A broken leg forced Anderson Silva to stay out of action for 13 months, but the wait will finally be over on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.
During his training camp for a middleweight clash with Nick Diaz at UFC 183, Silva was hospitalized with a lower back injury, but the bout is still on. After so many injuries and complications, MMAFighting.com asked Silva’s camp what can we expect from "The Spider" in his return to the Octagon.
"I just returned from an injury, and I’m getting beat up in training [laughs]," former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante said of his sparring sessions with Silva. "He’s training hard, I’m really impressed. He’s dedicated, and he will bring this win for the team."
But how about that mental block he had from throwing kicks again?
"I wish he had this mental block because he’s kicking me a lot, and he’s kicking f---ing hard," Cavalcante said with a laugh. "He’s bigger than me, so he usually kicks me a lot in training because I like to close the distance when I’m fighting. He’s kicking hard, thank God."
"It’s unbelievable to see how he’s training today, his shape," Moreira said. "It’s going to be an amazing fight. I have no doubt he’s going to win, and it’s going to be an amazing performance.
"It’s a special card, and I’m honored to be fighting at the same card of an idol and a friend. We’re doing our training camps together, and it has been great for me."
Thirteen of Diaz’s 26 professional MMA victories came by way of knockout, but Silva’s teammates doesn’t think he will choose to stand against the former UFC 185-pound kingpin.
"Diaz is a tough guy, I’m a big fan, but I don’t think he will stand and trade with Anderson," Cavalcante said. "He will change his style, try to grapple more. Close the distance and go for the takedown. Anderson has more skills than him in the striking game.
"Nick Diaz is a brave fighter, but if he tries to avoid the stand-up fight and goes for a takedown, Anderson has a fantastic ground game," Moreira added. "He can grapple with anyone, but it’s not easy to take him down."
One of Silva’s boxing coaches, Erivan Conceicao sees Diaz as a good match-up for "The Spider’s" first fight in the Octagon after suffering that gruesome injury in 2013.
"They are both strikers, so it’s a good fight for Anderson," Conceicao said. "If (Diaz) tries to stand and trade punches with Anderson, he will get beat up. (Silva) has (better) knees, elbows, and a good boxing, so it’s a good fight for him.
"Anderson is more skilled in the boxing area. Nick Diaz is more like a brawler, Anderson has more skills."
Diaz and Silva have an unorthodox style of attacks, but Conceicao believes Diaz won’t drop his hands and ask Silva to punch him.
"Anderson won’t play his game, so I don’t think (Diaz) will do that," he said. "But if he does, Anderson will be ready to counter."
Both UFC 183 headliners enter the bout coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in years, and Cavalcante predicts a late knockout victory for the Brazilian in Las Vegas.
"I imagine a long fight," "Feijao" said. "Nick Diaz has a good cardio, but I think Anderson knocks him out in the fourth round."