will be a heavy underdog when he steps into the ring against Fedor Emelianenko
at the Affliction Banned show next Saturday, but he says he has a simple plan for how to win the fight.
"I don't think my game plans have ever been much of a secret," Sylvia said today on a call to promote the Affliction show. "Stand up and brawl, defend takedowns at all costs and try to knock him out."
Sylvia is a UFC veteran, and most of his fighting experience is in cages. Most of Emelianenko's experience is in rings, and I asked Sylvia whether having Affliction's fights in a ring puts him at a disadvantage.
"It's not that big of a deal at all," said Sylvia, who fought much of the early part of his career in rings. "I think I fight better in a ring. I like fighting in a ring a little bit better, just because I can transfer my weight a little bit better in a ring than in a cage, and it's easier to cut somebody off in a ring."
Sylvia said that he watched Fedor defeat Hong Man Choi
in his most recent fight but he said he doesn't think there's a lot that can be gleaned from that bout.
"I'm definitely more skilled than Hong Man Choi," Sylvia said. "He's taller than I am, he's a stand up fighter, I'm a mixed martial artist. ... The one thing we saw is that when he did take him down he pulled guard, and so we're expecting to see him do that again in this fight."
Fedor has been roundly criticized for not fighting enough high-quality opponents in recent years, and Sylvia said he thinks that makes him more prepared than Fedor for the fight.
"I definitely see that as an advantage going into this fight," Sylvia said. "I've fought top 10 opponents, top-level guys the last three years, and he's fought a couple of [average] guys."
Although Sylvia said, "I don't see any weaknesses in Fedor's game plan at all," he said that he expects to use his size and reach advantage to produce a knockout, and that if he fails, it won't be for a lack of effort in the ring: "If I don't win this fight it's going to be one of the best fights in MMA history."