|Come for the future stars, stay for the legend. (mmafrenzy.com)|
Glover Teixeira (no relation to Mark, because Glover can actually hit) and Erick Silva could both walk away from Rio De Janeiro with their fair share of headlines assuming Bonnar doesn't win, or Anderson doesn't finish him with something out of Mortal Kombat.
ERICK SILVA V. JON FITCH
It's actually Silva who draws the tougher fight, taking on lay and pray guru Jon Fitch. With all the complaining UFC fans have with Fitch, aside from a shock loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 141, Fitch has long been the champion no one wants to be champion. Injuries and that loss to Hendricks have "dropped" Fitch a bit in rankings and setting him up with the still unproven Silva.
The funny thing is that no one expects this the be the start of another title run for Fitch. This is meant to be a big step up for Silva, but a step that he can assuredly make. Although Silva is only 2-1 in the Octagon (the one loss being a bogus illegal strikes call to...wait, let me sure I'm spelling his name correctly...Carlo Prater) his skills on his feet and on the mat are unquestioned. The welterweight hasn't seen the 2nd round in quite some time, and the big question mark on his resume revolves around fighting a strong wrestler. While Charlie Brenneman does wrestle, he won't offer up the elite MMA style wrestling that has propelled Fitch to the closest base camp to the peak of the welterweight mountain.
Silva is a bad man, with every intent to finish this fight in front of his home crowd and take a big leap up at 170.
While it's always in a fight fans interest to see the flashy finish fighter win over the grind it out wrestler, this is a huge fight for both Silva and Fitch. Fitch is older and has fought through some serious injuries recently, but he's still the old Jon Fitch. I see Silva working Fitch pretty thoroughly. If his take down defense is where it needs to be, then this match has the potential to look like the Georges St-Pierre v. Fitch championship fight. If Fitch can get him down, then Silva will look to the judges for the win. I say Silva by split decision.
GLOVER TEIXEIRA V. FABIO MALDONADO
Here are some questions for the Glover Teixeira fight.
How did he end up fighting Fabio Maldonado?
Who is Glover Teixeira?
Last things first. Teixeira is the hottest property at light heavyweight since Alex Gustafsson. Ok, Gustafsson is still a hot prospect, and people were excited about him only 4 months ago, but still anytime there's a 205 pound guy out there that can knock people out, fans seem to get excited.
Now, excitement would make sense, except for the fact that in the course of finding Teixeria's next opponent the following people were rumored to trade blows with the 31 year old: 'Shogun' Rua, Lyoto Machida, and Rampage Jackson pulled out due to injury. Even Stephan Bonnar said no! So in the search for an opponent for this guy, who last triangle choked Kyle Kingsbury in his only UFC performance, Joe Silva and Dana White ran through three former light heavyweight champs and a guy that's gleefully taking on Anderson Silva. By all accounts, people view Teixeira as a bad dude in the cage. But talking about a step up, that'd be huge for Glover. Instead, after all of those people passed (for assorted true or BS reasons) he's taking on Fabio Maldonado. While Silva has a big step up to take, Teixeira's fight is more of a calling card to the upper levels of the light heavyweight community. There's already rumbles of a Jon Jones fight in late 2013, so a grand finish by Teixeira should put him right on track after maybe Dan Henderson takes a shot at the champ.
There's still a lot of mystery around Teixeira, and the proclivity in MMA to keep looking for the next big deal has led a lot of people astray and produced more disappointments than successes. This guy could be Todd Duffee or Rory MacDonald. In this time and space, I'll side more with Rory than Todd.
While it's not the toughest test he can face, it's time to see what Glover has got. Teixeira by 1st round KO.