One of the most intriguing matchups of the spring takes place in just over a week at UFC on FUEL TV 10 as Brazilian hotshot prospect Erick Silva returns to the cage to take on American Jason High in a three-round welterweight bout. The current betting odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook list Silva as a -360 favorite (bet $360 to win $100), while the comeback on High is +300 (bet $100 to win $300). This is the classic matchup between the striker, Silva, and the wrestler, High, and I really only see two outcomes: either Silva gets the knockout, or High wins a decision. I don’t really see Silva getting a submission or even a decision, although I do think High has an outside shot of catching Silva in a sub. At first I really did like High to win the fight. I believe that he is actually a very underrated welterweight and I think he’s improved a ton since his first stint in the UFC, which came back in 2010 when he fought Charlie Brenneman. He lost a decision to Brenneman and was cut immediately afterwards, but since then High has won seven-straight fights, including decision wins over current UFC fighters Jordan Mein and Quinn Mulhern, mostly by using his outstanding wrestling and top-control game. Silva, on the other hand, has done nothing but impress in the UFC so far. In his first Octagon bout he knocked out Luis Ramos in just 40 seconds, and then in his sophomore effort at UFC 142 he absolutely destroyed Carlo Prater only to see referee Mario Yamasaki rule he hit his opponent with illegal shots to the back of the head and lose by DQ. But then he submitted Brenneman with a rear-naked choke to get back on track, and got the opportunity of a lifetime when he took on former title contender Jon Fitch at UFC 153. Unfortunately for Silva, though, Fitch put on a great performance that night at Silva ended up losing the decision. But he remained ultra competitive for the most part, and considering he’s still only 28, I viewed the Fitch fight as an experience builder. However, I also saw in the Fitch fight that Silva can be controlled by a dominant, grinding wrestler, and that’s exactly what High is. The difference between High and Fitch, though, is that Fitch does way more work from the top. Believe it or not but Fitch has thrown more strikes than anyone in UFC history except for Georges St-Pierre, which means that even though he’s been labelled as a grinder by many he’s always doing work. High, on the other hand, is more of that lay-and-pray type of wrestler, which is why I was surprised when the UFC matched him up with Silva, because I thought it was a bit of a gamble in that they could have their stud Brazilian prospect lose once again to a wrestler, a loss that would destroy his confidence. But then I thought about the fight a bit more, and I don’t like High as much anymore. While I thought there was some value in High at one point, I actually like Silva a lot more now, and I like him for a bet, too. The main reason is I don’t think High’s takedown-heavy approach is going to work in Brazil. We’ve seen time and time again that the Brazilian crowds boo anytime a foreign fighter takes one of their guys down to the ground and we’ve seen how quickly the referees are to stand them up. So unless Silva’s ground game has regressed since the Fitch fight, there’s no way High is going to be doing enough on the ground in order for the ref to let it stay there, and therefore, with the fight likely to mostly take place standing, Silva should get the KO over High, who has been finished with strikes twice before. If you are going to bet on Silva consider the “Silva wins inside the distance prop” which is currently at -179. I believe this is the most likely path to victory, and you’re getting it at half the price of his regular money line. So if Silva is your side, this is the bet to make. It wouldn’t shocked me at all if my first reaction is right and High wins a decision but more often times than not Silva should get the knockout and that’s my official pick for the fight.
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