Taking place on the main card of UFC Fight Night 29 is a light heavyweight battle between Brazilian striker Thiago Silva and National Wrestling Champion Matt Hamill. Both men are at a sort of at a crossroads in their career. Thiago Silva has had trouble when it comes to passing his drug tests. Matt Hamill has had trouble dealing with the top contenders. Both men are coming off a win.Silva over former Strikforce Champion Rafael Cavalcante, and Matt Hamill over Roger Hollet. A win for either of these fighters could propel them back towards title contention, and a loss would mean eternal gatekeeper status. Here is how these two match up.
Thiago Silva is a monster on the feet, with a deadly combination of muay thai skills and power; he has the ability to put anyone to sleep. He has 12 wins by way of knockout in the 15 bouts that he has won, along with 2 submissions and a decision. Though he may not be the most technical striker, Silva certainly can knock anyone out in the 205lb division, and probably in any division.
Matt Hamill is in no means a slouch on the feet, but his base is in wrestling. He has six wins by way of knockout in his MMA career including knockouts of Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch. Though he probably will not want to stand and bang with Thiago, Hamill does have power to put him away if he lands a punch flush.
Verdict: Striking edge goes to Silva.
Though neither man is known for their submissions, Thiago Silva holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as two submission wins in his career, one by submission to strikes, and one by heel hook. It would have been three if he did not fail his drug test against Nedkov. The only problem is Silva has submissions from the top, we haven’t seen him work off his back much, and that’s something we will definitely see against Hamill.
Matt Hamill does not have any wins by way of submission in his MMA career, neither does he have any defeats by way of submission. He does hold a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu along with his Division III wrestling accolades that he gained from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Verdict: Edge Silva by default.
Thiago Silva has shown some submission skills in the past, but rarely has sought to take the fight to the ground. He has also shown some decent takedown defense against sub-par wrestlers, but when faced with a good wrestler like Rashad Evans; he crumbles. The key for Thiago Silva will be to use his takedown defense to try to keep this fight on its feet.
Matt Hamill is a great wrestler, he won three Division III National Championships while wrestling at RIT and then went on to win a Silver Medal in Greco Roman Wrestling at the Deaf Olympics, as well as a Gold Medal in Freestyle Wrestling in the Deaf Olympics. He has been able to takedown fighters such as Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, and Mark Munoz to name a few.
Edge: Big edge to Matt Hamill.
For Thiago Silva the question is will he be able to keep the fight standing, and will he tire if the fight goes passed the first round? There is also always the question of will he pass the drug tests, but let’s ignore that for now. Going against a great wrestler in Hamill will be a challenge for Silva and if he comes in shape he should be able to come away with the win.
For Hamill the question is more about his cage rust. We saw in the matchup with Roger Hollet that Hamill was not the same “Hammer” that we were used to seeing in the Octagon, let’s face it he looked sloppy. He claimed he was suffering from ring rust, and promised to be better in his next fight. Will we see the Hamill of old at UFN 29?
This fight will either go one of two ways, Hamill will either get caught and knocked out by Thiago Silva, or he will be able to take Silva down and win a decision over the Brazilian. My money is going to be on Hamill coming out ready to fight and taking it to the Brazilian. Hamill has an iron chin and has only been knocked out by Alexander Gustaffson, and Rich Franklin. I think Hamill will come out strong and be able to control Silva en route to a unanimous decision win.
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