Heading into Saturday night, Erick Silva was an incredible 10 to 1 favorite over his late notice replacement opponent Takenori Sato.
While everyone loves a good upset, Silva was determined to prove the oddsmakers correct with their assessment of his abilities as he blitzed and finished Sato inside of a minute of the first round of their fight.
Silva, who was coming off a stunning knockout defeat courtesy of Dong Hyun Kim, came out firing as soon as the referee said go and within seconds he caught the Japanese fighter with a brutal kick to the body that stunned and sent him backwards towards the cage. Instinct set in for Sato, who idolized PRIDE grappling legend Kazushi Sakuraba as he was coming up the ranks, so he dove for a leg and held on for dear life as Silva continued his onslaught.
As Sato held onto his lead leg with both arms, Silva miraculously kicked up his other leg and hit his opponent with the heel of his foot in an inventive new way to use every weapon possible, even in an odd position such as that. Silva adjusted quickly and moved Sato’s head to the other side of his thigh so he could start punching, and soon enough he was hammering down on the Japanese fighter’s head like it was made of nails.
Within just a few seconds, Sato’s arms went limp and the referee swooped in for the save at just 51 seconds into the first round.
Silva (16-4, 1 NC) is still one of the brightest prospects coming out of Brazil as he continues to develop and evolve as a fighter. There’s no doubt his knockout loss to Kim was a setback, but if Silva can put on these kinds of blistering performances he will be a beloved member of the UFC’s welterweight division for many years to come.