestler not to manage at least one takedown over the course of the bout.
How will Silva respond to adversity?
Fitch is great at controlling opponents while on top and high level BJJ guys like BJ Penn and Thiago Alves struggled to even move while Fitch had top control. Silva does train with the Nogueira brothers so I'm sure his ground game is solid, but rolling in the gym is a lot different than having Fitch on top of you in front of millions of viewers.