Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
One year after Cain Velasquez mauled Antonio Silva, the two heavyweights will do it again, agreeing to a rematch at UFC 160, the Memorial Day weekend card which will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The matchups were reported on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight, citing confirmation from UFC president Dana White.
The show's date, May 25, is one day short of the one-year anniversary of their first meeting, which Velasquez won via TKO in just 3:36.
Silva set himself up for the heavyweight championship opportunity after stunning Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 on Feb. 2. At the time, Overeem had been promised a title shot with a win, but no such promise had been made to Silva, who was a sizable underdog going into the bout.
After losing the first two rounds, Silva came out on fire to start the third, rocking Overeem with an uppercut before flattening him with a thunderous barrage against the fence.
Silva is likely to be a major underdog to Velasquez as well. In his previous loss to the UFC heavyweight champ, it was an elbow that caused significant problems when Velasquez sliced him open, leading to a constant spray of blood that caused Silva vision problems. Partially because he was unable to see what was coming, he was out-landed by a lopsided 53-3 margin.
That match happened to be Velasquez's first since losing the belt to Junior dos Santos, and he later rebounded from his own one-sided beating, avenging the loss to dos Santos with a five-round romp to reclaim the belt. This will be his first attempt at a title defense since that December match.
Meanwhile, White also announced another major heavyweight fight that will pit dos Santos against Overeem in the night's co-main event.
Heading into late 2012, it seemed that the two were on a collision course to fight for the championship, but dos Santos was steamrolled by Velasquez while Overeem fell to Silva, and now here they are here, both facing the prospect of a two-fight losing streak.
The fight between the duo should carry with it some personal undertones. In the past, Overeem has accused dos Santos of being afraid of him, words that motivated dos Santos to request a matchup with the Dutch striker. On May 25, the stakes won't be quite as high as they could have been, but with Silva proving a two-fight win streak could lead to a title shot, they are still significant.
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