Silva's eyes retribution and a title, but first comes Evans at UFC 108
There wouldn't be any celebrating, he said. Not until the following night.
Scheduled to meet
In Silva's case, the goal is fairly simple: earn a shot at the UFC light heavyweight belt currently held by
First, he must contend with "Suga" Rashad, an explosive former champion who surrendered the title to Machida last May. During the run-up to Saturday's pay-per-view (10 p.m. ET), Silva (14-1) spoke of his willingness to kill or be killed in the cage. It's an awful sentiment, yet one he makes freely and embraces. It is also straight out of the quote book from his "hero," Brazilian legend
At the famed Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil, Wanderlei passed down other lessons to Thiago: train hard; take your job seriously; when it's time to fight, do so aggressively; and never leave anything in reserve. Thiago understood these principles as more than just words. They were part of a heralded fighter's blueprint on how to become one. To his credit, Thiago recognized there was more than one route to greatness. Yes, the principles worked, but the path had to be his own.
"Wanderlei is a wild dog. Thiago is not like that," said
Since the fight with Evans, 30, was signed last October, Silva's gaze has been affixed on the former champion. Through no fault of his own -- namely
"A lot of guys never get over something like that," said Davis, who began working with Silva when the fighter departed Chute Boxe for Coconut Creek, Fla., and American Top Team. "Emotionally it really, really hurts them. I was very worried about Thiago. But everybody saw how he managed to surpass that with what he did against
Seven months after Machida finished Silva with punches, the fire-throwing Brazilian needed only 95 seconds to recover and similarly do Jardine. "I knew I had to win," said Silva, who just now is entering the prime of his career.
Evans must surely feel the same on the eve of UFC 108, making the main event of a card decimated by injuries one worth watching.
Side-by-side comparisons reveal little in the way of significant advantages or weaknesses.
Neither man's Brazilian jiu-jitsu game should be underestimated; Silva comes in wearing a black belt, and Evans has shown a ton of ability there as well.
On the feet, their styles clash nicely: Silva, the aggressive Muay Thai practitioner, against Evans, the quick, heavy-handed counter-striker.
Evans is a better pure wrestler, but Silva's size and grappling, particularly in the clinch, are very effective.
The bout could conceivably take them anywhere, though if action hits the canvas the one who manages top control would find an edge since both deliver heavy ground-and-pound.
Silva said he will step into the cage ready for the "moment when I have the time to take an opportunity. Rashad is a tough guy. He's very good. He's held the title. He lost the same way I lost. It's going to be a good fight."