Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Silva II
The UFC returns to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 25th. UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will headline the main card, as he defends his title against Antonio ‘Big Foot’ Silva. Also on the card will be Junior dos Santos and Mark Hunt, who will be looking to be the next contenders for the Heavyweight title. Canadian TJ Grant will be going up against former Lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard in a number 1 contender bout. The five main card bouts will be live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary bouts aired live on FX in the US and Sportsnet in Canada. The remaining three bouts will be aired live on Facebook.
Now for the breakdown:
UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout:
(c) Cain Velasquez (11-1) vs. Antonio Silva (18-4)
This fight may not make the most sense but the UFC is beginning to reach a point where they are struggling to find legitimate contenders for the Heavyweight title. Cain Velasquez will be defending his title against Antonio ‘Big Foot’ Silva, and considering they fought a year ago, it will be interesting to see what Silva will do differently.
Velasquez dominated Silva and earned a rematch against dos Santos in December, taking back his title in spectacular fashion. If his last two bouts showed anything, it was that Velasquez is the most relentless and dominant Heavyweight in the history of the organization. Velasquez beat Silva via first round TKO where he brilliantly got an early takedown and used a barrage of elbows and punches on the ground to get the stoppage. Fans did not really get the chance to see what Silva could do in that bout.
After knocking out Travis Browne, Silva was virtually fed as a stepping-stone for Alistair Overeem’s path to a title shot. Silva ruined those plans with an amazing and unexpected come from behind knockout in the final frame and showed that he deserved another shot to figure out the puzzle that is Velasquez. To win this fight, Silva will need to use his heavy hands to rock the champion or possibly take the fight to the ground where he could use his dominant top control. Unfortunately for Silva, Velasquez is just superior virtually everywhere this fight goes. He will be too fast and strong for the Brazilian giant.
Prediction: Velasquez via TKO Round 2
Junior dos Santos (15-2) vs. Mark Hunt (9-7)
After showing no holes in his game prior to his last fight, Junior dos Santos was finally caught off guard against Velasquez, ultimately stopping his reign at the top of the division. He cannot risk being caught off guard by a guy like Mark Hunt, who can put anybody to sleep at any point in a fight. This fight has all the makings of a stand up war but dos Santos will likely aim to be a little more strategically intelligent in this bout, straying away from his strengths to focus on fighting Hunt’s weakness.
Hunt has been an amazing story since entering the UFC. He has developed pretty solid ground defense, something he lacked throughout his MMA career. If the fight does go to the ground, it is not a sure thing that dos Santos will get the submission win. It will be interesting to see if dos Santos does repeatedly try dragging this bout to the ground. Hunt has given talented fighters trouble in his UFC run and likely will not be making life easy for the former champion. The striking should be interesting to say the least but it is tough seeing dos Santos keeping it there for long. He might drag this one out, showing off a new ability in his game.
Prediction: dos Santos via Unanimous Decision
Glover Teixeira (20-2) vs. James Te Huna (16-5)
There is no denying how dominant Glover Teixeira has looked thus far in the UFC so it will certainly be interesting to see if he can continue that dominance against Australian Light-Heavyweight, James Te Huna. Both fighters have looked excellent during their respective winning streaks and a victory for either fighter will get them one step closer to a title fight. Teixeira is coming off of his first relevant (somewhat) victory in his career, as he picked apart and used his strong ground game to get through Rampage Jackson.
Te Huna is an athletic and powerful fighter that can get the knockout at any point in the fight. If he can keep the fight standing, he may be able to catch Teixeira and get the finish but striking might be Teixeira’s biggest strength. Both guys have shown a slight tendency to get overly comfortable while striking which would be a mistake for either guy. It is likely that Teixeira will keep his distance on the feet and eventually get the fight to the ground and dominate from the top en route to a submission.
Prediction: Teixeira via Arm Triangle Round 2
Gray Maynard (11-1-1) vs. TJ Grant (20-5)
Besides Georges St. Pierre, Canadian MMA fighters have not had top-level success in the UFC. TJ Grant has the opportunity to change that as he has been given a high profile bout against Gray Maynard for the next Lightweight title contender. It has been nearly a year since the last time Maynard had a fight and that could potentially play in to the result of this bout. Grant has been fairly active since his move to the Lightweight division and he has been nothing but impressive since doing so.
Maynard usually enters the Octagon with a major size advantage over his opponents. That will be far from the case as Grant is a former Welterweight and will actually be the bigger fighter entering the cage. Maynard will need to use his wrestling and cage control to his advantage but it will not be easy to over power a guy with the well-rounded abilities of Grant. Although Maynard is the favourite, Grant could very well be the more skilled fighter and he should be able to prove that as he begins to control the pace later in the fight for the decision win.
Prediction: Grant via Unanimous Decision
Donald Cerrone (19-5) vs. KJ Noons (11-6)
There are not many ways to have a more entertaining way to start off a card than having Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and KJ Noons go to war. Although both fighters have not been as impressive as of late, both come to fight and their ability to do so has never been questioned. Both guys have been in amazing fights in the past against top quality opponents and have proven themselves as two of the most enjoyable fighters in MMA.
Cerrone is one of the more accomplished strikers in the Lightweight division but he will carry a major grappling advantage into this bout. Noons has excellent boxing and will look to do damage to the body of Cerrone whenever the fighters clinch as he will attempt to eliminate any possibility of Cerrone using his deadly kicks. It should be a very entertaining fight while it lasts but you should not expect it to last too long. Cerrone will eventually want to use his overall skillset to drag the fight to the ground and lock in a submission.
Prediction: Cerrone via Rear Naked Choke Round 2