Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva’s face resembled something out of a horror flick after his last bout with Cain Velasquez. The Brazilian heavyweight sustained gashes and cuts and left a lot of blood behind when he exited the octagon after the defeat.
On Saturday night, one day before the one-year anniversary of his defeat, Silva will try to exact revenge when he gets a rematch with UFC champion Velasquez in the main event of UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After last year’s bout, Velasquez went on to recapture the heavyweight belt – defeating Junior Dos Santos in a rematch – and Silva shocked the mixed-martial arts world by knocking out former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem to earn a shot at the title against Velasquez.
Those who witnessed the beating Velasquez dealt Silva give the 33-year-old challenger only a slight chance of winning the title, but Silva, who trains in Coconut Creek, believes this outcome will be different this time.
“I think the main thing is in our first fight I was nervous and I was anxious,” Silva said. “And I have replaced those emotions now. Now I’m calm. I realize 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 are very, very heavy hands.”
The Mexican-American Velasquez expects an improved Silva and vows not to be overconfident.
“This is a whole new fight,” Velasquez said. “Obviously we saw what Bigfoot can do in his past two fights. You can’t take him lightly. He is a tough competitor. He has really dangerous cuts in the octagon, so I don’t see this as anything less than a hard, grueling fight, and that’s what I’m expecting.”
Silva knows the odds are stacked against him, but he was also the underdog against Fedor Emelianenko and, most recently, Overeem. He defeated both.
“I like when people underestimate me. It’s nice,” Silva said. “I get to go out there and I get to show them wrong. There are no superheroes in this sport, nobody is invincible, and I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work for the last nine weeks. I have been preparing myself and I’m very confident that I’m going to have my arm raised on May 25.”
TRUJILLO LOOKS TO SHINE AGAIN
Lightweight Abel Trujillo, who trains in Boca Raton, will appear on the UFC 160 undercard looking to win his second fight with the MMA company – and sixth in a row overall – when he takes on undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Trujillo, who was born in Greensboro, N.C., has had an impressive turnaround to his career after starting 5-4. He says he didn’t appreciate the work that goes into being an MMA fighter at first, but with proper training he has been able to become a top fighter at 155 pounds.
“At first I was training by myself, and with a bunch of guys that didn’t know what they were doing,” Trujillo said. “I wasn’t properly trained, and taking fights on a week’s notice. I thought that was normal, but found out it wasn’t. Now I’m training with the Blackzillians, training with coaches for each craft, and actually having full training camps for fights. This has contributed to my recent success.”
Trujillo debuted last December with the UFC, defeating Marcus LeVesseur by TKO in two rounds. It was an impressive first performance by the 29-year-old on the big stage. This time around he will no longer be the unknown.
“I have to prove that the first fight wasn’t a fluke,” Trujillo said. “This fight will be just as brutal. I like to take every fight as if it was my debut.”
Armando Alvarez is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org