Every once in a while, the UFC matchmakers put together a main event that separates the real hardcore fans from the bandwagon “fashionable” fans. Headlining UFC Fight Night 40 this Saturday night, live from U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Matt “The Immortal” Brown, a former contestant from The Ultimate Fighter 7, faces off against former Jungle Fight welterweight champion Erick “Indio” Silva. The two fan-favorites bring their equally explosive games to the table.

During his TUF season, Brown began to garner a sort of cult following amongst fans. Even though he lost in the quarterfinals, he won in the season finale. His UFC career started off with mixed results to the tune of a 5-5 mark, but the Ohio native is currently on a two-year, six-fight winning streak and has eight knockouts in his 11 UFC wins. The promotion has Brown ranked seventh in the welterweight division, and a win on Saturday night will thrust him into title contention. However, Silva is no walk-through opponent.

Silva, currently ranked at No. 14, might only be 4-3 in the Octagon, but his record is a little deceiving. One of his losses was by early disqualification against Carlo Prater and his decision loss to former title contender Jon Fitch earned him “Fight of the Night” honors. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo black belt has earned the majority of his wins by submission, but he won his last fight by TKO in 52 seconds of round one. That was the second time in his UFC career that he earned a knockout in less than a minute.

On the surface, the UFC Fight Night 40 main event looks like a striker-versus-grappler affair, but, in reality, both of these guys are very well-rounded fighters who are dangerous wherever the fight goes. Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up, and as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills match up against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Brown  10, Silva  9

Records don’t lie, and Brown is approaching double digits as far as UFC knockouts are concerned. In addition, he has never been knocked out in his pro MMA career. Brown is ranked in the top 10 of the UFC’s most stacked striking division, took master striker Stephen Thompson to decision, and is proficient and accurate with every strike he throws. He has showcased a power right, plus hard body and head kicks, flying knees, an elbow TKO on the ground and even the occasional superman punch, just to keep his opponents guessing. The best part is that he may throw all of those strikes in a single combination. The hard-pressing TUF alum has a two-inch reach advantage and hits like an anvil.

Silva is a great striker in his own right, but there are some things missing from his arsenal. On one hand, he has a very dangerous spinning back kick, which has either finished or set up finishes in many of his wins. The Brazilian is also rangy and slightly more accurate, statistically. However, Silva’s combinations are not as unique as those of Brown, and he absorbs nearly as many strikes as Brown lands per minute, which could spell big trouble.

Both of these guys are world-class strikers, but Brown is one of the best in the division for a very good reason.

Submission Grappling: Brown  9, Silva  10

Again, this fight is not just a striker versus a grappler. But, again, records don’t lie.

Silva holds two black belts in grappling arts. He has submitted nine total opponents, and he has never been submitted. He is a classical, Nogueira-trained BJJ player who has also trained with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, the most feared BJJ practitioner in MMA.

And Brown? Well, he has been submitted 11 times in his career. However, the truth is that Brown is a pretty good grappler and a BJJ purple belt. Yet, four of his five Octagon defeats came by some form of choke or armbar.

Silva is more technically proficient and has better judo takedowns. Brown would be wise to keep it off the mat unless Silva is really hurt.

Wrestling: Brown  10, Silva  10

Brown and Silva have great MMA-centric wrestling skills for guys with no background in wrestling. Most guys with their skill levels are usually ex-high school wrestlers at a minimum, but that is not the case here. Both of them are 6-foot tall, so there’s no real size advantage. Both of them are equally accurate with takedown defense. The biggest difference is that Silva is more accurate with getting his opponents to the mat. In the clinch, both men have displayed a propensity to lock up and throw mean knees, but Brown is slightly more devastating as far as power in the clinch.

The wrestling game is a toss-up. Both men have things they are slightly better with than the other, but wrestling will play nothing more than a transitional role in this battle.

X-factor

Both men are strong and aggressive. Silva is a better grappler, Brown is a better striker, and both can clinch and grind. This will be only Silva’s second time fighting outside of Brazil, and, while he was successful in his first U.S. fight, he will be in big trouble fighting in Brown’s hometown.

Brown got his start in Cincinnati, and, while he has trained in other states, it has always been his primary home. The town will be out in full force, cheering on their local favorite. Silva is set to face the most crowd adversity ever, and Brown will be turning on the heat from the first second of the fight to make sure he does not disappoint his friends and family.

Total: Brown – 29, Silva – 29

Verdict: On paper, this fight really is a toss-up, but the favor is greatly lopsided to Brown for a reason. This dude is a maniac once that cage door closes, hence his six wins in a row. Brown has put down some world-class talent, and he has managed to avoid the submissions that haunted him for many years. The Ohio native will come out ready to make a statement. A win on Saturday will certainly put him one fight away from the belt, and he’s not going to let Silva stop him in his hometown.

Silva will come out ready to disappoint Cincinnati. It would be unwise to assume that Brown is just going to dominate him in the first round, but it is also unrealistic to think that Brown will not have this one finished by the end of round two.

Brown by TKO in the second.

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Coordinator