At UFC on Fuel TV 6, which is being held in Macau, China, two brawling light heavyweights are set on a collision course that may very well produce fireworks. When Thiago Silva and Stanislav Nedkov are locked in the same cage, they will likely go all-out with crazy strikes, producing a terrific brawl for all to see.
UFC on Fuel TV 6, also referred to simply as UFC Macau, is the promotion's first venture into China. While they didn't go all-out in providing meaningful, relevant fights, there are some pretty fun bouts on the card, as there usually are.
While some may prefer the high-pace action of a lighter weight fight, I am most looking forward to the light heavyweight battle between Thiago Silva and Stanislav Nedkov. Where some may believe this is a horrific mismatch, MMA oddsmakers included, I see a terrific, classic brawl between two men who love to do just that.
Thiago Silva comes into this bout as a rightful favorite, having established a name for himself in the UFC as an exciting, high-level fighter. The excitement that fans know him for comes not only in his fighting style, but in the way he presents himself, a cold-blooded hitting machine, as can be seen on display before and after fights.
His game is very solid all around, as he possesses a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and some very respectable wrestling chops for a guy who didn't take it up as early as others. He has only one "real" submission (the other is due to strikes) to his name, a heel hook early in his career, so it is hard to judge where exactly his offensive Jiu Jitsu stands.
While Silva may be a well-rounded fighter, he certainly seems to have one area of preference: bludgeoning opponents on the feet. His striking game can include proficient technique and skill at times, but he never shies away from trading in big exchanges with his opponents. As a man with 11 TKOs (and also one submission due to strikes), most of which come by the aforementioned brawling, he also has proven to have a durable chin, as his only KO loss comes at the hands of former light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida.
Silva uses his wrestling proficiency mostly to stay on the feet, and it may be something he'll need against Nedkov, a talented wrestler in his own right. Despite that, he has shown that he can and will use wrestling offensively, opening opponents to his terrifying ground assault. As he's shown against fighters like Brandon Vera and Houston Alexander, he is far and away the polar opposite of Jake Shields when it comes to ground strikes.
Stanislav Nedkov presents some strange challenges for Silva, however, and some that may very well put him on defense at times. Nedkov is a knockout artist, a Bulgarian bruiser of sorts, and not a man who you'd like to touch your face. He throws technique to the wayside as he packs every ounce of power in his stocky body into power shot after reckless power shot, with a fair amount reaching their destination.
As opposed to other fighters known for their winging punches, Nedkov's strikes can find a home, and they can put you down. As I mentioned before, Silva does have a good chin, but even the strongest of chins can only take so much, so it will be very interesting to see Silva's reaction if and when he gets hit.
Nedkov's striking is open to more laid back and technique heavy striking approaches, as was on full display in his UFC debut against Luiz Cane, but as he showed later that night against Cane, and many other times throughout his career -- one mistake can ruin whatever success you had against him.
He is at times only in counter mode, allowing his opponent to press forward, but he can also put on fearsome blitzes, rushing fists first towards his opponent's head. Being that he can be very unpredictable when changing these 'modes', opponents may be caught off guard when suddenly he attacks with all of his vigor at once.
Nedkov's defensive tools include a variety of things, one being his hard chin, the other being his grappling. He has shown that he can take solid punches, which serves him well in striking exchanges as his striking defense in general is questionable at best. He can also use his grappling as a solid weapon to fall back on, as he too owns a black belt in Jiu Jitsu and came into MMA with a wrestling base.
His wrestling is much like his stand up, with technique and finesse being an afterthought to sheer force and power. When he gets opponents to the ground, he can open up with heavy ground shots as well as advancing positionally. His three 'real' submission victories (as he too has one win by submission due to strikes) all come by way of rear naked choke, so we don't really know what else he has in his submission arsenal.
Regardless of Nedkov's ground game, I doubt this fight ever sees the mat, unless it's one man falling hard on it. Both men are good enough in the wrestling department for me to believe they can shuck off the other's takedown attempts, and they both tend to prefer striking anyway.
When you bring together two men who sometimes seem to verge on psychosis, lock them in a cage, and pay them to duke it out, I doubt you're going to see a boring fight. Neither guy has a bad chin, and neither shy away from throwing some wild punches to bring the crowd to their feet. Whatever name you may have for it, a slobberknocker, a slugfest, a bangfest, or what have you, this fight will live up to that moniker, which is why I project it to be UFC on Fuel TV 6's "Fight of the Night."