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Velasquez, Silva ready for battle
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva didn’t realize how much blood he shed on the MGM Grand mat for a few hours.
“I was back in my hotel room when I saw the replay and all that blood,” Silva said. “I couldn’t see anything at the time.”
Cain Velasquez — who takes on Silva again atop Saturday’s UFC 160 card — opened the cut with an elbow. The fight last Memorial Day weekend was halted (at least for good) after three minutes, 36 seconds. It had been stopped prior to allow Silva to clear the blood from the gushing wound above his nose.
Velasquez since has regained the heavyweight title with a victory over Junior dos Santos. Silva made himself a contender by knocking out Alistair Overeem. But what else — besides maybe less bloodletting — will be different about Silva-Velasquez II?
“His style is still the same,” Velasquez told FOXSports.com. “What hasn’t changed is that I’m not underestimating him. He can get you in trouble.”
Silva said he wished Velasquez would take him lightly.
“I like when people underestimate me,” Silva said in a recent conference call with reporters. “It’s nice. 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.”
There is one key difference: Both fighters have had more than just a few weeks to prepare for each other. Overeem’s positive test for elevated levels of testosterone a month before UFC 146 caused a reshuffling of the card.
“He had the same (few) weeks (to prepare as) I did,” Silva said. “Now both of us (have had) more time. It’s going to be (a) good fight.”
For Velasquez, whatever type of fight occurs in the Octagon inside the MGM Grand on Saturday won’t match what he’s seen at his gym. San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy is also home to heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier.
“The hardest fight will be the one I had at the gym,” Velasquez said. “With Daniel there, the sparring level and talent level is high. We know each other’s weaknesses and try to exploit them. Because of that, I keep getting better and better.”
Cormier also has faced (and beaten) Silva previously. Repetition atop the heavyweight division appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, although it’s hard to argue against the fact the guys at the top are some of the best the sport has seen.
A third dos Santos-Velasquez fight seems only a few months off. (dos Santos is the heavy favorite against Mark Hunt in the UFC 160 co-main event.) The list of new talent isn't very long at the moment.
“It is what it is,” Velasquez said. “You’ve seen it happen before (in the UFC), and that’s the way it is right now. These are the top guys fighting and if I have to face them again, I will.”
And for those wondering about an eventual Velasquez-Cormier showdown — Cormier doesn’t seem to be long for the heavyweight division.
“He’s been talking about going down (a weight class) after his next fight,” Velasquez said. “We are not going to fight each other.”