|UFC Champion Cain Velasquez photo: ESPN|
Cain Velasquez v Bigfoot Silva
Might as well start at the top. This weekend 265lbs champion Cain Velasquez takes on challenger Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva for the UFC heavyweight title in a rematch of their 2012 contender fight which took place 364 days previously. It was a fight which ended brutally. Velasquez took the Brazilian down, unloaded some vicious elbows which cut his opponent and ended the fight all inside the first round. Since then Cain has defeated Dos Santos to regain his title and Silva has won two tough fights, knocking out both Travis Browne and the highly fancied Alistair Overeem. With no other clear contended in the division this match was made - despite the mauling in the first.
The big question going into this fight is whether Bigfoot can get any closer to Cain than the last time. The answer? Probably not. Cain is a superb wrestler and an ever improving striker, which he displayed immensely in the rematch with Dos Santos. He is quicker than Silva and better in almost every aspect. What Bigfoot has in his favor is his size and strength. He is a huge man who has to cut down to the 265lbs heavyweight limit and has boulders for fists. Another big factor is that this is now Silva's 4th fight for the UFC. The first fight with Cain was his Octagon debut and maybe the infamous jitters played a part. We will find out on Saturday. Anything can happen in the heavyweight division but a Silva victory would surely be the biggest shock of the year.
Junior Dos Santos v Mark Hunt
The co-main event of UFC 160 sees a real old fashioned match-up between two heavy-handed striking experts, Junior Dos Santos and Mark Hunt. This fight has explosive written all over it. Hunt, a former K-1 champion, is riding a four fight win streak coming into this number one contender fight including wins over veterans Stefan Struve and Cheick Kongo. He truly is a Cinderella story. Coming into the UFC he had more losses than wins and was offered a sum of money to be released from his contract. He refused. Now with a 4-1 UFC record he is on the cusp of a shot at the gold.
First he will have to get past long time top contender and former champion Junior Dos Santos who is coming off a brutal 5 round drubbing at the hands of Cain Velasquez. “Cigano” is widely recognized as one of the best boxers in MMA and when he meets Hunt this Saturday he will be up against another one. Two expert strikers collide in what is primed to be a barn burner. Dos Santos has the speed advantage, he throws combinations like a middleweight but with outrageous power. Speaking of power, Hunt has it in spades, the last punch he threw in anger literally shattered the jaw of his opponent. Both men have titanium chins. This is a shootout for the ages. Something will have to give. Don't miss it!
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira v Fabricio Werdum
Fabrico Werdum against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a fight which seems to have been announced an age ago. It kinda was. "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2" coaches will go head to head in two weeks time on the shows finale in Fortaleza, Brazil. This fight may have been more to do with “TUF” coaches in mind rather than the match-up itself.
In short Werdum outmatches “Big Nog” in every department. It may have been a different story a few years back but today Werdum is the better fighter. His Jiu-Jitsu game is arguably unmatched at heavyweight, add to that the vicious striking and clinch work he showed against Roy Nelson and you have one of the most well rounded fighters in the world. Nogueira is a wily veteran and certainty isn't without a chance but at this stage in his career it may be a slim one. A win for Werdum will put him very close to contention for a shot at the title.