Alex Silva has a lot of momentum behind him. The Brazilian brings a four-fight winning streak into Friday night’s ONE: Legends of the World match-up with Hayato Suzuki. He hasn’t lost a bout since 2012 and appears to be on the cusp of a strawweight title shot.
However, he’s going up against an opponent with a very impressive record at the MOA Arena in Manila. Suzuki has fought 19 times and has yet to lose, but the Brazilian doesn’t know how the Japanese star measures up against his seven previous opponents.
“If you talk in terms of numbers, he probably is my best opponent as he is undefeated. However, I can only really answer that question properly after the fight.”
He watched Suzuki submit Joshua Pacio on his ONE Championship debut and wasn’t surprised by the Japanese fighter’s strategy,
“I did watch it. The fight went the way I expected it. I know he’s a good grappler, so I expected him to want to take it to the ground and get the finish, no surprises for me.”
“I think I match up well with him. We both are grapplers, so I think it will be an exciting grappling battle, a Brazilian vs. Japanese grappling battle.”
Pacio was coming off a win over Silva’s Evolve MMA teammate Dejdamrong when he succumbed to Suzuki. The two training partners are both in title contention and the Brazilian says they aren’t too concerned about who is currently top of the queue.
“We are both at the top of the division, so it’s good for our team. It doesn’t matter so much to me which one of us wins the title next. Dejdamrong is my good friend and training partner, we train and push each other every day in the gym. When I become champ, he will be a part of that, like part of the title is his. And the same goes for me when he wins the title.”
A fifth straight ONE Championship win would surely put Silva within touching distance of reigning ONE champion Yoshitaka Naito, but he’s not got a particular timetable in mind for that match-up.
“For me, I don’t think too much about the title. I focus on beating the person they put in front of me to take towards my goal of being the best fighter in my division in the world. If I keep doing that the belt will come along as a result of that, but I don’t focus on it.”
The creation of a strawweight division has definitely enhanced Silva’s career prospects. His only loss came in a flyweight fight against Geje Eustaquio, he’s undefeated in ONE Championship’s lightest division, and feels that size has been a factor behind this success.
“It’s been good. I feel I get to now fight guys my own size, which makes it a fairer fight. I use to fight guys that were much bigger as they used to cut a lot of weight, whereas I didn’t cut any at all at flyweight. “
Having fought on ONE Championship’s second ever show, Silva is something of a promotional veteran. He has been with the organization since virtually its inception and has held his own competing in two completely different divisions.
The next step would be to fight for the title, but the Brazilian has never faced an opponent with the experience or reputation of Suzuki. It’s a massive challenge for Silva, but one that could pave the way for him to challenge for the ONE Championship strawweight belt.
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