JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil -- Erick Silva promised to fight more smart than aggressive at UFC Fight Night 36, but needed only 52 second to finish Takenori Sato on Saturday night in Brazil.
A former Pancrase welterweight champion, Sato wasn’t able to land a single punch in Silva, who hurt him with a kick to the body early in the fight. The Brazilian stopped a takedown and connected a few punches to the side of the head, and used heel kicks to punish Sato.
"I did this heel kick in the open training on Thursday," Silva told the media after the win. "I always practice it in training and it works, but I have to be careful because it hurts. I was so confident I was able to use it in the fight."
Silva was under pressure going into this fight. Considered one of the top prospects in the welterweight division since his UFC debut, the Brazilian was 3-3 under the UFC banner, and a knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim threw him down the rankings back in October.
"The result couldn’t be better," he said. "I trained for three months for this fight, and I never trained so much in my life."
"Some people put me in a place that I never asked to, and they expected too much from me," he continued. "I know that it’s due to my style, that I explode and finish fights, but sometimes it’s not too good to fight this way. I trained a lot to control my aggressiveness, and it worked.
"I was so relaxed in there I had the patience to wait for the right moment. I connected the kick and knew he was hurt, but I was patient enough to wait for the perfect moment to finish the fight."
Very emotional after the win, Erick Silva cried during the media scrum when asked about his son Kallel Silva, whose name is printed on his mouthpiece.
"I promised to dedicate this win to my son, so this win is for him," he said in tears. "I’m training so much I don’t see him very often. He’s living in Espirito Santo now and I miss him very much."
Back to the win column, Silva doesn’t plan to call anybody out.
"I’m not worried about who is next, to be honest," he said. "I’ll just keep training hard to win again. I’ll be back stronger. I’ll fight even better than tonight."