UFC Fight Night 40: Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva Preview
The UFC returns from a two-week break with a Fight Night show from Cincinnati, Ohio, headlined by Matt Brown and Erick Silva. It’s a testament to the pace of the schedule that two weeks feels like a long time to go without an event. It was less than two years ago, between October 13-November 10 of 2012, that the UFC went a full four weeks without an event. The summer brings more two-week gaps, though they are complemented by three separate weekends hosting two events a piece. That’s thirteen events through the end of July, for those counting at home.
MATT “TRAVIS” BROWN VS. ERICK “ANTONIO ‘BIGFOOT’” SILVA
Saturday’s card marks the second headlined by guys named “Brown(e)” and Silva, with Travis Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva having topped an FX show in Minnesota back in the fall of 2012. Matt Brown and Erick Silva is a smaller affair, in both their physical size and the stature of the bout.
Matt Brown is currently riding a six-fight winning streak (the first four of which earned him a Fighter of the Year award from the Bloody Elbow community, for some reason), which is something when you consider he had a 1-4 record in his last five immediately preceding the streak. The streak has earned him the number-seven spot in the UFC’s official rankings despite any of his wins coming against top ten fighters. (One of those wins, Mike Pyle, is currently ranked twelfth.) He was scheduled to fight Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 9, but a back injury forced him to pull out of the event (and saved him a beating).
At one point in time, Erick Silva was a hot prospect. He entered the UFC with a 13-1 (1 NC) record and a month shy of his 27th birthday. A three-fight winning streak* followed, and there were some who dared talk about Silva fighting Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title within a few years. So, the UFC matched him up with Jon Fitch, which I guessed made since to the UFC since Johny Hendricks had just knocked Fitch out or something. Predictably, Fitch Fitched Silva, and the hype train took a detour. Silva bounced back by making quick work of friend of Twitter Jason High. A knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim followed, before a second rebound win against Takenori Sato. (Yes, that Takenori Sato.)
Brown’s a journeyman on a hot streak who will probably have a UFC job so long as he keeps fighting like a maniac and doesn’t completely fall off a cliff skill-wise. At 29 and in his ninth year of professional prize fighting, Silva’s out of the prospect phase and into “So what is it that you do here” phase. A win over Brown would boost him in the rankings thanks to good timing, but Brown’s the type of fighter that Silva should be beating (which is reflected in the books listing him as a 2-1 favorite).
*- Wah wah, he was DQ’d for punches to the back of the head against Carlo Prater, wah wah.
WHITHER RICH FRANKLIN?
For seven years, Rich Franklin was the ultimate company man. He fought a friend and former training partner in Matt Hamill, he bounced around weight classes and took catchweight fights when the UFC asked, and you’ve never heard Franklin complain much about anything at all.
Which makes Franklin’s current de facto retirement status all the more interesting. Franklin hasn’t fought since a knockout loss to Cung Le back in November of 2012. He popped up this past February, insisting that he would fulfill the final fight on his UFC contract once his side business stopped requiring his full attention. (That doesn’t sound like the best situation for a near-40 year old to return to action after a near-two-year layoff.) Then, last month, rumors circulated about Franklin considering a position with Asian MMA promotion ONE FC in some sort of executive role.
Dana White told the media at the UFC on Fox 11 post-fight press conference that the ONE FC arrangement wouldn’t hurt his chances of fighting in the UFC, should he wish to return. That’s the extent of Franklin’s name popping up in the UFC universe, outside of a media day in September in which White openly hoped Franklin would retire.
If Franklin’s interested in a front office, though, why wouldn’t the UFC figure out a way to bring him in? They have Chuck Liddell around the office doing God knows what as the Vice President of Business Development, and they created the position of “Vice President of Athlete Development” for Matt Hughes, who may be the worst possible candidate for that role. Franklin, who is actually running a business, always came off as a consummate professional, and seems like a genuine good dude (outside of some whacko Creationism stuff), would have been better suited for either role. Instead, he’s just sort of eroded away from the UFC consciousness in much the same way as Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Frank Shamrock, despite being a good company man.
Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter.