Patience is one of Alex “Little Rock” Silva’s many virtues. It has helped the 36-year-old mixed martial artist regain his footing in the sport he loves.
After losing three straight, “Little Rock” returned to winning ways when he defeated Chinese grappler Peng Xue Wen at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS on Friday, 22 November.
Silva looked imperious on the ground against Peng, a noted wrestler, and finished the Chinese athlete with a slick armbar – his second submission win in three months.
In his bout last Friday, the Brazilian showed a more patient and composed side of himself as he displayed acute striking to close the distance for the winning takedown.
“My strategy this time was to try everything and not just get into BJJ quickly. It felt good to be able to test out my striking and that got me out of my comfort zone, which is important as I need to keep improving,” Silva said.
“I knew the first few minutes he was going to defend well because he’s a good wrestler. My expectation was to keep putting pressure on him, and I was confident I would eventually get the submission, so there was no rush.”
The Singapore-based Brazilian is a highly accomplished practitioner in the field of “the gentle art.” Silva is a third-degree black belt and a Copa do Mundo BJJ World Champion.
Ground game aside, the Brazilian is sharpening his striking, which he believes is the natural complement to his BJJ mastery.
“I always try to fight in the smartest way as possible to get the win,” Silva said.
“I used to lose some position on the ground because I was constantly diving for the submission and looking for the knockout. I now realize it is also important to wait and learn to control the match, which makes a big difference.”
Silva’s skills are best employed when his opponents are on the ground, and Peng was no exception to that rule.
After securing the all-important takedown, the Evolve representative quickly advanced to full mount and slapped on a rolling armbar, which ended the contest.
“Once I got into mount, I knew the chance was there, especially when my corner was yelling ‘30 seconds.’ I performed the technique just like I did every day in training,” he said.
Now the proud owner of nine wins overall and a phenomenal eight of those by submission, Silva is still happy to modify his game to continue winning.
“I want to be a complete fighter, not just a grappler. My background is BJJ, so I guess that’s why it almost always ends with a submission, but I’m also getting more comfortable in trying new styles,” he said.
“It depends who I face – I adopt a different strategy each time and so far, I’ve been very pleased with the results.”
There is no better way to end the year than with a win. To achieve victory on the global stage in front of his adopted home crowd and his family who traveled from Brazil to support him, the win feels extra special to “Little Rock.”
“I’m very happy to see my family and everyone in Singapore,” Silva said.
“They will be here for the week, so we are taking the time to enjoy it, and once the break is over, I will be back in training and getting ready for my next match, whenever it is.”
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