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UFC Fight Night 95 fight card: Roy Nelson vs Bigfoot Silva full fight preview

MMA: UFC 193-Hunt vs Silva Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva will brawl this Saturday (Sept. 24, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 95 inside Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil.

Both men have their backs against the wall in this bout, as neither could afford another loss. Nelson — who is now 40 years old — has won just two of his last eight bouts, and frankly none of his performances were all that impressive. Silva, meanwhile, has lost all of his durability since testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) became illegal, losing four fights via first round knockout in just two years.

Let’s take a closer look at the skills of both athletes before they fight for their careers:

Roy Nelson
Record: 21-13
Key Wins: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC Fight Night 39), Stefan Struve (UFC Fight Night 21), Matt Mitrione (TUF 16 Finale)
Key Losses: Fabricio Werdum (UFC 143), Stipe Miocic (UFC 161), Junior dos Santos (UFC 117), Josh Barnett (UFC Fight Night 75)
Keys to Victory: If we're all being honest, Nelson's main skill in use lately has been that of punching bag. While his famous durability remains, Nelson's overhand is rarely seen or effective, and his single leg takedown hasn't lead too much on the mat.

Luckily, this shouldn't be all that challenging of a fight.

"Bigfoot" Silva is completely shot. He's noticeably slower, and his chin is far less sturdy than it once was. Considering the massive target that is his large head, that makes him an extremely vulnerable fighter. Nelson may be slowing down quite a bit, but his losses come to some pretty tough competition. If he has anything left in the tank at all, he should be able to walk towards Silva and fling an overhand into his jaw.

I'm not sure where that leads him moving forward, but it keeps him on the roster.


Antonio Silva
Record: 20-8-1
Key Wins: Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: "Fedor vs Silva"), Travis Browne (UFC on FX 5), Alistair Overeem (UFC 156)
Key Losses: Cain Velasquez (UFC 160, UFC 146), Frank Mir (UFC Fight Night 61), Andrei Arlovski (UFC Fight Night 51), Stefan Struve (UFC Fight Night 87)
Keys to Victory: Silva once was a terrifying Heavyweight. A massive fighter who overpowered his opponents in the clinch and on the mat, few positions were more dangerous than being trapped underneath "Bigfoot."

In modern times, Silva is slow and fragile, unable to close the distance without being knocked out cold. Nonetheless, since talking about how Silva needs to retire is hardly a helpful key to victory, let's move on from that. In order to give himself the best chance at victory, Silva needs to find a way to get into the clinch. In his last fight, Silva tried to force the clinch immediately, but he just walked into a pair of punches and dropped hard. This time, Silva may want to rely on whatever quickness his big frame carries to circle and move before driving forward into the clinch.

Alternatively, Silva could shoot early and try to drive up into the clinch. Either way, Silva needs to control his opponent from that range — where it will be difficult for Nelson to uncork power punches — and wear his foe down.

Bottom Line: It’s an absolute must-win for both fighters.

Nelson is one more loss away from becoming the latest member of Bellator’s 40-and-up division. There simply isn’t a fighter more vulnerable to his predictable overhand -- if Nelson cannot knockout Silva here, he has no real place in the division. With a win, Nelson has bought himself some time. Heavyweight still needs fighters to test the occasional young athlete that shows up, and Nelson is good for that at least.

While Silva should probably retire win, lose, or ideally in the next few days before this fight happens, a win will continue to get him fights at Heavyweight. There’s no real fix for his current problems, so that’s probably not going to lead him to anything good besides a couple more paydays.

Another knockout loss will undoubtedly end Silva’s UFC career.

At UFC Fight Night 95, Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva will square off. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?

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