Caldwell is a 2009 NCAA national champion and a two-time All-American wrestler, but Brazilian veteran Silva hopes to hand him his first loss in MMA at Friday’s Bellator 137 in Temecula, Calif.
"I know he’s undefeated, but that’s only six fights," Silva told MMAFighting.com. "It doesn’t matter. He hasn’t fought someone at my level, and I’m going to show that Friday night. It’s going to be a good fight, no matter where it goes. It won’t be easy to take me down, and I expect a war."
Caldwell is 3-0 under the Bellator banner with a pair of first-round submissions, but "Morcego", 22-4 in MMA with 17 finishes, believes that the decorated wrestler should think twice before going for takedowns against him.
"He’s an excellent wrestler, I know that, but I don’t worry about it because I have a pretty good wrestling and a great ground game," he said. "He will be in trouble if he takes me down, actually. He has a good wrestling, but he doesn’t have a good ground game. I have an excellent ground game. If he takes me down, I’ll submit him."
Silva, a winner of a bantamweight tournament in 2013 and a former title contender, didn’t watch any of Caldwell’s previous bouts ahead of Bellator 137.
"I haven’t watched his fights at all. My coach Marcelo Brigadeiro watches everything and tells me what I have to work on, where he’s good and bad at," Silva explained. "I know which weapons he has. He had a good kick and wrestling, and that’s pretty much it. We will have fun in there."
With his only Bellator loss coming in a title fight he took on 15 days’ notice against Joe Warren, "Morcego" doesn’t expect to be the next in line after a win on Friday.
"I don’t know if I’ll fight for the title next if I beat him," he said. "I know he’s a tough opponent, but there are some great guys out there, like ‘Dudu’ (Eduardo Dantas) and his opponent (Mike Richman). But I’m not worried about it, to be honest with you. I just want to fight and win. The more I win, more I get closer to the title. And when I get there again, I will win."
When he shows up with a full training camp, "Morcego" promises to come out victorious in his second shot at the gold.
"I didn’t beat Joe Warren because I got the call to fight 15 days before," Silva said. "I had a lot of trouble getting there a day before the weigh-ins and still fought a close, back and forth five-round fight."