Fans have been critical of the UFC’s decision to give heavyweight Antonio Silva a title-shot a year removed from being beaten by current champion Cain Velasquez and understandably so considering their 2012 tilt was not close to being competitive. In the bout, Velasquez pounded “Bigfoot” out in the opening round of action and left him on the canvas in a bloody heap.
Fast forward to a few months back and, with wins over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem in his subsequent scraps, Silva’s name emerged as top contender thanks also in part to a lack of other options. However, don’t expect Velasquez to dismiss the danger Silva poses just because he plastered him in their first fight.
“He’s on a two-fight streak. He’s fought two tough guys. He knocked out Overeem. So he’s tough, he’s dangerous. He’s always been that way,” said Velasquez in an interview with MMAFighting. “We can’t look past him in this fight. We know what he can do, so it’s all about defending the title. I’m definitely up for it.”
Velasquez knows something about coming back strong from a sound smashing after picking Junior dos Santos apart in their second scrap despite having been knocked out quickly in the first meeting. As such, he’s not looking at Silva like an adversary he’s already seen action against.
“I’ve got to think of this as a whole new fight. I’m not thinking about the last fight between us. I’m definitely thinking about a whole new ‘Bigfoot.’ He could come out with a better strategy, he can throw whatever at us,” explained Velasquez. “Our strategy will be the same thing. We didn’t get to show much of it last time because the fight was so short. Be ready for him, be ready to see if he’ll come out more aggressive this time. We know we need to be quicker than him. That’s our main goal in this fight.”
Silva holds an overall record of 18-4 with sixteen stoppages including thirteen by way of strikes. Comparably, Velasquez is 11-1 with nine TKOs including those against Ben Rothwell, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Brock Lesnar.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports