Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Leandro Silva and Efrain Escudero scrapped last night (Nov. 21, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 78 inside Monterrey Arena in Monterrey, Mexico.
Silva hadn't made a ton of noise heading into this fight, but he had established himself as a solid lightweight. Now on the main card, "Buscape" was looking to announce himself as a potential contender in this fight.
Meanwhile, Escudero finally found some UFC success. He wasn't lighting the world on fire, but Escudero had carved himself out a position inside the UFC after multiple failed runs and was hoping to build on that success.
Escudero began the fight by pressuring his opponent into the fence, but he didn't attack with any punches. Silva is not known for his high volume either, but he did land a couple nice kicks and punches.
At about the halfway point in the round, things heated up just a bit. Silva landed a combination, and the two fighters traded takedown attempts without any success.
Though it was a close round, Silva's harder strikers were likely more significant than Escudero's pressure and light attacks.
After getting tagged by a few shots to start the round, Escudero scored with a well-timed double leg just about a minute in. From top position Escudero didn't do a ton of damage, but he did control his opponent for much of the round.
From his back, Silva was way too comfortable. He half-heartedly hunted for submissions and sweeps, waiting until the very end of the round to attempt to work back to his feet.
It was pretty uneventful, but it definitely cost the Brazilian the round.
Silva's corner started a bit of a fire under his ass between rounds, as he definitely started the final frame with more combinations and aggression. He really dug into Escudero's body with his punches, which gave him the added bonus of easy underhooks when Escudero shot in.
After stuffing a number of Escudero's shots, Silva spun around his opponent and took his back. From there, he did a very nice job controlling his opponent, using the single leg grapevine control to prevent Escudero to spin into top position.
Overall, this was a very clear round for "Buscape," as he picked Escudero apart on the feet and controlled him from top position.
All three judges agreed, awarding Silva two of the three rounds.
On the whole, this was a pretty standard performance for Silva, though it's clear he's working to improve the weaker aspects of his game. Notably, Silva threw a few more strikes than normal, and that likely won him the fight. The first round was the closest of the fight, and Silva's combinations were the most significant moments in it.
If he attacked with his usual inactivity, the result may have been different.
On the other hand, Silva's lackadaisical work from his back was pretty disappointing. Simply put, it's very difficult to land submissions from the bottom, so getting back to his feet should have been a priority. Instead, Silva gave away the round and needlessly made the fight far closer.
After this win, Silva deserves a bit of a step up. He's obviously pretty far from the top 15, but a fight with someone like James Vick wouldn't be unreasonable.
Once again, Escudero's inconsistency has cost him a UFC victory. As Brian Stann aptly noted, Escudero was at his best when mixing together his strikes and wrestling, thriving in the ugly transitions of the fight. In the first and third, Escudero barely set up his takedowns, and it ended up losing him the fight.
Additionally, Escudero's cardio failed him as well. Same as in his fight with Leonardo Santos, Escudero gave up top position in the third because he was tired, which was the deciding round of the fight.
Last night, Leandro Silva outlasted Efrain Escudero in a competitive battle. How high can the Brazilian climb in the talent-rich lightweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 78 "Gastelum vs Magny" results and play-by-play click HERE!