I was disappointed when this exciting match-up originally scheduled for UFC 89 was cancelled, due to Silva sustaining a back injury resulting in a forced withdrawal. This is an intriguing battle with their contrasting yet equally effective fighting styles not to mention, one of them will no longer remain unbeaten when all is said and done.
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, a Karate black-belt age 13 is a technically adept fighter nullifying the strengths of opponents using great strategy carried out efficiently within the octagon. Machida’s elusive style is clearly not to everyone’s taste but 7 out of his 8 Decision wins are by Unanimous rather than Split Decision, underlining the undoubted success of this approach. The other 5 victories on his record include 2 Submissions and 3 by way of KO suggesting that perhaps the criticism received is a bit unwarranted. Machida clearly possesses knockout power but prefers to grind opponents down frustrating them into making errors.
The fusion of Shotokan Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Sumo provides Lyoto with an array of tactics, tailor-made for each opponent with the same intention, to throw them of their game plan. Lyoto will be hard to pin down as usual looking to catch Thiago on the counter in case he leaves himself too open. A victory could elevate Machida towards the title shot he so craves and statistically deserves, against the winner of the Griffin/Evans Light Heavyweight title bout. If this fight goes to the judges, in all probability it will be a Decision victory for “The Dragon”.
Thiago Silva formerly a Chute Box Academy fighter now training with American Top Team, possesses an all-action aggressive fight style always pushing the pace seldom giving opponents any respite. His record reflects this with 10 wins coming via KO, 2 Submission wins and only 1 contest going past the 2nd round, that to in a Unanimous Decision victory. The combination of superb striking along with a strong BJJ and Muay Thai background makes him an entertaining fighter who is a genuine threat in the Light Heavyweight division.
Being a forceful fighter perhaps makes Thiago more susceptible to getting caught by submissions, though both are BJJ black-belts and equally comfortable on the ground. In my opinion why change a winning formula, surely Silva adopting a more cautious approach simply nullifies his own strengths and hands the momentum to Machida. Thiago should stick to the tried and tested aggressive approach, despite top fighters like Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz having tried and failed to do so against Lyoto. The critical factor boils down to Thiago Silva’s cardio and whether he manages to chase down the elusive Lyoto Machida without getting caught on the counter.
My Final Verdict: If Thiago Silva wins it will be via KO, but I am leaning towards a Lyoto Machida victory by Unanimous Decision!