Bellator 216: “MVP vs. Semtex” takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., this weekend (Feb. 16, 2019), streaming exclusively via DAZN. It’s the second event of a back-to-back weekend that also features “Mitrione vs. Kharitonov” the night before at the same location.
Michael “Venom” Page and Paul “Semtex” Daley meet in Bellator 216’s main event, a pivotal Welterweight Grand Prix tournament match; however, earlier in the night, a non-tournament fight will feature Erick Silva (20-9, 1 NC) making his long-awaited Bellator debut against Yaroslav Amosov (20-0). Silva first inked his Bellator MMA deal in Sept. 2018, but a fight between Silva and Lorenz Larkin fell through before Bellator 207. Ironically, one of the other proposed fights was between Larkin and Amosov, who finds finishes in 85 percent (17 of 20) of his fights.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with Silva about finally getting his first fight in Bellator and how excited he is to be on the main card during a big double header weekend for the promotion.
“I feel very good. My training camp was really good. I feel very prepared. I feel confident with my training, and I’m very prepared for my debut in Bellator and against this opponent.”
Some of you will remember an epic back-and-forth war Silva had with Matt Brown in UFC. I asked Silva (via his translator) if we could expect those kind of performances in 2019.
“I think that the strategy is always the thing, but the fighting style is the same so, you can be sure that I’m going to be aggressive and I’m going to be walking forward. I’m confident with everything that I did with my team and how we trained for this opponent, but that’s my fighting style.”
As a seven-time bonus winner in UFC (three “Fight of the Night” awards, two “Performance of the Night” and two for submissions) aggressive and exciting is Silva’s bread and butter. Meanwhile, his Ukrainian opponent may not have those laurels, but he’s unbeaten for a reason.
“I’m not really worried about his record or how he finishes his fights. My team and I are just focused on what we’re supposed to do and what we have to do to go in there and get the win. You know, I don’t think he’s ever faced someone as experienced as me, so I think he’s going to be the one that feels that difference in the cage.”
Originally, Silva was set to fight Lorenz Larkin for the right to be a Welterweight Grand Prix alternate, but an injury derailed those plans. I asked Silva if he felt the irony given he’s sharing the card with “MVP” and Paul Daley in Uncasville.
“Yeah, there’s nothing I can do at this point. I’m not in the tournament, but I’ll be watching their fight, and definitely thinking that they could be future opponents. There’s no point in dwelling over the fact that I’m not in the tournament when I’m going to end up fighting these guys regardless in the future.”
That’s a sensible attitude to be sure. Given he already thinks of Bellator’s Welterweight division as future opponents, I asked Silva to rank the fighters he thinks are the best of the class.
“I think that the top three in this category are the champion Rory (MacDonald), and then Michael Page, and Douglas Lima.”
It sounds like he has the division well scouted. Back to Amosov, though — is he prepared to meet the 170-pound weight limit on Friday to take the fight on Saturday?
“So I’m traveling on Monday, I’ll be there just for the fight week, and I’m really not worried about the weight cut. I’m on a good weight right now and I think it’s definitely going to be one of my best weight cuts so, I’m not worried too much about that.”
Of course, it’s easier to make weight when you’re not traveling internationally. I asked Silva how he would feel about headlining a Bellator card back home in Brazil.
“Yeah definitely! I’d love to headline a card in Brazil, as I’m sure would any other Brazilian, especially my friends the Pitbull brothers and Lyoto Machida. I think there’s many names, big names in Brazil that are in Bellator, and if they want to put an event here in Brazil it would top off any other event.”
Given that “Pitbull vs. Scope” took place the week before his own big Bellator fight, I asked Silva how he thought his friend Patricky Freire would do in the main event.
“I’ve had a chance to train with them a lot and he’s a very tough and versatile fighter. You know I’ll be rooting for him. Who I think is going to win is ‘Pitbull’ and I think he’s going to take the belt in this division.”
That’s an interesting proposition given that Michael Chandler cold-cocked Pitbull the last time they fought. If he keeps winning, though, that may to come to pass, much like Silva eventually meeting the Welterweight champ if he wins Saturday ... and going forward.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “MVP vs. Daley” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.
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