Brown set to drop more than phone calls

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

May 9, 2014

CINCINNATI —Matt Brown looked relaxed, loose and ready to fight. Now he just needs some self-proclaimed “friends” to stop bugging him for ringside tickets.

The Jamestown native put a pair of sparring partners through Thursday’s vigorous final routine in preparation for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event against Brazilian Erick Silva. He even knocked the tiny beads of stuffing out of one partner’s protective padding.

He’d probably like to knock the stuffing out of some of his so-called friends who have hounded him for tickets to the fights.

“Yeah, I would say I’ve been distracted more than usual,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of people asking for tickets, but nobody realizing that I only get a couple tickets for my family. I can’t just hand them out to the whole world. I’m kinda surprised that people can’t seem to figure that out.

“There’s more Facebook messages, and everyone coming out of the woodwork — people who bullied me as a kid, and now they’re my best friend. Apparently we were best friends when I was a kid and I wasn’t being bullied. I just didn’t realize it. (he laughs) … Some people see it as a distraction. I see it as one moment where I see some dumb message, and throw it out.”

Brown, Silva and middleweight fighters Costas Philippou and Lorenz Larkin each staged half-hour long workouts in front of their fans and the media, Thursday in a stately conference room of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.

Only Brown stayed after to sign autographs for fans.

Saturday’s fight will be Silva’s second fight on American soil. Sparring partner and former IVC world mixed martial arts champion Wallid Ismail interpreted Silva’s comments after his workout.

“I’d like to fight more in America, so that I can have more American fans who can see how I have improved,” Silva said via Ismail. “American fans appreciate my work, and I’m glad to come back and show what I can do.”

Ismail downplayed the fact that a lot of Las Vegas bookmakers have Silva as a 2:1 favorite to defeat Brown, despite the fact Brown is ranked no. 7 among UFC welterweights and Silva is currently 14th.

“Here’s what matters: He don’t care that much about the betting or what people have to say about how the fight will turn out. He cares about what he’s trained for. And, if he stays focused, he’s going to win the fight,” Ismail told reporters.

Brown (20-11-0) has won his last six fights, the longest active streak in the UFC’s welterweight division. Four of those six fights have ended in 4:20 or less. Of those fights, Brown won each of them by knockout or technical knockout.

Reminded of those same 2:1 odds, the confident smile came off Brown’s face for an instant.

“Yeah, it definitely doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “There’s no way I can ignore it, because I’ve been asked that question 800 times. … Even looking at it from an un-biased position, it just doesn’t make any sense statistically or odds wise. I have no idea why they did that. Maybe they know something I don’t.”

While the fight is scheduled to go five rounds in UFC’s famous octagon cage, neither fighter has gone five rounds against UFC competition. Silva (16-4-0) currently ranks first among active UFC fighters for quickest finish to a fight. His matches go an average of 4:24 in length. And he’s second in the UFC in submission hold average with 2.44 submission tries for every 15 minutes of work.

With Silva’s striking and submission abilities, Brown is going into the fight expecting everything and anything. But Brown knows that his constant offensive pressure gives opponents fits as well.

“With his style, I don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s wild as Hell. For all I know, he might try to throw a double spinning flip kick or something, you know? He brings an amount of unpredictability that you’re not going to get in a lot of other fighters. … I have my puzzle and he has his. That’s why we’re going into the octagon Saturday night to figure it all out,” Brown said.

Thirteen fights are scheduled for Saturday night’s fight card at Cincinnati’s US Bank Arena. Some tickets are still available at the arena box office or by paying a visit to ticketmaster.com.

Just please don’t call Matt Brown.