BRASILIA — Changing your opponent days or weeks before an important fight could affect your whole preparation, and Bruno Silva gives his honest take on how his experience was ahead of UFC Brasilia.
To sum it up in two words, it helped.
Silva was slated to face Su Mudaerji in the preliminary portion of UFC Brasilia on March 13, but the Chinese bantamweight had to withdraw from the card after his camp was affected by the coronavirus outbreak in his home country.
The UFC was quick to find a replacement, signing Czech Republic’s David Dvorak. For “Bulldog,” the switch changed things for the better.
“I was going to fight a Chinese southpaw, a tall taekwondo fighter, a biotype that is hard to find, you know? A weird Chinese,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “In my opinion, he was more skilled than this guy I’m fighting now, so fighting this guy now is better, because he’s orthodox. It’s easier to find training partners with a biotype similar to his.”
Dvorak has never been submitted in 20 professional bouts, but Silva sees the ground game as the best path to victory in front of his countrymen at Brasilia’s Nilson Nelson Gymnasium.
“When you get to this level, everyone in the UFC is complete, but he’s more of a striker that will definitely try to keep the distance and stand with me,” Silva said. “I’ll trade with him, find the right time to take him down, get on top and impose my game.
“When he makes a mistake, I’ll definitely take him down and tire him out. My strategy is to put pressure and get my money back home with me [laughs].”
Dvorak makes his first walk to the eight-sided cage after winning 13 in a row since 2012, while Silva returns to his original weight class following a loss to Khalid Taha in Australia.
Taha tested positive for banned diuretic furosemide and suspended one year, but the local commission told MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin they have yet to decide whether or not the result will be overturned to a no-contest.
“A lot of things happened before that fight,” Silva said of his Octagon debut. “I was training in the United States to fight in Abu Dhabi, but my visa expired and I had to come to Brazil. I had to fight at bantamweight because they were talking about cutting my division. I came to Brazil and got injured three weeks before the fight. Wow, so much happened.”
“It served as experience,” he continued. “Fighting in a huge card in Australia, the experience of being in there. When you get to the UFC, you feel the difference compared to other promotions. I’m definitely more confident now. I went back to my original weight class, did my entire camp with the guy here, and nothing went wrong. It’s show time. You’ll see the real bulldog put on a show in his weight class.”