UFC 153 proved to be a learning experience for rising welterweight prospect Erick Silva.
Taking on former top contender Jon Fitch, the young Brazilian just could not stop his opponent's relentless grappling skills, losing via unanimous decision for one of the toughest losses in his MMA career.
Silva was able to land some nice shots throughout the bout, but unfortunately fell prey to Fitch's game, playing right into his strengths.
In the first round, Silva showed absolutely no regard for his opponent's skill set, throwing kicks and knees that Fitch was able to catch and turn into takedowns. The American was able to control his young opponent against the cage and on the ground, grinding away to take the energy out of Silva.
What went wrong for the Brazilian in the opening frame was that he didn't keep his distance enough. Even after landing a huge overhand right, Silva didn't follow up with strikes and instead chose to tie up with Fitch against the cage.
Silva should have kept the fight on the outside and picked Fitch apart with his striking, a notable weakness for the former contender.
In the second round, Silva was actually in control for the majority of the time, controlling Fitch's back and nearly sinking in the rear-naked choke. However, the Brazilian's gas tank started to wane and the American was able to capitalize on this and almost finished Silva with an armbar as time ran out.
The final frame proved to be a dominant round for Fitch, who's superior grappling skills really shined through. Silva was just too tired and too over-matched, unable to escape Fitch's web on the ground.
What Silva should take away from this fight is that you can never underestimate the skills of your opponent, especially against such a high-level fighter like Fitch. In order to take himself to the next level, the Brazilian has to employ better strategies that don't play into his opponents' strengths.
This fight really showed why experience is one of the most underrated intangibles in the fight game. No matter how much hype a young fighter has, a seasoned veteran who can implement his game plan will always have the advantage.