The UFC Macao: Franklin vs. Le event will feature a light heavyweight co-main event between Thiago Silva and Stanislav Nedkov.
Stanislav Nedkov (12-0) is coming off a first round TKO win over Luiz Cane at UFC 134. Nedkov was scheduled to fight at UFC 142, but VISA issues prevented him from being on the card. Nedkov has six wins via TKO/KO and four wins via submission. He holds victories over veterans Kevin Randleman and Travis Wuiff as well. Nedkov has good power in his hands and fights aggressively while apparently being versed in submissions as well.
Thiago Silva (14-3, 1NC) is coming off the unanimous decision loss to Alexander Gustafsson at the UFC on FUEL TV 2 event in April. Silva had to serve a year long suspension prior to the bout because of a failed drug test from his UFC 125 bout with Brandon Vera. Silva has 11 wins via TKO/KO and two wins via submission. He’s an aggressive fighter with power, but he’s probably most dangerous on the ground with top position. He has some nasty ground and pound, and is well versed in jiu-jitsu.
This should be an interesting fight between two aggressive fighters. Silva will be the larger fighter with a three inch reach advantage. Nedkov is the more accurate striker according to Fightmetric, but we’ve yet to see him goto the ground in the UFC. He was also fighting Luiz Cane who is notorious for using his face to block punches during his fights. I think it’s safe to say that both fighters have more of a brawling style striking wise as neither are extremely technical.
It’s hard to call this fight because of the circumstances with both fighters in their last fights. Silva fought a top ten light heavyweight after being out of action for well over a year, and that’s definitely not a recipe for winning. Nedkov beat a guy who dropped down to the middleweight division and is no longer with the UFC.
Silva has fought much better competition between the two fighters and has more experience on the big stage. I think the reach advantage and size advantage will be factors in this fight. Nedkov was touched quite a few times by Cane, so that’s something that Silva can take advantage of at times. Silva should use his reach advantage to strike and set up some takedown attempts, using his size on the ground to impose his will over Nedkov. Nedkov isn’t a real threat to submit anyone off his back. Nedkov is supposedly a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but so is Silva and I’d give Silva the edge there.
Nedkov will need to get inside of the reach of Silva and look to do damage with power shots. Silva has been taken down by fighters that are not known to have great wrestling, so it’s possible that Nedkov can take him down once he closes the distance as well. Nedkov simply needs to fight a smart fight, but at a high pace as Silva has shown cardio issues in the past.
I think Silva gets it done here via unanimous decision. However, if Nedkov is able to win we’ll certainly have to start paying closer attention to the Bulgarian fighter.