The UFC has two events scheduled in the month of May, and the heavyweight division will showcase only two fights—both taking place on the main card at UFC 160. The lack of fights in the heavyweight division in May is made up for by the importance of each contest.
The co-main event at UFC 160 features the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt versus former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos to possibly determine the next No. 1 contender for the UFC heavyweight championship.
The main event at UFC 160 will be a rematch, but this time the UFC heavyweight championship is on the line as Antonio Silva challenges reigning champion Cain Velasquez.
Let's get the previews started.
The Mark Hunt journey has been amazing to witness. A heavyweight who seemed to have his career book being shut has rebounded not only to rectify his losing record into a winning one, but to actually make a championship run in his late 30s.
Hunt has turned a six-fight losing streak into a four-fight UFC winning streak defeating Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo and derailing Stefan Struve as he threatened to become a championship contender. He has defeated these men by using his granite head and sledgehammer fists.
Now at 39 years of age, he finds himself ranked as a top-10 fighter and only one fight away from gaining a UFC title shot if he can defeat the former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior "Cigano" dos Santos.
Dos Santos also packs a massive punch and has proven takedown defense.
He is ranked only behind current champion Cain Velasquez in the heavyweight division and will want to take out Hunt in impressive fashion to possibly earn himself another championship fight.
There isn't much to wonder about how this fight will go down. Hunt and dos Santos will look to keep this one standing, but do not underestimate the amount of strategy that will be involved when this fight takes place.
Hunt will have a simple strategy when the opening bell rings—end the fight as early as possible by landing huge punches to dos Santos.
If Hunt cannot find his target, he may try to press dos Santos against the fence to limit his movement and wear him down. This strategy may also be taxing on himself, though, as Hunt cannot afford to waste a lot of his own energy and become lethargic in this fight.
The key for Hunt to win is simply end this fight in the first round. The longer this fight goes, the chance of him winning diminishes.
As in his fight with Frank Mir, dos Santos will probably look to wear down Hunt and batter him from the outside using his superior footwork and movement. His height and reach advantage will play a significant role implementing this strategy since Hunt is at his most dangerous in the first round.
Hunt might have a hard coconut, but count on dos Santos cracking that shell hard and often to earn himself a stoppage in Round 2 with a barrage of punches.
Antonio Silva is looking to redeem himself from a brutal first-round loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 146 and take the UFC heavyweight championship in the process.
Silva is a massive heavyweight who weighs in at the maximum limit and will bring with him a three-inch height and five-inch reach advantage. He has very large hands that can deliver an instant knockout and has a notable ground game.
Silva also might be the luckiest fighter in the UFC. He has found himself with wins over Travis Browne due mainly to injury and Alistair Overeem by upset to find himself with a championship fight with Velasquez.
Will the luck continue for the third consecutive fight?
Velasquez has made a statement after losing the UFC championship to dos Santos. He dissected Silva at UFC 146 after opening a blinding cut and earning a first-round TKO stoppage. He then proceeded to redeem himself with a dominating five-round unanimous decision victory over dos Santos in their championship rematch.
Velasquez brings with him to the table a relentless wrestling game and features the heavyweight division's best cardio. Velasquez is one heavyweight you cannot expect to run out of fuel.
In addition to those skills, he does have an effective striking game but does lack consistent heavyweight knockout power. He usually has to dish out a lot of punishment to gain a finish.
Silva will be looking to maintain his standing position in this fight so that he can use his strengths to his advantage. He will find victory only by knockout, and it is possible, but he might have to throw caution to the wind and forget about defending the takedown to do so.
If Silva is taken down, he has to make sure that he can defend himself from a full-guard position. Silva is more likely to defend himself from this position even though he will be at a disadvantage.
Velasquez will want to use his strengths in this fight. If Silva comes out tentatively, he may be susceptible to Velasquez's punches, especially an overhand right or lead left hook—but I don't expect Velasquez to try to play games with Silva.
Expect a similar game plan as in his last fight—using his speed advantage, working for the takedown and then delivering some ground-and-pound offense.
Though I expect this fight to go longer than their last, I still expect Velasquez to gain the victory somewhere in the third round.