What can we expect entering this heavyweight title fight?
More of the same.
In the previous fight, Velasquez totally wrecked Silva from start to finish. His wrestling ability, combined with defense, initially gave him the advantage on a takedown. Thereafter, Velasquez's marksmanship on striking with his punches and elbows simply took over.
As for this bout, Velasquez holds an edge whether it's on the feet or the ground. He's incredibly quick when counter-attacking and brings an onslaught of combinations to break his opponent's defense.
Even better, though, Velasquez is a stronger martial artist on the ground. With his excellent wrestling experience, he's rarely caught out of position and knows how to avoid any lock or submission hold.
Jeff Wagenheim of Sports Illustrated puts this fight's potential into perspective:
Cain is faster, in better shape, is disciplined and has the wrestling chops to dictate where this fight is fought. That means the big fists of “Bigfoot” are unlikely to be a factor, and Velasquez will roll onward, possibly into a rematch with Junior dos Santos.
If anything, Silva must find a way to first win on his feet. His size is a favorable edge regarding reach and power, so avoiding the ground keeps that relevant. Given Velasquez's defense, Silva must also avoid telegraphing kicks to prevent easy takedowns.
Fighting with a lower center of gravity and building efficiency from punches will help him gain the advantage. The challenge is actually matching Velasquez's reactionary quickness and instincts.
That was an obvious disparity between the two in their first match. Don't expect that to change here.
After getting the victory over Junior dos Santos in December, Velasquez just has more confidence now than ever before. He's also, however, displaying admirable humility. Per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Velasquez said:
What I have learned is that the smart thing to do is to consider we're fighting for a new belt and that neither of us is the champion. The truth of it is, what has happened in the past really matters when it comes to this fight. What happens on Saturday night is going to determine what happens in Saturday's fight, not what happened in my last fight or any fight before that.
This shows great focus and preparation on Velasquez's part, as well as respect for Silva. Refusing to get overconfident and suppress his anxiousness to fight is quite impressive.
Mesh all that with having smashed Silva's face in once before, and UFC 160 won't offer anything unexpected.
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