Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 1:26PM; Updated: Wed May 22, 2013 4:43PM
Jeff Wagenheim
Jeff Wagenheim>INSIDE MMA

A crash course to UFC 160: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva 2

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Crash Course: Velasquez vs. Silva 2
Everything you need to know about this weekend's big fight.
 
Overview
 
Antonio Silva (right) is looking to avenge his UFC 146 loss to Cain Velasquez. (Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Cain Velasquez is defending his UFC heavyweight championship against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET, PPV, $54.99).

The 30-year-old Velasquez (11-1), who ranks No. 5 in SI.com’s pound-for-pound hierarchy and at the top of the heap among heavies, will be trying for the second time to make a successful title defense. He first became champion back in October 2010, dominating the to-that-point indomitable Brock Lesnar and finishing him via first-round technical knockout. Velasquez reigned for over a year -- but only because shoulder surgery kept him out of the octagon. He returned in November 2011, facing Junior dos Santos in the first UFC fight televised on the Fox network. It lasted only 64 seconds, with the Brazilian taking the belt by KO. But last Dec. 29 Velasquez battered Dos Santos for 25 minutes in the rematch, regaining the title via lopsided unanimous decision.

Silva (18-4), No. 5 among heavyweights in the SI.com rankings, has climbed into title contention by being a master of the upset. His most notable victory came in February 2011, during the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, when he beat up the renowned Fedor Emelianenko to the point where the cageside doctor stopped the fight after two rounds. The 33-year-old Brazilian followed that moment of glory by losing two straight, to Daniel Cormier and Velasquez, but then got back to upsetting the apple cart. First he knocked out Travis Browne, a rising star in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Then, on Feb. 2, he spoiled the promotion’s plans to book Alistair Overeem a championship fight, knocking out the trash-talking Reem to grab away the title shot.

In addition to the pay-per-view telecast of the five-fight main card, four prelims will be shown on FX (8 p.m. ET) and three will stream on the UFC s Facebook page (6 p.m.). SI.com will have a blow-by-blow live blog Saturday night.

 
Background


At the post-fight press conference following Silva’s upset of Overeem, UFC president Dana White was asked whether “Bigfoot” had earned a chance at the heavyweight belt. He said, “I wouldn’t be opposed to that.” Whereupon I wrote, “Yeah, but the local emergency room might be.”

When Velasquez and Silva met the first time, last Memorial Day weekend, the fight was over in five seconds. It didn’t actually end then, but that’s the amount of time that elapsed before Cain had the big guy on his back. The once and future champ then proceeded to use fists and elbows to pummel Silva into a bloody mess before the bout mercifully was stopped at 3:36 of the first round.

But Silva has been on a tear since then. It’s not just that he has won two straight fights; it’s how he won them that’s eye-opening. He’s known as “Bigfoot,” but a more telling nickname would be “Bigfist.” The guy really packs a punch. We didn’t get a chance to see that in the first Velasquez fight. If Silva can remain upright this time, though, he’ll have his opportunity to make the champ not upright.

Last Five Fights
Velasquez Silva
12/19/12 Junior dos Santos W UD 5 2/2/13 Alistair Overeem W KO (punches) 3
5/26/12 Antonio Silva W TKO (punches) 1 10/5/12 Travis Browne W TKO (punches) 1
11/12/11 Junior dos Santos L KO (punches) 1 5/26/12 Cain Velasquez L TKO (punches) 1
10/23/10 Brock Lesnar W TKO (punches) 1 9/10/11 Daniel Cormier L KO (punches) 1
2/21/10 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira W TKO (punches) 1 2/12/11 Fedor Emelianenko W TKO (doctor stoppage) 2
Career Record Career Record
 
Tale of the Tape
Velasquez
vs.
Silva
July 28, 1982
Birth Date
Sept. 14, 1979
Salinas, Calif.
Birthplace
Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil
San Jose, Calif.
Residence
Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil
11-1
Record
18-4
240*
Weight
262*
6'1''
Height
6'4''
77"
Reach
82"
Official weights announced at Friday's weigh-in (7 p.m. ET, Fuel TV)
 
Other Numbers To Count On


53: Strikes landed by Velasquez in the 3:36 the first fight with Silva lasted.

3: Strikes landed by Silva that night.

6.37: Strikes landed per minute by Velasquez over his UFC career, the most in the promotion’s history. Silva lands 2.76.

9: Knockouts among Velasquez’s 11 victories. Silva has 13 KO’s (plus three submissions) in 18 wins.

88: Percentage of successful takedown defense by Velasquez. Silva defends at a 63 percent rate, but was on his back within five seconds in the first meeting. And never got up.

