UFC newcomer Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva has welcomed Octagon veterans Mark Hunt and Thiago Silva to his training camp leading up to his co-main-event showdown with Cain Velasquez.
He has also recruited a wrestler who defeated Velasquez, a former UFC heavyweight champion, three times on the mats in high school.
“I brought a couple of wrestlers to help me out. One of them (Steve Mocco) fought Cain Velasquez three times in high school and defeated him every single one," Silva told Tatame.com. "He’s spending a couple of weeks here to give me tips and tell me why I should worry about Cain Velasquez."
“He’s a good guy. He’s very strong, about the same height as Cain and has a lot of experience for having fought him before. It’s a great thing for me," he added.
Silva enters the fight as a huge underdog, with many fans and analysts alike saying he will be no match for Velasquez's striking, wrestling and non-stop cardio.
That's why he has brought in a couple of high-level strikers as well in an attempt to level the playing field: "There’re some strikers coming to support me too, like Mark Hunt, who’s being really helpful. There’s Thiago Silva, who’s a great helping hand at this point.”
The former Strikeforce fighter is looking forward to the fight and encourages fans to tune in for it.
“I was really glad about the opportunity. It’s my UFC debut, and they are giving me a chance to fight one of the top two guys of the division, a former champion. I have two-and-a-half weeks ahead of me and I guarantee it’s going to be a good fight”, the Brazilian heavyweight said.
Silva was originally slated to face Roy Nelson on the card, but once Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in a random pre-fight drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the card underwent a complete makeover.
Bigfoot said he is "focused" on Cain Velasquez but still hopes to work his way up to an eventual title shot:
I guess there’re many people ahead of me on the line. It’s my UFC debut. Fighting for the title is the consequence of a long-term work. Just like the champion had to do like four or five fights, knocked out everybody who crossed his way and got his chance at the title and earned it. It’s a longer way, but I guess that, in the end of the day, it pays off.
Velasquez was originally scheduled to face another fellow UFC heavyweight champion in Frank Mir in a title eliminator bout.
However, Mir now meets reigning champion Junior dos Santos, the man who defeated Velasquez for the belt, at the May 26 event hosted at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Does anyone feel like these additions to Bigfoot's camp can lead him to an upset over the former Arizona State Sun Devil, Cain Velasquez?