Though I think Evans will win this fight I do not like the sports betting odds for this fight. Silva opened up at +160. I think the lines should a lot closer and the -195 UFC betting line for Evans is a little off base. I personally don’t like the opening sports betting odds for this fight. Yes I do think that Rashad is going to win this fight but the -195 opening betting lines seem a little steep. The reason why the lines are so steep is because Rashad was on the Ultimate Fighter reality show and he has more exposure than Silva. Betting for mixed martial arts has never been about trends or ability but more about marketing. Because Evans has more exposure he gets favourable betting lines.

We not even know if Thiago Silva is even a top ten fighter yet. This will be his biggest test to set if he is an upper echelon fighter.  Once a member of the renowned Chute Boxe Academy, Thiago now trains with established fighting stable American Top Team. However, one thing is for sure and that is he can fight. The one thing that still needs to be answered about Silva is if he can fight top level fighters. He has only fought only one really top level fighter in Lyoto Machida at UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 where he was KO`èd in the first round. He has an impressive KO over Keith Jardine  at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira which has given him some more credibility but the real test is Rashad Evans.

Striking wise Silva is a better striker. He has been kicks and punches and he is very agressive in his forward attack and his strikes. He will pose some problems for Evans. The one disadvantage about Silva`s striking is that he is not patient. He likes to come forward too much and this puts him in vulnerable situations. Even though Rashad does not have as much skill in the striking department he is a smarter fighter and striker. He likes to be patient and wait and time his strikes. Rashad is not a very aggressive striker and he will wait until it is the perfect time to strike while Silva is more aggressive and puts him in vulnerable positions. Rashad uses a lot of head movements and tries to fake his opponent to throw strikes. Once his makes his opponent throw a punch or kick he will counter attack. Just look at his fight with Chuck Liddell at UFC 88 – Breakthrough. He was patient and waited for Liddell to come in an throw a punch and then he counter attacked and was able to knock out Liddell. Well Silva is an even more aggressive striker than Liddell is and will press the action. This will leave him in a vulnerable position to be hurt by Evans.

Just watch the way Evans moves his head and jives and jukes his body when he fights. When Evans started out he was way over board in the way he moved his body. Now that he has become a more seasoned fighter he uses he his head and body movements to his advantage. Evans will be able to fake Silva into a position where he will be able to hurt him.

Silva has very good Muay Thai kicks. He will be able to land some but once again Evans will be patient and wait for his perfect opportunity. He will bait Silva into a low kick and he will catch it and throw the straight right hand just like he did against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 – The Ultimate 2008. Watch that fight again and you will notice how patient and calculating Evans was in that fight. He rather puts himself in bad positions and will wait for the perfect moment. The same cannot be said for Silva who is an aggressive striker that likes to take risks. Silva is technically a better striker but Evans is the smarter striker and that is the difference.

Grappling wise Silva is a better technical grappler. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has much better skills in grappling department however; it will be very hard for Silva to be able to take him down. Wrestling will nullify Silva`s grappling and jiu-jitsu in this fight. Evans went to Niagara County Community College, where he entered the wrestling program and won the National Junior College championship 165 lb (75 kg) in 2000. He then transferred to Michigan State University, competing in the 174 lb (79 kg) weight class. He started at Michigan State for three years and was one of only four people to ever defeat wrestling legend Greg Jones.
Though Silva is a black belt he has never used his jiujutsu in a fight. His basis of fighting is Muay Thai and Evans base is wrestling and the wrestler will use his striking to set up a takedown for a ground and pound but Silva will not use his striking to set up his grappling. This is the biggest difference between the two fighters. Even though Silva has been individual all round skills like being a better technical striker and grappler he has yet to put them together for an overall mixed martial arts game. That is the difference between a skilled fighter and mixed martial arts fighter.

Bottom Line: Both fighters come from great MMA camps but Evans trains with Greg Jackson and he is the best trainer in mixed martial arts today. He will come up with a game plan to fight Silva. He will adjust his fight plan for Silva. Thiago already beat a Greg Jackson fighter in Keith Jardine. Silva knocked out Jardine with a left hook and ground and pound stopping the fight at 1:35 minutes  of the first round at UFC 102. You might be able to beat Greg Jackson once but not twice. Evans is a very smart fighter and will listen to whatever game plan Jackson comes up with. Again Evans is the smarter fighter and will use his corner to his advantage. American Top Team is one of the best camps in the world but they do lack a technical component for their fighters to bring into a fight.

Even though I don’t like the UFC betting odds you still have to bet on Evans to win this fight. Rashad will have extra motivation for this because Dana White was quoted as saying that if Evans could defeat Thiago Silva at UFC 108, then he would go on to face Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.  

Rashad is a notoriously slow fighter. He likes to wait for his opportunity. He usually starts to pick up the fight in the second round. He will frustrate the pressure of Silva and will start to take over the fight in the third round. A good UFC prop bet to make is for this fight to go into the third round.