The Fight Horizon: Heavyweight Edition
by Daniel Sohn on February 21, 2013

The Fight Horizon – Heavyweight Edition

In a fightcard showcasing the heavyweight division, UFC 160 features four of the top guys in the MMA world, giving us a matchup we’ve seen before, and a heavily anticipated (and scrapped) fight that is finally coming to fruition.

In the co-main event, the Dutchman will square off against former champ Junior Dos Santos.  We will finally see a match-up that was originally slated for the UFC Heavyweight Championship before Alistair Overeem tested for elevated testosterone levels.  Easily two of the most feared strikers not only in the division, but all of MMA, the fight should prove to be interesting if only to see how they bounce back from their recent losses.

Frankly, Overeem looked terrible at the end of the second round/beginning of the third in his fight with Silva.  Whatever Overeem did (or didn’t do) between his last fight and this one was a difference maker.  He landed some significant shots in the first and second rounds, but they didn’t seem to carry the same oomph as they used to.  Silva barely seemed affected by them. Overeem was in dominant position for much of the second round and when he threw some bombs the fight seemed headed for a stoppage, but again Silva didn’t seem fazed.  That’s very odd considering Overeem’s prowess and well-renowned power, as well as what happened when Cain Velazquez got on top of Silva.  Whether Overeem was toying with Silva or not, he obviously made a huge mistake by not finishing him when he had the chance. Alistair doesn’t have the most durable chin in the world, as Silva so brutally demonstrated, and that could spell his doom against a hard hitter like Junior Dos Santos.

 

The Matchup: Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem

Favorite:  Junior Dos Santos is looking to rebound from the thrashing he took from current HW champion Cain Velasquez, a man he knocked out in their first meeting in under 60 seconds to win the championship. He stated numerous reasons for his loss, including overtraining, so we’re likely to see a smarter, more well-prepared and very hungry fighter coming into this fight.

Underdog:  Alistair Overeem is also looking to bounce back, coming off of an upset KO loss to Bigfoot Silva, a fight in which he was well in control for the first two rounds. Whether he was overconfident, arrogant, or just plain gassed, he was finished in convincing fashion and is nowhere near a title fight after losing in such brutal fashion, especially after he was two rounds ahead.

The Date: UFC 160 on May 5th, 2013

Weight Class:  Heavyweight

What led to it:  Both fighters are coming off thorough beatings and are looking to get back into title contention. Overeem vs. Silva was essentially a title eliminator, and Overeem would have been gift-wrapped a title shot if he got through Silva, but now the tables are turned. JDS just lost the belt and now gets the loser of that recent eliminator.

Why it matters: This is a fight that needs to happen. There is bad blood between the two fighters, with a lot of insults and accusations being hurled between the two. Overeem was supposed to meet Dos Santos for the HW title last year. He tested for high levels, got suspended and waited while Dos Santos demolished Frank Mir as a substitute. Dos Santos has wanted to face Overeem for a while now and won’t be afraid to trade with the feared Dutch striker. The winner of this fight is very likely in the title discussion at a minimum, if not the next guy in line period. The loser will be on a two fight losing streak and will have a longer road to get back into contention.

It should be a violent throwdown with two guys who will be looking to pick their shots. The stylistic matchup will be fun to watch. Alistair tends towards the kicks and knees, although he’s no stranger to throwing power punches. JDS simply has dynamite in his hands. “True one punch KO power” is an overused term these days. Not when it comes to JDS. If this fight gets past the second round, I’d be very surprised. Although this was originally supposed to be a championship fight, it loses none of the luster and should be a fight full of fireworks.

 

Main Event: UFC Heavyweight Championship Fight

In the main event, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will face Cain Velasquez in a rematch with the Heavyweight championship on the line. Velazquez, after losing to JDS in his first title defense, completely dominated Silva in their first contest and will be looking to defend his belt successfully this time around.

The Matchup:  Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

Challenger: Bigfoot Silva just pummeled Alistair Overeem in the third round of a fight he was clearly losing. It was starting to look like his first fight against Cain, but kudos to him for not breaking. He may not be the prettiest or most polished fighter to watch, but he showed he can put together size, strength and toughness to weather a storm and win.

Champion: Cain Velasquez, the now two-time UFC Heavyweight champion is making his first defense after reclaiming the belt. He is coming off of a spectacular performance over Junior Dos Santos in which he showcased his greatest strengths: striking to set up his wrestling and take downs, and suffocating ground and pound. His cardio was once again phenomenal and indeed may be the best among the heavyweights.

The Date:  UFC 160 on May 5th, 2013

Weight Class:  Heavies

What led to it:  Put simply, Silva’s KO of Alistair Overeem. If “The Reem” had won that fight, even if by a hair, he most likely would be looking at a showdown with Cain.

Why it matters:  Whenever two UFC heavyweights collide, it’s usually a lot of mass that ends up battling in the Octagon. Whenever it happens in a HW title fight, it’s even better. Cain Velasquez absolutely buzz-sawed through Bigfoot in their last meeting. He looked like a man on a mission and when he got him down to the ground, Silva didn’t stand a chance. Losing the title to JDS seemed to make him even hungrier.

Cain is fighting like a man possessed right now, his recent demolition of JDS to reclaim the title is more proof of that. Bigfoot Silva’s camp even stated that they preferred more time before a rematch and for good reason. Overeem, who isn’t exactly known for his ability to take guys down, was able to take and keep Silva down for a big part of their second round. That doesn’t bode well for Silva because that is Cain’s bread and butter. Once he gets on top of you, you’re in big trouble – a fact Silva knows firsthand. He may not get an instant finish, but you can bet that he will do a lot more damage than Overeem did.

Silva is in a unique spot, he’s fighting for a title that not many expected him to challenge for. The Overeem fight seemed like it was meant to be more of a tune-up for Overeem than a chance for Silva to vault up into title consideration. But he’s also going to rematch a guy who absolutely destroyed him in their first fight. That sounds an awful lot like Cain vs JDS 2, but the similarities end there. This is Cain’s second title defense and he could be looking to build his own legacy. I don’t see him losing his title for a while, not after he had a taste of that draught once before. He is one of the most well-rounded guys in MMA, take a look at any current champion and you’ll see they don’t have any glaring weaknesses. His motor is famed amongst his training partners and opponents, and it’s something that really separates him from other heavies, especially in the championship rounds.

Look for Cain to come out and set up his takedowns, then work his destructive ground and pound game to earn the victory. If Bigfoot finds himself in the same position as he did in their first fight (and against Overeem as well) it’s going to be a short night.

 


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