One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 58 is a three-round welterweight bout between Erick Silva and Mike Rhodes. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Silva is a -420 favorite (bet $420 to win $100) while Rhodes is a +335 underdog (bet $100 to win $335). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Silva at -400 and Rhodes at +280, and the betting public is on Silva so far. I agree with the movement in Silva’s direction as I expect him to win this fight. Here’s why. Silva (16-5, 1 NC) is one of the most exciting welterweights in the UFC. The 30-year-old Brazilian, who was once touted as a future title contender, is 4-4 in the UFC with wins over Jason High, Charlie Brenneman, Luis Ramos and Takenori Sato and losses to Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim, Matt Brown and Carlo Prater (via DQ) and in general hasn’t lived up to the hype he once had. Having said that, he’s still proven himself to be a very exciting fighter to watch, and definitely someone who can smash mid-tier fighters in highlight-reel fashion. Silva is an excellent finisher both with his strikes and with his submissions. He is a quick starter with the majority of his wins coming in the first round, although because he goes all out in the first stanza he often gasses late in fights. He is pretty tough, but can be finished if hit right on the button (see: Kim fight) or if taken into deep waters (see: Brown fight). To be fair to Silva, though, his losses have only come against top welterweights, and Silva has feasted on opponents who are the opposite of elite. I think his opponent Rhodes falls into that latter category in this matchup, and that’s why you see Silva enter the fight as a big favorite despite coming off that devastating loss to Brown. Rhodes (6-3) was the RFA welterweight champion but hasn’t lived up to the promise in the UFC. The 25-year-old American is 0-2 in the UFC with decision losses to George Sullivan and Robert Whittaker. He was outstruck and outrgrappled in both fights and in general has not looked like a UFC-caliber fighter. However, keep in mind there was a lot of hype before he reached the Octagon, and he was the former RFA champ, beating Alan Jouban for the title in that organization just over a year ago. Rhodes is primarily a kickboxer who comes out of the Roufusport gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has some nice punches and kicks, although he’s more of a technical striker rather than a power puncher. His takedown defence is solid, although not great, and the same can be said for his cardio. His chin hasn’t really been tested, but from what we have seen it’s been solid. My biggest concern for Rhodes is his submission defence. He was submitted by Brandon Thatch in the RFA and he was also submitted as an amateur. One of Silva’s strengths is his BJJ and if he can get Rhodes to the ground, he will be in trouble. He will also be in trouble in the first round when Silva is dangerous on the feet. However, if Rhodes can survive the first round and Silva gasses out, Rhodes will have the better cardio and could steal a decision. I’m not expecting that to happen, though, and neither is the betting public as Rhodes is a big underdog in this fight. Despite his inconsistency in the UFC, I think Silva’s still a dangerous and this matchup against Rhodes offers a big opportunity to get back in the win column. Rhodes is a solid welterweight but he’s fighting a beast in Silva, and the fight is in Silva’s backyard in Brazil. I think the UFC is designing this fight to get Silva a win in highlight-reel fashion, and to push him back into a fight with a top-10 opponent, and I think he gets the job done, likely by stoppage. I think a submission is most likely, but a knockout could happen as well. At -420 I think Silva is a winner for parlays this weekend, and I think UNDER 1.5 rounds at -110 is a winner, too.
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