EDITORIAL | Bigfoot Gets Second Life in Title Contention, Chance to Capitalize Tonight
By JAKE CHASTAIN
| MMA is probably one of the toughest sports in the world, period. It’s even tougher to be successful in the sport…and beyond that it’s even tougher to be successful over a long period of time. True champions always rise to the occasion, though. Tonight, at UFC 160, Cain Velasquez will have the opportunity to place himself among the top MMA heavyweights of all time IF he can get passed Antonio Silva. Velasquez, though, has already proven his championship caliber on multiple occasions. First, he defeated Brock Lesnar when many people believed Brock was unstoppable. He then lost his strap to JDS when he was caught with a overhand punch in the first round of his first title defense. But that didn’t stop him. He came back to TKO Antonio Silva and then went on to regain his belt by beating the man that took it from him; JDS. That alone shows the true championship colors of Velasquez.
However, his opponent Silva, who doesn’t get near the credit that Velasquez gets, finds himself in a similar position that Cain found himself about three short months ago. Silva, who has proven time and time again that he can beat the best in the division (he KOed Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem to get this title shot), has never held gold in a top promotion and that is what he looks to accomplish tonight. But many fans are saying that because Silva lost to Velasquez in a non-title fight almost exactly one year ago he shouldn’t be getting this second chance. Those fans are right in some respects…it’s rare in the UFC to see a guy lose in a non-title fight and then be fighting for the title just three fights later. But this is different. The heavyweight division is a different beast in the way that one-punch, one-strike, can change the entire outcome of a fight. So, although Silva was outclasses against Velasquez in their first meeting, don’t think that the same outcome is going to play out tonight. Not to say that a replay won’t happen, but things rarely play out the same way twice in MMA.
Cain and Bigfoot met last year on May 26th, almost one year ago to date, at UFC 146. In that fight Cain dominated the bout from start to finish and ended the fight by TKO in the 2nd round. That loss put Silva on a two-fight losing streak (he lost to Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce HW Grand Prix Semis prior to his bout with Cain) and many thought that the new threat coming over from Strikeforce was done before he could even really begin. Oh, how wrong we all were.
Following his two straight losses Bigfoot rebounded and knocked-out two of the biggest and most athletic heavyweights in the world. First, Silva took out Travis Browne to get himself back in the win column. Then, he shocked us all when he knocked-out Alistair Overeem, a fighter that many considered to be the best in the world.
That gigantic upset gave Silva new life in the UFC. Not only did it keep him atop the division but it ultimately got him a rematch with Cain Velasquez, this time for the UFC heavyweight title.
I don’t like to say that Silva got lucky with the timing and the circumstances that got him back to a title fight after dropping two fights in a row but the reality is that it’s extremely rare to see a fighter get to a title before accumulating at least three or four wins in a row, unless they’ve already been champion, which Bigfoot has not. Still, things worked out extremely well for Silva and he did all the things in his power to place himself in this fortunate situation. This sport is about winning and timing…Silva took care of the winning part with his wins over Browne and Overeem and the timing took care of itself.
Now, with a little luck on his side , Silva finds himself one win away from becoming the UFC Heavyweight Champion. I guarantee that Silva doesn’t view any of this as luck or perfect timing…he just knows that he’s won two in a row over top fighters in the world and is now fighting in the biggest fight of his career tonight and I promise you, Silva is not going to roll over for Velasquez.
Silva is confident in his skills, his power, and his momentum and he’ll have the chance to showcase those attributes and become king of the rock tonight if he can defeat Cain Velasquez in Las Vegas at UFC 160.
Be sure to stay posted to BJPenn.com for all the fight recaps and highlights from tonight’s spectacular UFC 160 fight card.