UFC 142: Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater [Preview]

There are two highly questionable main card attractions on the UFC 142 slate that are bringing lopsided betting lines to those fans willing to shell out the big bucks for the pay portion of the show. First up we have the always crazy Rousimar Palhares coming in as a stunning -600 favorite and while that line strikes me a tad inflammatory he should have no trouble at all tapping Mike Massenzio. The other supposed mismatch that is clogging up the PPV is this one between streaking prospect Erick Silva (13-1) and veteran journeyman Carlo Prater (29-10-1) who will finally be making his Octagon debut in his 41st professional fight. Now Silva is only hovering around the -525 mark but no matter, it seems as all the money is on him and why not after his performance at UFC 134 where he diced up Luis Ramos in less than a minute. He has been touted as the future of the welterweight division by Anderson Silva and the general sense is that once he gets through another semi-gimme in his home country he will be thrust into the upper echelon of the division.

The only problem with that theory is that people seem to be sleeping on Prater who has put together an impressive career for himself. He holds wins over UFC mainstays Carlos Condit, Melvin Guillard and Spencer Fisher. He entered the WEC as a title contender in 2008 but lost first in a rematch to Condit and then to Brock Larson before being let go by the promotion. He’s currently on a four fight win streak that was started on national TV 11 months ago when he choked out Bryan Travers at Strikeforce Challengers 14. At 30 age is not exactly on his side but he is wealthy in other aspects of his game. We have seen recently with the success of Brian Ebersole that entering the UFC after years of being ignored can be a pathway to victory.

Silva has the reputation he does mainly because of his striking ability (and he will have a nice reach advantage come Saturday night) but his bread and butter has been his submission game throughout his career. He has seven submission victories to just three that fall into T/KO category. I bring this up mainly because I wonder which direction Silva will go in as the fight enters deep water. He looked amazing in his last fight when he was able to slip one big punch around the guard of Ramos but assuming that punch isn’t going to land for a few rounds this time around what is his back up plan exactly? If a ground game is his comfort zone he may run into something of a buzz saw there as Prater is well versed in many techniques (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Luta Livre, wrestling) and has used them to great effect throughout his career. Also, youth and intensity don’t get you very far once the fight becomes a grappling affair.

It gives me no joy in this case to pick against Erick Silva but I am afraid that stylistically this is just not a good match up for him. I was as excited as everybody else in August after the KO that was shown ad naseum during the night and I would love to see just how high he can actually soar. But unless he can replicate that lightning fast outcome he got the last time the UFC came to Rio he is going to be slogging uphill here. If he can work out a gameplan where he keeps the action standing then he should have his hand raised no problem, but once this contest hits the mat I feel as though his game is going to be exposed in a major way. Look for Prater to take this one and score one of the bigger upsets we will see all year.

Pick: Carlo Prater via 2nd Round Submission

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