Cain Velasquez (9-1-0) vs Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-3-0)
UFC 146 really is the battle of the beasts. Both of these fighters are coming off first round knockouts in their last fights, and would like to assert themselves to the top of the UFC heavyweight food chain. With Alistair Overeem out for nine months due to a failed drug test, the winner of this fight could easily be within a fight for a shot at the title depending on the outcome of the main event.
Velasquez does have one advantage in that his training partner, Daniel Cormier, is the last man to defeat Antonio Silva. Velasquez was an absolute monster when going after the belt, but like some champions he was unable to defend it. Given, he was hurt and had to take nearly a year off before fighting Junior Dos Santos, and that may have hindered his performance. Now, he has a chance to prove to be more than a flash in the pan against top ten fighter Antonio Silva. I hope his knockout loss did not deter him from using his standup in fights, because that is the best chance for him to win. As proved with Antonio’s loss to Cormier, if you can get inside and land a powerful punch, which Cain has, he will fall.
For Silva, all he can do is stand with Cain, who has been shown to have a tendency to get knocked down easy. He does have good recovery, but he can be hurt. To do so Antonio needs to utilize his reach and height advantage. He has 5 inches of reach that he can use to keep Velasquez on the outside where his power is not as prevalent. If he allows Cain to get in, he will be in trouble. Antonio would be smart to tie him up against the cage, and try to take the fight to the ground. We have never seen Cain on his back, and with Silva’s superior grappling advantage combined with his weight, which will be over 265, he could give Velasquez trouble.
The Bottom Line: Many people are counting Antonio out in this fight, but I’m not one of them. I believe if Silva puts Velasquez against the cage and takes him down, he has the fight. It will be hard fought, but he will come out with the decision win.