Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night 29 Prediction: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Erick Silva



I really want to like Erick Silva. I have absolutely nothing personal against him. He’s an exciting and talented fighter. He comes aggressively after his opponents with every intention of finishing the fight. He’s the kind of fighter who I get excited to watch fight.

The problem is that FPR hates him. FPR sees a fighter who is running large deficits in significant strikes and takedowns. FPR thinks Silva has almost no chance of defeating Dong Hyun Kim.

What FPR doesn’t know is that most of the negative statistics accumulated by Silva took place in the third round of his fight against Jon Fitch. Silva’s gas tank ran empty and Fitch just pummeled him for five minutes. It’s not good that Silva’s gas tank is only good for two rounds, but the overall statistics might not be the best indicator of the skills he brings to the table. Watching the Fitch fight live, I was actually impressed with what Silva could do.

Even so, the reality is that Fitch did take him down six times, and Charlie Brenneman took him down once as well. And as impressed as I was by Silva during the first two rounds of the Fitch fight, what Silva has to show for his efforts in that fight are: 19 significant strikes, two takedowns, and two submission attempts. That’s not exactly a tremendous amount of offense.

The other part of the equation is: Dong Hyun Kim is a nightmare matchup for Silva. Kim has the exact skill set needed to perfectly counter what Silva can do. Kim is a takedown-based fighter who lands 3.35 takedowns per 15 minutes at 50 percent accuracy. He’s also excellent at holding his opponent down and grinding out decision victories. It’s not a style that makes for dazzling and entertaining fights, but it gets Kim’s hand raised at the end of the fight.

In some ways, Silva could be viewed as a poor man’s Carlos Condit. He has good striking and submission skills, poor takedown defense and good scrambling. The biggest difference, again, is the cardio. Condit can fight longer than two rounds without being exhausted. If Condit could finish Kim by knockout, it’s possible Silva could do the same thing.

The betting public is buying the Erick Silva hype – he’s a -230 favorite at the sportsbooks at the time of this writing. FPR not only thinks Kim will win, but thinks he’s a massive favorite to do so. My personal opinion lies somewhere between these extremes. I think there’s a decent chance Silva could finish Kim in the first round, but I also acknowledge the chance that this fight goes the same way Kim’s fight against Siyar Bahadurzada went. Takedowns by Kim, ground control by Kim, a very frustrated crowd and a clear unanimous decision victory for Kim in the end.

Pick: Dong Hyun Kim by decision


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