One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 36 is a welterweight contest between Erick “Indio” Silva and Takenori Sato. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Silva as a -900 betting favorite (bet $900 to win $100) while Sato is a +600 underdog (bet $100 to win $600). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Silva at -1200 and Sato at +900, meaning the line has tightened up on Silva as there has been little action on this bout. I agree with the relative lack of line movement for this fight as I believe it’s a pass from a betting perspective, although I am picking Silva to win. Silva (15-4, 1 NC) was once thought to be a future welterweight title contender, but after suffering a brutal KO loss to Dong Hyun Kim in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 29, Silva is now being rebuilt by the UFC. First booked to first little-known Nate Loughran, Loughran was injured and replace by Sato in what is essentially a squash match designed to get Silva back on track. And it’s a very winnable fight for the 29-year-old Silva, who despite a poor 3-3 record in the UFC still has the potential to hold the belt in his weight class. An explosive striker, Silva’s best attribute is actually his ridiculously-good ground game, as nine of his career victories have come by way of sub. An extremely athletic 170 pounder, the Brazilian needs to get his career back on track and the UFC is giving him a golden opportunity here to do so against a UFC newcomer in Sato. Sato (17-8-7) is making his UFC debut after holding the welterweight title in Pancrase for the last three years. The 28-year-old is a grappler, and most of his career fights have gone to decision due to his grinding style. And to be fair to Sato, it’s impressive he’s made such a remarkable career turnaround after starting his MMA career 9-8-5, which includes an early-career TKO loss to UFC veteran Joe Doerksen. Since a nasty three-fight losing skid in 2010, Sato has gone 8-0-2 over his last 10 fights to make it to the UFC. But he’s being fed to the wolves here, as he’s taking a fight against Silva on short notice and he’ll be competing in Silva’s backyard of Brazil. It’s a tough situation for Sato to emerge victorious in, and there’s a reason why he is such a big underdog in this fight. It’s hard to say what Silva’s gameplan will be with Sato, but if I had to guess he will look to keep the fight on the feet and land the knockout blow on the Japanese fighter. Considering Sato was knocked out by Doerksen in Sengoku, I think there’s a very good chance Silva does the same thing to him. So look for Silva to get the knockout pretty early on. At -900, I would most certainly pass on Silva in this spot. There’s no way I’d lay the juice on him after his last performance, especially against an unknown (and potentially dangerous) fighter in Sato. Having said that, I wouldn’t bet on Sato either, even at the nice odds. The only prop I’m looking at for this fight is Silva by decision at +540 for a small flier as he may look to play it safe coming off a KO loss (like Alistair Overeem last weekend against Frank Mir), and thus there could potentially be value in that line.
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