Welcome to the UFC, Taylor & Silva

The UFC talent signing onslaught continues. At last count the promotion has brought in about twenty new fighters over the last month, that’s as…

By: Zane Simon | 7 years ago
Welcome to the UFC, Taylor &  Silva
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The UFC talent signing onslaught continues. At last count the promotion has brought in about twenty new fighters over the last month, that’s as much as three times as many signings as similar stretches in early 2016. So, it’s no surprise that there are two more new faces to talk about, expecting to make their debuts on upcoming cards. Danielle Taylor is stepping in for the injured Justine Kish at UFC Salt Lake, to take on Maryna Moroz in a strawweight bout. And Felipe Silva has gotten the call for the UFC’s upcoming UFC on Fox 21 card in Vancouver, where he’ll be facing lightweight Shane Campbell. So…

Who is Danielle Taylor?

“Dynamite” is a 26-year-old fighter training out of Saekson Muay Thai in Van Nuys, California. It appears to be a pretty small camp, but plays host to UFC welterweight Alan Jouban among others. She’ll be entering the UFC with a 7-1 record having fought her entire career under the King of the Cage banner. She’s the two-time KOTC strawweight champ, having lost the belt via 4th round stoppage against Jamie Colleen, only to regain it this year with a 5th round stoppage in the rematch. Otherwise, Taylor’s record is about what you’d expect for a WMMA fighter on the regional circuit, which is to say her opposition are almost universally inexperienced. KOTC seems to have done a decent job increasing her level of competition slowly, but she has yet to face a seasoned vet. Outside of MMA, Taylor works with the LA County sheriff’s department and has a background in Karate and Taekwondo.

What you should expect:

Standing just 5’ 0” Taylor is pretty small even for strawweight and has considered dropping to 105 in the past. Perhaps because of this size disadvantage, Taylor isn’t really much of a combination striker. She tends to wait out at range, looking for opportunities to jump into the pocket behind big single strikes, from which she’ll transition to the bodylock and, if she can, the takedown. She’s shown the ability to use her short stature and powerful frame to generate some good throws and takedowns with her low center of gravity in the past, but just as often she’s found herself having trouble finding leverage as the smaller fighter in the clinch. So far her biggest advantage over many opponents is just speed and power. She’s willing to take one to give one, but her shots usually come quicker and with more pop behind them. She looks like the rare WMMA strawweight with real stopping power.

What this means for her debut:

Maryna Moroz is going to ask some serious questions of Taylor in this fight. Not only is Moroz seven inches taller than Taylor, but unlike other past, larger opponents, Moroz probably won’t be giving up much in hand speed and definitely won’t be giving up anything in striking technique. Taylor will definitely have the raw power advantage, but will power alone be enough to close the size/technical gap? I just don’t think so. It’s too easy to see Moroz picking away at range, where Taylor can be hittable. Add that Moroz hasn’t been stopped before, and the potential for a Taylor KO doesn’t seem that likely.

To get us better acquainted, here’s Taylor’s recent fight with the 5’ 6” Callie Cutler:

Who is Felipe Silva?

For starters, the 31-year-old Silva is the rare Brazilian fighter who seems to neither have a common nickname that he uses instead of a given name, nor a long string of names he’s shortened into something simpler. The second part of that is probably wrong, and the more we learn about him the more complicated I’m sure he’ll get. But for now, he’s just Felipe Silva. He fights out of Pro Fight Team in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, but has also spent time at CM System under Cristiano Marcello and home to Elizeu Zaleski. He’s coming to the UFC with a 7-0 record and off the biggest win of his career over UFC vet Anton Kuivanen. Otherwise, Silva’s record is notably short on competitive opposition. Outside MMA Silva has his background as a Muay Thai fighter.

What you should expect:

True to his chest tattoo, the base of Silva’s cage game is Muay Thai. He tends to keep a somewhat tall, narrow stance, firing kicks at range while looking for opportunities to clinch up and deliver hard knees inside. He has problems short-arming his punches, opting for hooks over longer straighter shots, and generally seems to be a much cleaner kicker than he is with his hands. He will bite down on his mouthpiece and brawl a bit, but he tends to swing wild when he does and without a ton of accuracy.

His takedown game is largely based off trips and throws from the clinch and Thai plum, and isn’t as consistent as it needs to be to work at a high level. He does seem to have decent takedown defense against the cage (although less so against chain wrestling) and is reasonably adept at scrambling to his feet quickly. He combines that with an active aggressive guard game, moving his hips well for triangles and armbars.

What this means for his debut:

On the upside, Silva’s probably going to get a lot of the fight he wants, because Shane Campbell is principally a striker himself. However, Campbell’s shown he can mix in some takedowns and grappling, and while he’s not the most physically overwhelming athlete in the world, he can be tough to put away and will fight at an extremely high pace for 15 minutes. This feels a lot like the Elias Silverio win for Campbell to me, the biggest difference being that Silverio had a lot better record. I have to call this a coinflip though, because despite his relentlessness, Campbell has been too beatable in the UFC for me to trust that he can take wins just off tenacity and style.

To get us better acquainted, check out Silva’s 2015 bout against Chicho Irigoitia in Paraguay:

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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