UFC 108: Thiago Silva Has the Most to Prove

Erik FontanezCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2010

With all the focus on Rashad Evans’ feelings towards Rampage Jackson’s return, little attention is being given to the main event at UFC 108.

The biggest loser in all this has to be Thiago Silva .

The 205-pounder is slated to take on Evans this Saturday night, but no one out in MMA-land really cares. With all the disappointment created by injuries and withdrawals leading into UFC 108, Silva appears to the general public as a second rate replacement.

MMA fans and media have held back their typical excitement leading into fight night due to the lack of drawing power the American Top Team striker carries with him.

This type of negative hype can have a major affect on a fighter, especially for Silva.

Making it clear that he is paying no attention to it, Silva shrugs off the hype and continues to prepare for his fight with the same focus he has for any other fight…or so he says.

The mental toughness of a fighter has to be extreme in order not to be phased by something like this. A main event spot for the world’s most popular MMA promotion, and people turn their cheek to it?

Suffering his first loss just two fights ago, Silva needs a great performance to stay legitimate in the light heavyweight division. His battle will be tougher than most, since his fight with Evans is not the most popular. It's not just a fighters ability when fighting, but also their selling power.

Can Thiago Silva perform at a rate that will force fans and media to change our opinion of UFC 108? For Silva, it will take a remarkable knockout of Evans for him to gain the star power and marketability that deserves top tier recognition.

Regardless of Silva’s constant comments of not listening, he still hears what is said about UFC 108.

Going into Saturday night, Silva is already the loser.

With little support for the event itself, he fights more than a top light heavyweight. Silva is carrying the burden of selling a show to UFC faithful who have already dubbed this event as one of the most unattractive in years.

The added pressure is so enormous, it may overshadow the must-win scenario already put in place for the Brazilian.

Another loss will almost guarantee that there will be no title shot or a rematch with Lyoto Machida. While Evans is—win or lose—almost guaranteed a fight with Rampage after UFC 108, Silva’s path is more cloudy and up in the air.

Silva will have to shine brighter than anyone else in the arena or he will fall into a pool of light heavyweights that is already cluttered and over-flowing.

Up against a wall, Thiago Silva has more to prove than all of the previous UFC 108 main event possibilities that never materialized. Regardless of how insignificant fans think Saturday night will be, it remains the biggest fight Silva will ever have.