Debuting Sato steps in to face Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night on Feb. 15

Erick Silva punches Dong Hyun Kim
Erick Silva will try to regain his top prospect status on Feb 15.
FOX Sports Marc Raimondi
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Erick Silva will try to regain his former status as a top prospect against a new opponent.

Silva was supposed to fight Nate Loughran at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi on Feb. 15 in Brazil. But Loughran had to pull out due to an injury and the debuting Takenori Sato has stepped in, the UFC announced Thursday.

Silva (15-4, 1 NC) stormed onto the UFC scene as well as anyone with two explosive first-round finishes in his first three fights. And his second bout, against Carlo Prater in January 2012, would have likely been a TKO victory had he not been disqualified for using illegal elbows.

The 29-year-old Brazilian’s momentum has sputtered lately, though. Silva has lost two of his last three fights against Jon Fitch and Dong Hyun Kim. Kim knocked him out in the second round devastating fashion at UFC Fight Night in October and Silva will be looking to bounce back in Jaragua do Sul.

Sato (17-8-7) is a Pancrase veteran who is 8-0-2 in his last 10 fights, the most recent one a second-round submission over Islam Galayev at Deep -- Tokyo Tribe Fight in October. The 28-year-old from Japan was the reigning welterweight King of Pancrase, a title he defended three times before signing with the UFC.

UFC Fight Night, which airs on FOX Sports 1, is headlined by middleweight contender matchup between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi.

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