UFC Fight Night 29 is headlined by two welterweight scraps involving Demian Maia and Jake Shields, alongside Erick Silva and Dong Hyun Kim in the co-main event. Silva is looking for his second straight victory, having not won back-to-back fights since the summer of 2011. His opponent will try to bounce back into title contention with a third-straight victory if he can outlast the Brazilian in enemy territory.
Another man trying to defy the odds on Brazilian soil is Chris Cariaso, who will be taking part in his fourth flyweight bout against Jungle Fight veteran Iliarde Santos. This fight takes place on the "Prelims" portion of the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.
Here is another installment of "The Top Two," as we break down the most important fights to watch on the main card and the "Prelims."
Erick Silva was blazing through opposition when he entered the promotion in 2011 and despite his disqualification loss against Carlo Prater at UFC 142, he had not met a tough challenger until he was pitted up against Jon Fitch.
The newly-signed World Series of Fighting (WSOF) welterweight engaged into more of a dogfight than a safe performance, and brought "Indio" into deep waters in a scrap that featured everything from boxing, scrambles, jiu-jitsu and wrestling.
Silva was very frustrated after his performance and bounced back in a big way against Jason High, submitting him in just over a minute via reverse triangle armbar. Silva has nine submissions out of 15 wins and has equally the same amount of knockouts as he does decision wins with three.
The Brazilian is no slouch on the ground and can be dangerous from almost anywhere, yet Fitch showed that superior strength can break Silva and that is exactly what Kim must do in order to walk out of Brazil the victor.
Kim does not have terrible stand-up as he has troubled previous opponents before with his striking, although the advantage would go to the former Jungle Fight welterweight champion if both men decided to stand and bang. As we have seen multiple times before with Kim, he takes opponents down and crushes their will, looking impressive against the likes of Siyar Bahadurzada, Paulo Thiago, Nate Diaz and Amir Sadollah by smothering them.
Arguably the best wrestler to come out of Korea, "Stun Gun" is a massive welterweight who usually towers over his opponents and it will be no different against Silva.
A lot like Silva, Kim has failed to win the fight that has mattered most, as Kim lost to Carlos Condit by way of a flying knee knockout at UFC 132 two years ago and suffered a freak injury against Damien Maia a year later at UFC 148. A win over the Brazilian on his opponent's home turf will propel Kim back to the welterweight ranks.
"Indio" brings forth a stance in which he is hard to hit; he drops his hands, stands wide open and gives his opponent more of his shoulder than anything before he launches into attack. It may be difficult for "Stun Gun" to hit him and if Silva can get the best of Kim on the feet, he should take home the victory. Silva's jiu-jitsu skills, as incredible as they are, may not be enough to trouble the tall, heavyset Korean who will look to suffocate Silva once he gets superior positioning and mounts him.
This should be a great welterweight battle to see where both men stand in the division and in their own careers.
Both men are coming off two-fight losing streaks and will want to impress to be a force in the flyweight division in the near future. Even if the pack could use a few more fighters, it would be optimistic to say their jobs are not on the line later tonight.
Cariaso has a 5-4 record under the ZUFFA banner, including a stint in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and is looking for an impressive win over a quality opponent that has been hard to come by as of late.
Looking at Cariaso's losses, he did succumb to opposition such as Renan Barao and Michael McDonald before moving down on the scale, and has lost to John Moraga and Jussier Formiga in his last two outings. The former Strikeforce and EliteXC alumn outlasted Takeya Mizugaki and Vaughan Lee in very close fights (with the former being an odd decision), so "Kamikaze" really needs a top notch performance to convince the brass his presence is needed.
Santos is coming off a great fight against Ian McCall at UFC 163 and despite losing, he bounced back with a solid performance after being knocked out by Iuri Alcantara at UFC on FX 8 three months prior. With only two UFC fights under his belt, the former Jungle Fight veteran is in dire need of a win if he wants to stay employed.
Besides the fact that both men could secure job safety if they engage in a war for the ages, it would be best for the winner to oust his opponent emphatically -- by knockout or submission -- to really make a statement and prove they belong.
Cariaso is a technical striker, and if he can mentally prepare himself for a brawler like Santos, could have his way with him if he choses his angles properly. Cariaso cannot backpedal as much as he did against Moraga, since Santos will clearly just keep on coming. Cariaso could also mix it up with some takedowns and by utilizing his wrestling, that is if he can bring Santos to the mat, who is a relatively strong grappler himself when he needs to be.
Santos may not have the same high-level experience as his opponent, with the majority of his fights taking place on the regional circuit, although he has a fighting spirit that cannot be taken easily, as McCall was landing some brutal shots and he just kept on sticking up his chin. Santos could engage in a striking war and that could favor him, since he seems to have more experience and is more comfortable getting hit than his opponent. Santos will also have a slight edge with the crowd being habitually vibrant early on when the event gets underway.
With a thin "Prelims" card, this fight has the ability to steal the show early on, and get the fans warmed up for the duration of the evening.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 29 fight card on fight night (Oct. 9, 2013) right here, starting with the Facebook "Prelims" at 4 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 5 p.m. ET and then main card action (also on FOX Sports 1), which is slated to begin at 7 p.m. ET.