UFC 142 fight card: Carlo Prater vs Erick Silva prediction, preview and breakdown

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Opponents Erick Silva and Carlo Prater face off after weighing in during the UFC 142 Weigh In at HSBC Arena on January 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via UFC.com.)

In a card designed to build fan interest and a rooting base in Brazil for the coming years, Erick Silva is one of those fighters the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hopes will play a part.

Emblematic of the new generation mixed martial arts (MMA) up and comers, he's seemingly got the total package with photogenic looks, athleticism and an aggressive style. Carlo Prater, meanwhile, is one of the most experienced guys that's yet to fight in the Octagon, and at his best has been able to nab wins over the likes of Carlos Condit, Melvin Guillard and Spencer Fisher.

This is definitely a fight on the UFC 142 pay-per-view (PPV) main card tonight (Jan. 14, 2012) from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that serves Prater best if he can get it to the ground, preferably in top position, as Silva is too heavy-handed and dynamic on the feet.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 142 fight between Carlo Prater vs Erick Silva:

The Breakdown

Silva's UFC debut win over Luis Ramos, a 40-second knockout, was the kind of first-timer showing that carries blessings with a curse. He looked impressive, yet didn't get the kind of extended experience that a debut typically supplies.

Will he feel pressure to score another impressive early finish to please the home-country Brazilian fans?

Prater is no world-beater on the feet, but he has a boatload of experience and is exceptionally good on the ground, with a penchant for stifling opponents. He has everything to gain and little to lose. If he can take the young gun deep into the fight, conditioning and guile become increasingly key factors.

And that's where he can test Silva and see if the Brazilian can keep his composure while enacting a Plan B if an early assault doesn't finish the job.

The Pick

Matchmaking happens for a reason, and the UFC is consistently looking to build young stars, particularly in expanding audiences like Brazil, where a couple years from now the promotion will look to hold regular events to sellout crowds.

Silva's a talented fighter with a big upside, and should prove too versatile.

Prater may also be a tad long in the tooth, having turned pro in 2002. Performance-wise, he may have flatlined in recent years, with his striking not evolving enough to compete at this level, though on the small-show circuit he has racked up an impressive ledger.

Silva will be too accurate on the feet and too difficult to take down and control, and his ground game should prove adept enough to decide where the fight goes. He'll put it all together in an impressive performance, winning via second-round knockout.

Silva via knockout

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 142 results of all the "Aldo vs. Mendes" PPV action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:30 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Saturday morning.

See you then!

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