When Alistair Overeem was announced as joining the Blackzilian camp in South Florida it appeared he and fellow heavyweight Antonio Silva would benefit from situation giving each a legitimate (and large) opponent to work with. Unfortunately it looks like the relationship will not develop as many hoped, as “Bigfoot” has decided to do his Stateside training at American Top Team where he originally made a name for himself.
Silva returned to ATT after giving it some thought, considering the number of friends he still had at the renowned gym, and expects to return to the form fans saw against Fedor Emelianenko a little over a year ago in Strikeforce as a result of the switch back. With his UFC debut set for May 26 when he’ll take on Roy Nelson, he recognizes the opportunity in front of him and won’t be overlooking his adversary no matter what Nelson’s recent record has looked like.
“He is a really hard guy,” said Silva of “Big Country” in an interview with TATAME, adding he felt Nelson’s trademark belly disguised a talented athlete.
“He is really hard and has fought big names. He has above average experience, can take many punches and he ain’t silly on the ground,” Silva concluded on his upcoming opponent.
Some of Silva’s respect could come from the fact the last time he faced a slightly pudgy pugilist he suffered a knockout loss. However, the September stumble against to Daniel Cormier in Strikeforce actually turned out to be a positive for the 32-year old Brazilian based on the perspective it gave him (as well as the freedom to sign with the UFC).
“Now I’m more motivated,” Silva explained. “There are losses that come more in handy than certain wins. God is giving me the opportunity to turn it around. That loss was good because now I’m a better person in my personal life, in my work and I see things differently.
The heavyweight match-up between Silva-Nelson at UFC 146 is one of three big ones scheduled for the Memorial Day Weekend event. The show features a main event with Junior dos Santos defending his title against Overeem and has Frank Mir-Cain Velasquez fighting for contendership in the co-headliner.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE