JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil -- Erick Silva needed only one round to earn all of his three wins in the UFC, but has dramatically changed his style for his next fight inside the Octagon.
Silva quickly stopped Luis Ramos, Charlie Brenneman and Jason High inside the Octagon, and you can make the case he did the same to Carlo Prater at UFC 142, although he was controversially disqualified. But now, he wants to take his opponent to deep waters before going for the finish.
"I’m more mature now," Silva told MMAFighting.com. "Some people will be surprised with the way I’m going to fight because they’re used to see me always aggressive since the start, but I’ll be more patient and cautious now.
"That doesn’t mean I won’t be aggressive and explosive, though," he continued. "I’ll use it in the right time. When I find an opening, I’ll use it. I’ll hurt him before I explode. Getting there planning to finish the fight as soon as possible has a good side and a bad side, so fighting smarter gives me more chances to hurt my opponent without exposing myself too much."
Silva entered the UFC in 2011 and quickly became one of the hottest prospects in the welterweight division, but an official UFC record of 3-3 isn’t what some expected from him. He feels he’s ready to become one of the best with the lessons learned against Jon Fitch and Dong Hyun Kim, though.
"That’s a problem I had, but I don’t have this anymore," he said. "I’ve been training (wrestling) a lot since the Fitch fight. After that I fought High and Kim, two good wrestlers. I submitted High quickly and Kim knocked me out, but I was stopping all of his takedowns. I was doing great. Kim used to take everybody down and he couldn’t do that to me, and that shows that my takedown defense is getting better.
"I just needed the experience, so I don’t need anything now. We fixed everything that we needed to fix so I’m super excited, motivated and relaxed for this fight. I’m anxious to get out of the Octagon with the win."
Initially expected to meet Nate Loughran at UFN 36, Silva didn’t change much of his training when he was replaced by Sato due to an injury.
"Didn’t bother me at all," he said of the change. "At least I had a month to adjust what I had to. And I didn’t change much, actually, because they are both southpaws, so I just changed a little bit my strategy. This is the third southpaw grappler that I’m fighting, so I feel like I trained for him for over a year."