Erick Silva's last time in the octagon was a lesson, 15 minutes in learning the best in MMA wrestling from one of the best to do it, Jon Fitch. Silva almost escaped with a win that time, in a thrilling fight that ultimately went Fitch's way.
Facing a wrestler in his very next time out -- his UFC on FUEL 10 opponent Jason High was a former Division I collegiate wrestler -- Silva showed his lesson had been learned. High tried one takedown against him, and had it badly stuffed. But not only that, Silva turned his defense into offense, quickly jumping on High's back, and then hunting for submission. He went through his submission chain, first thinking choke, then armbar, then triangle, and finally back to choke, and from the back, he had High checkmated. The American tapped to the armbar at 1:11 of the first round.
"I tried to go to his back to go to the rear naked choke," Silva said through his interpreter after the fight. "I didn't manage to do it, so I went to the arm bar."
It was a slick and precise finish to a nearly perfect performance.
Silva has intrigued many in the MMA world for his mix of power striking and jiu-jitsu pedigree. If his wrestling catches up, look out welterweights.
The Brazilian is now 15-3 with 1 no contest. High (16-4) lost for the first time in three years, snapping a seven-fight win streak.