Fans inside the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand once again witnessed his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu powers. He stifled Rahardian on the ground and locked in a brilliant armbar to earn a second-round submission victory.
The Thai fans expected a grappling clinic, and Silva delivered a masterful performance reminiscent of when he conquered the undefeated Yoshitaka Naito to become the ONE Strawweight World Champion in Bangkok back in December 2017.
“Thailand is a very special place for me. The first time I competed there, I won the belt and became champion. And now, it feels like God planned for me to get back here and win again,” Silva stated.
Getting back on the winner’s road has been a goal for “Little Rock,” especially since he came agonizingly close to a victory in his last bout in May.
This win has now moved him a step closer to reclaiming his status as one of the division’s leading competitors.
Silva exuded a calm-in-the-storm vibe that helped him tactically unlock Rahardian’s Carlson Gracie jiu-jitsu defense to score the armbar that ultimately led to victory.
Despite being a black belt – one of the sport’s highest honors – and a Copa do Mundo BJJ World Champion, Silva came into the contest prepared for a tough match.
“I know Rahardian is a good fighter, and he would have trained hard for this,” Silva said. “He is also great at grappling, so I expected it to be tough to get the finish. He defended well when I attempted the choke, so I tried for the armbar and it worked.”
At 36 years old, the Brazilian veteran still views each match as a chance to learn, take risks, and challenge himself.
Unable to lock in the rear-naked choke in the first round, Silva attempted a submission in the second, even though he knew he could lose the leverage he had enjoyed all match.
“Towards the end when I had his back again in the second round, my corner told me there were 30 seconds left on the clock,” Silva recalled. “That was when I told myself it’s now or never, and I had to take the risk and try for the armbar, even if meant losing position. I tried it, and it worked!”
Falling back to his BJJ roots seemed to be the strategy that Silva planned for, and to his credit, the Evolve MMA representative executed it perfectly.
Looking to reinsert himself into the divisional rankings, a resurgent Silva knows exactly when and where to start.
“I would like to ask ONE Championship to please give me a chance to compete here in my hometown of Singapore in November,” he said.
“I have fought all the contenders and top guys in the division, so I’m hoping for a new challenge. But whoever ONE Championship gives me next, I will accept, hopefully in November here in Singapore.”
ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, takes place on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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