When your opponent has been guaranteed something and you haven't, that provides extra motivation for you whether you want to admit it or not. That is what Antonio Silva is feeling heading into tomorrow night, when he will square off against Alistair Overeem at UFC 156.
Dana White stated yesterday that if Overeem gets by Silva, he will get the next title shot against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. For Silva, nothing has been guaranteed.
Silva already lost to Velasquez last year at UFC 146, but rebounded and defeated Travis Browne at UFC on FX 5 last October. People aren't really giving Silva a chance tomorrow night, so let's take a look and see why you should cheer for the Brazilian against Overeem.
Like we stated earlier, Overeem has been guaranteed a shot at Cain Velasquez if he can earn a victory tomorrow night over Silva. The public has been vocal and is not in favor of this. The widespread belief is that Overeem is not deserving of an opportunity at the belt after only one fight following such a lengthy suspension.
Overeem failed a urine test for elevated levels of testosterone before a scheduled showdown with then heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos before UFC 146 last May.
Overeem's suspension ended on December 27 and he was granted a license in Nevada last month. However, if Silva can win tomorrow, he would derail Overeem's plans and the Dutchman would no longer receive the title shot.
I do realize that these are two former Strikeforce guys fighting tomorrow night. However, it feels like Overeem has been in the UFC forever.
The Dutchman has been in the UFC since the third quarter of 2011, after he was released by Zuffa for not fighting Silva. He was signed by the UFC a short time after that.
Silva still had to go through the Grand Prix and lost to eventual champion Daniel Cormier in September 2011. After that, Strikeforce got rid of the heavyweight division and Silva made his UFC debut at UFC 146.
People feel that Strikeforce was an inferior product to the UFC. However, the Strikeforce guys have been fairly successful so far. This is the first set of Strikeforce fighters to face each other and Silva was one of the favorites in that promotion.
If you were a Strikeforce fan, you win in this fight.
Don't we all like chaos? That's what would happen tomorrow night if Silva beats Overeem.
After Overeem, no one really knows who the UFC would put against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. You could always go with a rubber match with Junior Dos Santos, but that would be too soon. You could wait to see if Fabricio Werdum beats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in June, but the UFC probably doesn't want to wait that long.
The other option could be to wait and see if Daniel Cormier beats Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7 in June. Cormier and Velasquez have stated in the past that they will not face other, but anything can happen in MMA.
If you like chaos, root for Silva to beat Overeem tomorrow night.