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Erick Silva: Bellator 216 opponent Yaroslav Amosov never fought someone like me

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Erick Silva (GC)
Erick Silva makes his Bellator debut coming off a first-round win under the LFA banner.
Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Yaroslav Amosov enters his second Bellator bout riding a perfect 20-0 record as a mixed martial arts fighter, but Erick Silva vows to prove he doesn’t belong in the top tier just yet.

The Brazilian, a longtime UFC veteran, signed with Bellator after scoring a comeback victory under the LFA banner in 2018, and Amosov, unbeaten in the sport, looks to go 2-0 in the company after a decision win over Gerald Harris in his debut. “The Tiger” and “Dynamo” colide in the main card portion of Bellator 216 in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday night.

Despite Amosov’s perfect 20-0 record with 17 finishes, Silva sees this match-up as a step up in competition for his opponent. Asked by MMA Fighting if Amosov has ever fought someone like him before, Silva didn’t think twice: “I’m sure he hasn’t.”

“Just look at his fights and we can see it,” Silva said. “Not that he has a padded record, but it’s fights that… Just like when I fought in Brazil before (the UFC), he has fought in his home country early in his career, but it’s completely different to fighting for an international promotion like Bellator, where he only fought once. He did well (in his debut), but (Harris) doesn’t have the level of experience that I have.”

Silva competed under the UFC banner between 2011 and 2017, scoring wins over the likes of Josh Koscheck, Jason High and Charlie Brenneman. Most of his losses came against high-profile welterweights, including Jon Fitch, Neil Magny, Yancy Medeiros and Matt Brown.

“Yaroslav is a good athlete,” Silva said. “His fighting style is characteristic from that region, around Russia. They like to take you down and holding you there. That’s what I worked on.”

The Brazilian wouldn’t get into the specifics of how he plans on handling Amosov his first loss, but bets on his experience to be victorious on Saturday.

“The different will be the experience,” Silva said. “He’ll be fighting a very experienced athlete, who has faced it all. I’ve fought against great athletes, I’ve won and lost, so I have a long record and tons of experience in MMA. I think he will feel that, and that will make the difference.”

With the company’s welterweight grand prix far from being over, Silva focuses on building a long winning streak so he’s the No. 1 contender by the time a tournament champion is crowned.

“I joined Bellator knowing that the belt is very close,” said Silva, who expects Rory MacDonald to face — and beat — Douglas Lima in the final. “We learn a lot from the mistakes and today’s Erick enters Bellator in a great phase. I’m focused on becoming champion, and my debut against Amosov is the first step to prove I’m ready for that.”