Savage Brazilian striker, Thiago Silva, moves up to heavyweight on short notice to fight British bruiser, James McSweeney. Both fighters are UFC veterans and will want to put on a show for the KSW fans in London, England. A few Euro Books are offering lines on this fight.
The Ultimate Journeyman
With 15 wins and 16 losses on his MMA record, James McSweeney always comes to fight and doesn’t mind going out on his shield. Now 37-years-of-age, McSweeney has been fighting muay thai since he was a teenager and has an enormous amount of mileage on his body. Despite his extensive striking experience, McSweeney has never been the most refined technician. He is, however, a big strong guy that can put anyone away with one of his flying knees or overhand rights.
While he was obliterated against the fence by a good opponent in Karol Bedorf, he gave UFC prospect, Tai Tuivasa, a decent run for his money in a sloppy one round fight where McSweeney retired due to injury. Although McSweeney scored an emphatic victory in a kickboxing match earlier this year, the performance does not inspire confidence. He also dropped a decision in muay thai against Yassine Boughanem not long ago.
McSweeney can crack and his best chance to win would be to throw caution to the wind. In a brawl, he could land something big and put Silva away. Given that he’ll have a huge size advantage, it’s possible McSweeney will choose to grapple – but looking at his fight with Paul Buentello, I don’t think his ground game is up to scratch.
How Shopworn is Silva?
At 35 years of age, Silva may have lost a step athletically – but he’s still a highly skilled fighter. While his record has been mixed since leaving the UFC, there are plenty of positives you can take away.
Once known as a supremely aggressive kickboxer, Silva has been more conservative in recent outings. Although he dropped a decision to Mikhail Kolobegov, Silva put on good defensive performance which prevented his Russian opponent from landing too many flush shots. Kolobegov throws excellent boxing combinations and Silva did well to keep the fight competitive over three rounds.
Against brawling power puncher, Daniel Toledo, Silva had to weather an early storm but eventually took over with his superior defense and more technical offense. While he doesn’t throw many combinations, his punches are always accurate and his inside leg kicks are effective. The pull back right hand he landed to finish his opponent was beautiful. In his kickboxing debut for Glory, Silva also put on a good technical performance to earn a unanimous decision victory. Skill for skill, he has a huge advantage over McSweeney in this bout.
So long as Silva fights intelligently, picks his shots and avoids a brawl – he should absolutely win this. Moving up to heavyweight on short notice could be reason for concern, but it’s not like McSweeney is a great wrestler that can make a size advantage pay off. McSweeney likes to strike at range, yet he’ll be going against a much more sophisticated striker.
Even if McSweeney does take the fight to the mat, it’s worth remembering Silva is a jiu-jitsu black belt and won’t be out of his depth. McSweeney is not good in scrambles and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets reversed if is able to land a takedown. In a bout between two aggressive strikers, I’ll happily pick the fighter with a huge technical advantage (offensively and defensively).
Pick: Thiago Silva -250
Check out my other KSW 45 betting predictions.