Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Elias Silverio: The Fighter to Watch From UFC Fight Night 35

When Elias Silverio made his UFC debut with a unanimous decision victory over Joao Zeferino it didn’t really register with me as something I should pay much attention to. Sure, Silverio was a very strong 49-11 in significant strikes… but it was against an opponent in Zeferino who I didn’t think had much of a UFC future. I simply chalked it up as “let’s see how Silverio does against a tougher opponent” and left it at that.

At UFC Fight Night 35 Silverio faced a tougher opponent in Isaac Vallie-Flagg – and the result was so good that now Silverio has my full attention as an analyst. Vallie-Flagg isn’t the world’s most talented fighter but he’s very durable and throws a tremendous number of strikes. In two fights prior to facing Silverio, Vallie-Flagg landed 209 significant strikes in 30 minutes. In 15 minutes against Silverio, Vallie-Flagg was out-struck 81-21, knocked down once, taken down four times, and had his guard passed seven times. Silverio showed a level of dominance that left me with no choice but to look into him further as a potential star in the lightweight division.

Silverio’s total output through two UFC fights and 30 minutes of action:

  • 130-31: Significant Strikes
  • 1-0: Knockdowns
  • 5-1: Takedowns
  • 8-0: Guard Passes

Those are numbers that simply demand attention. I looked at Silverio’s record on Sherdog and noticed that he was an undefeated 10-0. That’s all well and good but I see prospects all the time who enter the UFC undefeated. Usually when I look under the hood and see who their opponents were, I find a bunch of names with either losing records or no record at all. I can’t knock a fighter for being undefeated, but wins against random 0-1 fighters don’t show that a fighter is ready for the toughest competition in MMA.

So I looked at what kind of opponents Silverio fought… and ended up kicking myself hard as I found quality opponent after quality opponent, with Silverio beating all of them. How is it that I couldn’t be bothered to just look at Silverio’s record before this?

What’s most remarkable about Silverio’s record is that ALL TEN of his career opponents have a winning record in MMA. Here’s the list:

  • Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-4-1)
  • Joao Zeferino (13-6)
  • Junior Orgulho (7-2)
  • Pat DeFranco (4-2)
  • Julio Rafael Rodrigues (7-4)
  • Douglas Bertazini (7-5)
  • Giovanni Almeida (4-2)
  • Gilmar Dutra Lima (23-11-1)
  • Diego Henrique da Silva (5-1)
  • Bruno Tavares (2-1-1)

It’s exceptionally rare for any fighter to have a record that looks like this – an undefeated record against nothing but quality opponents. The ONLY other fighters I can think of who have never faced a losing opponent are Georges St-Pierre and Cain Velasquez. Even all-world middleweight Chris Weidman started his career with a win over Reubem Lopes (0-1).

Out of curiosity I decided to put Silverio’s record through the SILVA score formula… and by that I mean the old one. The SILVA score formula I used very early on in this blog’s history – when I was fumbling around trying to figure out how to predict fights using fighter records alone… an experiment I have since abandoned.

Why use the old SILVA score formula? Because that formula gave me Velasquez, Weidman, Daniel Cormier, and Johny Hendricks as potential UFC champions when they were mostly unknown (along with a few red herrings, but I won’t get into those now). In that formula fighters with a SILVA score of over 50.00 had a greatly elevated chance of becoming UFC superstars. Not all of them panned out but quite a few of them did.

Silverio’s SILVA score is 54.16 based on the strength of his record listed above. And with ten fights under his belt, Silverio’s SILVA score is a lot more stable than some of the fighters the formula tripped up on such as Matt Mitrione. Silverio’s SILVA score is very similar to what Weidman, Cormier, and Hendricks achieved in their early careers.

Now of course that doesn’t guarantee Silverio will end up as successful as those fighters. There’s still a range of possibilities where Silverio’s UFC career is concerned. The Weidman/Cormier/Hendricks trio should be viewed as the upside for Silverio, not the median.

What we have is a fighter who has a fantastic early-career record and an outstanding first two UFC performances. I greatly regret not catching on to Silverio as a potential star earlier. He has my full attention now. Watch out for Silverio as a future title contender in the UFC lightweight division.

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2 responses to “Elias Silverio: The Fighter to Watch From UFC Fight Night 35

  1. Ruslan Magomedov January 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

    With all these new international fighters with limited tape or fights against well-known opponents, have you considered using SILVA scores for people with three or less fights in the UFC, or somehow weighting it along with their FPR?

    • David Williams January 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Yes, I’m very strongly considering that. I think it’s probably very worthwhile to use SILVA as a tool to help get an initial estimate of how good a fighter might be. The best approach for inexperienced prospects is probably to use all three things – SILVA, tape study, and FPR combined.

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