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Can Thiago Silva Afford To Lose At UFC 102?

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Thiago Silva is coming off a butt whipping against the now UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 94.  A loss to Machida is nothing to be ashamed of, but that loss did derail the hype train that had begun to form around the Brazilian.  He'll be looking to right the ship against the always tough Keith Jardine at UFC 102 in the co-main event.  A loss to Jardine wouldn't be anything to sneeze at either, but on the flip side we have to look at just exactly who has Thiago Silva beaten?  I think a lot of the hype began once Silva became the first guy to beat Houston Alexander after Alexander had two impressive victories in the UFC.  This is no disrespect to Houston, but he isn't exactly a top light heavyweight.  Then Silva faced UFC newcomer Antonio Mendes who had Silva rocked twice only to miss a take down and wind up mounted by Silva and get pounded out.  Mendes has since lost 3 fights in a row since that bout and is no longer in the UFC.  So he hasn't exactly beaten stellar competition.  

As mentioned, SIlva has a loss to the best LHW in the world in Machida, a loss to Jardine would be against a top ten LHW.  The UFC light heavyweight division is absolutely stacked, and quite possibly the most stacked division ever.  Silva isn't known by a great deal of casual fans, and he doesn't speak English.   I suppose it would depend on his performance in a loss, but can Thiago Silva afford to lose at UFC 102?  

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