You only get one chance to make a first impression. For Professional Fighters Leauge contender Josenaldo Silva, that first impression could not have gone any worse. Still, the Brazilian aims to introduce MMA fans to the real “Naldo.”
Silva made his mark competing in Jungle Fights, long considered Brazil’s best MMA promotion, along with other regional organizations. A 25-4 run put Silva in a position to face off against the former WSOF bantamweight champion, Marlon Moraes. The fight was billed as a contest between two outstanding Brazilian athletes. However, the fight was short-lived as Silva’s U.S. debut would be cut short due to a knee injury.
“The reality is, I actually injured my knee in training for my last fight with Marlon,” Silva said through an interpreter. “I was sparring and got kicked in the side of the knee. It twisted my knee and dislocated it. After going to the doctor, everything checked out okay and there was no damage to my meniscus or the ligaments.”
Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to join one of the premier MMA organizations, Silva went forward with the fight. And while the bout didn’t go his way at WSOFNYC, Silva has yet another golden opportunity to impress fans at PFL: Fight Night in Washington D.C. After facing the division’s longtime champion in his WSOF debut, “Naldo” faces the man now considered to be the best 135-pound fighter currently on the roster, Timur Valiev.
“My objective in this organization isn’t to pick and choose opponents. I will leave that to the PFL,” Silva said. “I am a fighter. I will go out and do my work to prepare, and fight the best fight possible.”
Valiev last competed at WSOF33, taking home an unanimous decision win against Chris Gutierrez in their rematch. The win pushed the Russian’s record to 11-2 and cemented his place atop the bantamweight rankings in Moraes’ absence. Looking to insert his own name into that conversation, the Brazilian will look to showcase what a healthy “Naldo” looks like.
“I don’t have any concerns going into the fight with Timur,” Silva said. “Not with my knee or with his fighting abilities. I am preparing to go to war with him and I understand he is a tough, high level fighter. I think he is a complete fighter but I feel my standup will be key in establishing my rhythm and believe this is the path to my victory.”
The fight against Valiev will represent a clash between two of the best 135-pound fighters currently on the roster. But for Silva, it represents so much more. Looking for more opportunities in regards to training, Silva opted to stay in the U.S. after his fight with Moraes. “Naldo” has been unable to see his wife and two children since the move but aims to use his fight purse to help with the costs of reuniting with his family.
Silva was already a dangerous fighter to begin with. But now it’s not just fighting to win, it’s a fight for his family. With perhaps no better form of motivation, Silva’s desire to see his family could be the ultimate X factor at PFL:Fight Night.
The Nov. 2 event will hail from the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. and will round out the PFL’s 2017 schedule. The show will be streamed live at ProfessionalFightersLeague.com, Facebook Live, YouTube, Periscope, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App.
Full Fight card: