UFC Fight Night 74 is set to go down tonight (August 23, 2015) live on FOX Sports 1 from Saskatoon, SK, Canada. In the co-main event, Erick Silva was scheduled to take on Rick Story, but Story was forced to pull out, leading Neil Magny to step up and take on Silva on short notice.
Silva admits that the strategy had to be changed of course, but he feels as if he and his team did it perfectly:
“We had to change our strategy, of course, but we always train everything,” Silva told MMAFighting.com. “””We have to train wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing and muay thai. If the other guy is tall, short, a wrestler or a striker, we have to train everything. The strategy changes, but we did it perfectly.”
Silva also stated that he believes Story is a more complicated opponent, but he’s not underestimating Magny. The Brazilian is going into the bout expecting to face the best fighter he’s ever seen:
“Neil Magny is taller and likes to strike, and Rick Story is shorter and is a complete fighter. I don’t see Rick Story as tougher, but he’s more complicated due to his style,” Silva said. “You have to be focused on not getting taken down when you strike. Neil Magny likes to trade more. He also has good takedowns, but a top MMA athlete has to be ready for everything today.
“We can’t underestimate anyone,” he continued. “We have to attack when we see an opportunity. He can get you down at any moment, so I won’t get too comfortable and think that he won’t take me down. I’m going into this fight thinking that I’m fighting the best wrestler, the best striker, and the best grappler in the division. I won’t underestimate him. I’m focused, and I won’t give him any opening.”
Magny currently sits at No. 15 in the UFC welterweight rankings, while Silva is currently unranked, but that doesn’t matter. Silva stated that no matter who he’s fighting, he plans to win, and keep moving up the rankings:
“Every fighter wants to move up the rankings, but the win is more important to me,” Silva said. “I will fight the same way, it doesn’t matter if I’m fighting the No. 10 of 15 in the rankings. But my goal is to move up the rankings, of course. I’m getting closer after every fight. I have more experience now, more confident in my training. I will fight him, I will win, and move up step by step.”
Magny’s last performance came earlier this month, when he was submitted by Brazilian grappling ace Demain Maia. Silva said that although Maia dominated Magny, Magny doesn’t necessarily have a weak ground game.
The Brazilian feels as if he will have many opportunities to win, also claiming that Magny’s never faced anyone tougher:
“There was no fight, basically. Demian completely dominated him,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we can say Magny has a weak ground game. Demain has a high level ground game, and he did the strategy that worked better for him, and I will do what works for me.
“I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu and muay thai, and I believe I have a lot of opportunities standing and on the ground. I have heavy hands, too. I haven’t seen Magny fight someone as tough as me or with hands as heavy as mine.”
In closing, Silva said that there’s no secret to him, as he’s an explosive fighter constantly on the hunt for the finish:
“I’m an explosive athlete and I like to throw punches and kicks on the right time. There’s no secret,” he said. “I will capitalize and finish when I see an opening, standing or on the ground. I can’t say I’m looking to keep the fight standing only. I will find out during the fight where I feel better, and where I can finish him faster.”
Who do you see taking this?