 
Greatest Hits
Velasquez (in Dos Santos rematch): Bigfoot (vs. Fedor Emelianenko):
 
Matchup


Silva knows the score. I would have to be born again to become faster than Cain Velasquez, he said through a translator during a conference call with MMA reporters last week. I ve got 30 pounds on him. He s going to be faster than me. So I need to work with what I have, and what I have is very, very heavy hands.

No argument there. This is a matchup of speed vs. power, of athleticism vs. size. Ultimately, winning vs. losing will likely be determined by this: top vs. bottom. When Bigfoot gets on top of an opppnent, he s so cumbersome that he tends to stay on top and inflict damage while he s there. And when Velasquez grabs top position, as he did early on in their first fight, we ve already seen how difficult the two-time Division I All-American wrestler is to get out from under.

Fighting from the bottom would not bode well for Silva s game plan for the rematch. Which is: Overall, the main strategy is just not to let his elbows get near my forehead.

Smart strategy.


 
Fighting Words


"This is a whole new fight. Obviously we saw what Bigfoot can do in his past two fights. You can’t take him lightly."
--Cain Velasquez

"There are no superheroes in this sport. Nobody is invincible."
--Antonio Silva on Velasquez

 
The Odds


Velasquez is a huge favorite, with VegasInsider.com setting the odds at -700 (1/7) for the champ, +500 (5/1) for Silva.


 
Prediction


That noted MMA expert Albert Einstein is said to have defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The physicist would have theorized, then, that the law of gravity will apply to this rematch in precisely the same way it applied to the first meeting. Which is to say: Silva’s going down again. The big man does have what it takes to beat the champ -- two fists potent enough to knock out any man -- but he does not have what it takes to put those fistic tools to work on Velasquez. Silva got to Overeem because the Dutchman was sloppily overconfident, not to mention a bit slow. Those openings will not be there against Cain. Sure, it’s reasonable to expect this fight to be more competitive than the last one. How could it not be? But Velasquez is simply too fast, too explosive, too good. We’d be crazy to pick “Bigfoot,” wouldn’t we, Albert? Velasquez by TKO.


 
Must-See Photo
 
This bloody photo pretty much sums up how Velasquez vs. Silva 1 went in May 2012.
 

The Tweet Beat
 
 

Join the conversation about Velasquez-Silva 2 on Twitter. Track the hashtag #VelasquezSilva to see who's tweeting what about Saturday's fight. And get blow-by-blow coverage on SI.com via Loretta Hunt s live blog.

· @cainmma (Cain Velasquez)

· @BigfootSilva (Antonio Silva)

· @AKA_HQ (American Kickboxing Academy)

· @akajav (Javier Mendez, Velasquez's head trainer)

· @americantopteam (American Top Team)

· @ufc (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

· @jeffwagenheim (SI.com's Jeff Wagenheim)

· @lorettahuntmma (SI.com's Loretta Hunt)

· @MelissaSeguraSI (SI.com's Melissa Segura)

· @KevinI (Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports MMA/boxing writer)

· @chuckmindenhall (Chuck Mindenhall, ESPN.com MMA writer)

· @JoshGrossESPN (Josh Gross, ESPN.com MMA writer)

· @MMAjunkieJohn (John Morgan, USAToday/MMAjunkie.com writer)

· @benfowlkesMMA (Ben Fowlkes, USA Today/MMAjunkie.com writer)

· @davedoylemma (Dave Doyle, MMAfighting.com writer)

· @arielhelwani (Fuel TV MMA interviewer)

· @MikeChiappetta (Mike Chiappetta, MMAfighting.com writer)

 
 
On The Undercard
 
 

· Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt, heavyweight

· Glover Teixerira vs. James Te Huna, light heavyweight

· Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant, lightweight

· Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons, lightweight

· Non-PPV fights (8 p.m. ET, FX): Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story, welterweight; Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway, featherweight; Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker, welterweight; Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abe Trujillo, lightweight.

· Facebook fights (6 p.m. ET): Stephen Thompson Nah-Shon Burrell, welterweight; Brian Bowles vs. George Roop, bantamweight; Jeremy Stephens vs. Estevan Payan, featherweight.

 
 
Programming Notes
 
 

· Mike Goldberg will handle blow-by-blow for the PPV and prelims on FX and Facebook, with Joe Rogan on analysis. Jay Glazer will host an hour-long postfight show on Fuel TV, beginning at 1 a.m.

 
 
 
More Coverage on SI.com
 

WAGENHEIM: Silva once again is overmatched against Velasquez

WAGENHEIM: Silva had no chance against Velasquez at UFC 146

PHOTOS: Cain Velasquez: Through the Years

 

 
 
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