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UFC Vegas 29 - New Blood: ‘Armored’ assault

UFC Fighter Portraits Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Failing a drug test before even stepping foot in the Octagon generally spells the end for a fighter’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, but that isn’t always the case, apparently. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I appreciate the not-inconsiderable amount of fights that Russian fight fans and promoters upload to YouTube, we look at a surging Brazilian knockout machine making a long-delayed debut.

Bruno “Blindado” Silva

Weight Class: Middleweight
Age: 31
Record: 19-6 (16 KO)
Notable Victories: Artem Frolov, Alexander Shlemenko

Brazil’s Silva has won 14 of 15 since a 5-5 professional start, the only blemishes a knockout loss to Vitor Miranda on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Brazil 3” and a 2016 submission loss to veteran Moise Rimbon. His current four-fight streak has seen him knockout fan-favorite Alexander Shlemenko, then stop unbeaten Artem Frolov for the M-1 Middleweight belt five months later.

He was originally slated to make his Octagon debut against Deron Winn in 2019, but ran afoul of United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), making this his first fight in more than 2.5 years.

As you might expect from that finishing record, Silva does his best work on the feet, utilizing one of the more singular striking styles I’ve seen in a while. While he has a stinging jab when he bothers to use it, he’ll usually stalk after opponents with heavy single kicks, then straight-up charge at them with big swings from both hands before looking for knees when they inevitably collide. When I say “charge,” I mean charge! Indeed, if an opponent makes a concerted effort to get away, I’ve seen him straight-up sprint after them.

This habit, alongside his tendency to just hide behind a high, tight guard when pressured in return, make him rather defensively lax. That said, his nickname, which translates to “armored,” isn’t just for show. The dude’s a tank with good cardio, meaning opponents are in for the long haul once he decides to stalk them down.

That said, those rushes do open him up to takedowns. To his credit, he’s not one to accept bad positions, and he did a good job at getting up from underneath Frolov despite M-1’s cage/ring hybrid being ostensibly less useful than the Octagon fence in that regard. He’s also got a strong double-leg of his own he can lean on to switch things up, and once he ends up on top, he can deal enormous damage from guard. He essentially beat the fight out of Frolov from there, ultimately finishing him with a body shot.

I’m not sure how far his power and durability can carry him, especially since Miranda proved that he’s not completely indestructible, but his UFC run will be a ton of fun while it lasts. I see him peaking somewhere around the Top 15.

Opponent: He takes on countryman Wellington Turman, who’s coming off a stoppage loss to Andrew Sanchez. This one’s a coin-flip, as the odds suggest; Turman’s toughness is in question after that defeat, but he’s also got the wrestling chops to punish Silva’s blitzes, and there’s also “Blindado’s” huge layoff to consider. I’ve got Turman by a hair.


Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 29 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2 / ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN2 / ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 29: “Korean Zombie vs. Ige” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.