It's been nearly a year since Cain Velasquez destroyed Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC 146 in Las Vegas. But the only thing that's changed over those 12 months is that this time around, Velasquez enters the Octagon as the reigning UFC heavyweight champion.
Therefore, the 30-year-old will head into Saturday's main event at UFC 160 with a massive target on his back. But don't expect the current UFC heavyweight trend of champions going down to continue.
Velasquez is no Brock Lesnar, and as he proved last December, he's a step above Junior dos Santos.
The belt won't change anything for Velasquez this weekend. At the end of the night, the former college wrestler's unrivaled power, stamina and strength will be what fans remember most about UFC 160.
After all, four of Velasquez's five victories have come via knockout or technical knockout, including last year's first-round win over Silva. While Velasquez had plenty of motivation to annihilate Silva on that night, having surrendered the title in his previous bout, the motivation this time around is simple: Keep the belt.
As Velasquez's trainer Javier Mendez recently pointed out, the UFC's heavyweight division has been plagued by parity (via ESPN.com's Josh Gross):
Remember, no one has defended the title more than twice, so if he's talking about wanting to keep defending that title, he wants to be remembered by everybody as one of the greatest, like Fedor [Emelianenko].
While recent history suggests that Velasquez will soon be forced to hand over the title, recent performances from the current champion tell us he will be a heavy favorite when the bell rings on Saturday night.
Silva only lasted a little over three-and-a-half minutes in the cage with Velasquez in their first meeting. But he was lucky to last that long. He had no answer for Velasquez's power, speed and strength despite boasting a significant size advantage.
Right off the bat Velasquez forced Silva to the mat and within a minute he drew blood, delivering an elbow to Silva's head. After Velasquez landed a plethora of combinations and significant strikes, the referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight.
Velasquez absolutely dominated from start to finish, and while his speed was perhaps the difference, it was his deceptive power that put Silva on the defensive within moments.
While the 6'4" Bigfoot has had plenty of time to analyze what went wrong for him in that fight, there's simply no way around Cain Velasquez's strength and speed. This is a terrible matchup for Silva, as it is for just about every heavyweight fighter in the UFC.
The result of Saturday's main event remains to be seen, but all indications are that Cain Velasquez will put on a show, displaying more of his unrivaled power in another dominant performance.
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