Let’s get into a time machine and go back to 2008. EliteXC was the number two promotion after the UFC, $kala was a thing we all got to experience, and a hot young prospect out of Anderson Silva’s Black House named Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante knocked out all three of his opponents in the first round. Feijao was supposed to be the next great Brazilian light heavyweight, but instead he has struggled to cement himself when put up against top flight competition.
First there was the stunning first round knockout by Mike Kyle in 2009 that made people question Cavalcante’s chin. Dan Henderson tested his chin again in 2011 and knocked him out to take the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt. And now Thiago Silva has once again shown that Feijao doesn’t have the kind of iron head you need to engage in the kind of firefights he finds himself in too regularly.
It’s hard to shit too much on a guy who only has four losses – one a DQ loss for an illegal upkick and another to one of the best fighters in the history of the sport. But the loss to Thiago Silva cements a point in Cavalcante’s career where he’s no longer a rising prospect but a middling veteran who may find himself closer to gatekeeper than contender if things don’t turn around.
And turn around they could – Cavalcante’s wins contain many flashes of genius and he has the ability to beat pretty much anyone on any night. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up having an Anderson Silva style epiphany that sets his career on fire and turns him into one of the greatest fighters ever. But that doesn’t seem to be the way things are going for him right now.