Cain Velasquez to defend UFC Heavyweight Crown in Rematch with Antonio Silva at UFC 160
UFC 160 takes place this Memorial Day weekend at the MGM Grand down in Las Vegas on Saturday May 25. As with most UFC events, this one has another mouthwatering main event with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez of the U.S. taking on Antonio Silva of Brazil. The co-main event has the potential to be a beauty too as former heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos will battle it out with Mark Hunt. There’s also a plethora of good undercard matchups for the fans and bettors.
The Velasquez vs Silva bout is a rematch of their showdown last year at UFC 146. Velasquez dominated that bout with some superb ground-and-pound work down on the canvas and he walked out of the octagon with a TKO in the very first round. Meanwhile, Dos Santos is hoping to take out Hunt so he can set up a third meeting with Velasquez.
Velasquez is quite a force to deal with and this can be seen in his mixed martial arts record of 11-1. He’s 9-1 since joining the UFC. This will just be Silva’s fourth UFC bout, he’s 2-1 so far, but has an overall MMA record 18-4. However, since losing to Velasquez last year he’s won both of his UFC bouts. However, he certainly needs to do something different against the champion this time around if he’s going to take the title or survive the five rounds.
During their first battle, Velasquez put Silva down to the mat on his back shortly after the opening bell rang. Silva started bleeding from a well-placed elbow soon after that and it was all downhill from there for him. The smaller Velasquez just kept battering Silva from above while his helpless foe was becoming a bit of a bloody mess. Silva then caught a break when the referee stopped the action and asked the octagon doctor to check him out. Once the doctor allowed the fight to continue Velasquez continued with his vicious assault and the contest was called off at the 3:36 mark of the opening round.
Velasquez seemed to be a man on a mission that night as he wanted to prove he was the top dog in the heavyweight division after Dos Santos had beaten him for the belt. Velasquez won the title back in a rematch with Dos Santos back at UFC 155 in December when he took a five-round decision from him. Since Velasquez demolished Silva in their first fight, many fans are wondering how Silva worked his way into a rematch.
But Silva managed to beat Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 by a third-round stoppage and it’s too soon for a third Velasquez vs Dos Santos showdown. Silva also beat Travis Browne back in October and those two wins elevated him to top-contender status. Velasquez will have to make sure he doesn’t take Silva too lightly in this bout since the challenger still has the power to hurt any heavyweight around if he connects on them with his powerful fists.
Being a professional, Velasquez should realize this and he won’t be overconfident going into the fight. He still has a lot to prove and will be motivated against Silva, but will probably stick with the same game plan what was so successful for him at the UFC 146 event. Silva will need to show a better takedown defense if he hopes to stay on his feet. If he can’t remain upright then he’s going to be in serious trouble against the champion once again. Velasquez just won’t give up and if Silva manages to fend off a few takedown attempts he’ll just keep on trying until he’s successful. Sooner or later Velasquez will likely take Silva down and when he does, that could be all she wrote.
Silva has problems when facing agile and mobile opponents since they have a way of getting inside and close to him. If the battle is fought on their feet he’ll find that Velasquez is pretty good at throwing kicks and punches, often in combination, and will be hard to handle. For Silva to take the title he’ll need to hurt Velasquez with his fists or utilize his jiu-jitsu skills by going for the sweep and reverse. He’s not as fast as the champion and simply can’t afford to fight from his back. His best bet is going with a heavy top game.
The bookmakers don’t seem to like Silva’s chances though since he’s listed as the underdog here. Odds on a Silva upset range from 7/2 (+350) to 11/2 (+550). Velasquez’s odds range from 1/6 (-600) to 2/17 (-850)