Power Ranking Antonio "Big Foot" Silva Against the Top 5 Heavyweights in the UFC

Todd Seyler@toddseylerContributor IJuly 23, 2011

Power Ranking Antonio "Big Foot" Silva Against the Top 5 Heavyweights in the UFC

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    To some, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva has become the favorite to win the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix tournament.

    A sizable underdog in his preliminary matchup with the legendary Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko, Silva dominated the Russian securing a doctor's stoppage after the second round to advance in the tournament.

    With the removal of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem this past week citing a toe injury, Silva will now face the undefeated Daniel Cormier on September 10 in the tournament semifinals.

    Winner of the semifinal bout will face either Josh Barnett or Sergei Kharitonov in the finals.

    At 6'4", 265-plus pounds, Silva is a behemoth of a man. A challenging skill-set, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt utilizes his size advantage on the ground and transitions seamlessly into advantageous positions where he can deliver heavy bombs in the ground and pound.

    Solid on his feet, Silva has shown above average boxing skills and the ability to defeat opponents standing with 11 knockout victories.

    Suffering through less than stellar performances in the past, the first round against Mike Kyle in December of 2010 and a unanimous decision defeat to fellow Brazilian Fabricio Werdum in November of 2009, "Bigfoot" has improved on his deficiencies inside the cage and is evolving into a complete fighter.

    Assuming Antonio Silva wins the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament, talk with ensue regarding how this champion compares against the top-tier talent inside the UFC heavyweight roster.

    Please take a theoretical walk with me as I analyze the skill set of Silva against the top five heavyweights within the UFC.

    All debate aside, these five heavyweights are ranked according to Sherdog.com.

    Additionally, I have eliminated any fighter on the rankings who is currently contracted with Strikeforce.

    I welcome your comments.

    Todd Seyler

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No. 5: Antonio Silva vs Frank Mir

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    Frank Mir is an experienced, well-rounded, powerful and extremely talented mixed martial artist.

    A healthy and motivated Mir can challenge anyone in the UFC heavyweight division.

    At 6'3", 260 pounds, Mir can equal the size of "Bigfoot." Like Silva, Mir also possesses a black belt in BJJ and is regarded as being the most lethal heavyweight off of his back.

    Equalizing the ground game, Silva will not be able to transition as easily against Mir as he did in the Emelianenko fight.

    Virtually nullifying each other in the submission grappling department, the winner of this contest will secure a victory on their feet.

    Mir has worked diligently to improve his boxing skills, and that effort has reaped success inside the Octagon. 

    A stunning knockout defeat of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92 as well as a vicious knee strike against the kick boxing legend Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 119 proves that Mir is a force to be reckoned with on his feet.

    Holding a slight advantage in the standup department, I believe that Frank Mir's balanced skill set will result in a defeat of the giant Brazilian.

    Winner: Frank Mir Unanimous Decision Victory.

No. 4: Antonio Silva vs Shane Carwin

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    Shane Carwin is a human wrecking machine with dynamite in his punches and the ability to knockout any opponent at any time.

    With seven KO wins in 12 of his victories, power is a tool that Carwin possesses that is never in short supply.

    Over-matched and without the same level of boxing prowess as Junior dos Santos, Carwin's deficiencies were exploited by the No. 1 contender and Carwin suffered his second straight defeat inside the Octagon.

    Carwin's defeat to dos Santos exposed him as a potentially one-dimensional fighter who relies on his heavy hands to end fights.

    Silva's gameplan will be to stay outside of the range of those bombs of the Colorado native and take this fight to the ground.

    A solid wrestler, Carwin is not well-versed in the jiu-jitsu game. Knowing this weakness, "Bigfoot" will easily dominate Carwin on the ground, passing his guard and assuming advantageous positions.

    With a destructive ground-and-pound attack, Silva will be able to wear out the former UFC interim heavyweight champion and either secure a TKO victory from strikes or lock up a submission win.

    Carwin's reliance on his heavy hands will prove to be his kryptonite in this battle with Silva. 

    Winner: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva via Round 2 TKO from strikes in the mount.

No. 3: Antonio Silva vs Brock Lesnar

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    Considering that this entire list is theoretical, I am going to assume that Brock Lesnar will return from his second bout of diverticulitis healthy, strong and the same avalanche of a man who defeated Randy Couture at UFC 91 to win the heavyweight championship.

    With that said, how does Lesnar's skill set stack up against Silva's?

    Is Lesnar a better boxer than Silva? No.

    Is Lesnar a better wrestler than Silva? Yes.

    Is Lesnar a better jiu-jitsu practitioner than Silva? No.

    Does Lesnar possess greater cardiovascular conditioning than "Bigfoot?" That is uncertain considering the illness. Therefore, this category is a push.

    Who is the better athlete? Lesnar.

    Which destructive human being possesses more strength and power? Lesnar.

    With the categories itemized, who wins in this epic matchup? That question is not easily answered. 

    Clearly possessing the strength, power, quickness and athletic advantage over Silva, Lesnar's game plan will be to drive "Bigfoot" to the ground and maul the humongous heavyweight forcing a stoppage. 

    This game plan has been attempted previously, with some success. The variable in this fight is the fact that Lesnar is unequaled within the heavyweight division with respect to his strength, power and athleticism. He is truly a freak of nature.

    Because of his God-given abilities, Lesnar should be able to secure a victory over Silva.

    Winner: Brock Lesnar via Round 3 TKO from strikes.

No. 2: Antonio Silva vs Junior Dos Santos

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    To quote Joe Rogan, "Junior dos Santos is a bad man!" There is no denying this statement.

    Junior "Cigano" dos Santos has victimized each and every opponent he has faced within the famed Octagon.

    Quite possibly the most talented pure boxer within the UFC heavyweight division, JDS has brutalized top talent since his arrival in 2008.

    Lightening quick on his feet, "Cigano" delivers pinpoint strikes with tremendous velocity and devastating force. Just take a look at Shane Carwin's face after their matchup in June.

    Holding a distinct advantage in the standup game against "Bigfoot," dos Santos will be able to keep this fight on their feet with his excellent movement and ability to slip in and out of attacks without providing a take-down opportunity for Silva.

    Not to minimize Silva's talents, but dos Santos's skill set will overwhelm the Strikeforce heavyweight.

    In the end, Antonio Silva will be another victim on the knockout highlight reel of Junior dos Santos.

    Winner: Junior dos Santos Round 1 Knockout.

No. 1: Antonio Silva vs Cain Velasquez

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    The No. 1 heavyweight on Sherdog.com is the current UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez.

    At 9-0 with eight knockout victories, Velasquez is a brutalizing striker from his feet. Equally versed with his punches and kicks, the champion has the ability to attack from any plane on any level with any weapon.

    Additionally, Velasquez has demonstrated the patience of a veteran, yet the will and determination of a hungry prospect. Both of which are intangibles that are difficult to combat against.

    Besides his standup skills, this former NCAA Division 1 wrestler at Arizona State University is an extremely accomplished grappler who is very difficult to take down and keep on the mat.

    Quick, agile, explosive, strong, durable, powerful. All are adjectives describing Velasquez's skill-set inside the Octagon.

    Even though Silva would have a sizable height and weight advantage over Velasquez, "Bigfoot" will not be able to keep the current UFC heavyweight champion on the ground to utilize that advantage. 

    Like Junior dos Santos, Velasquez is too talented for Silva.

    The skill-set of the current UFC heavyweight champion would overwhelm the Brazilian.

    In the end, Silva's fate against Velasquez would equal that of his fate against dos Santos.

    Winner: Cain Velasquez via Round 1 TKO.