Though still an unknown commodity to many casual observers,
has steadily seen his stock rise as a legitimate
heavyweight talent while competing outside the
After stumbling in his 2009 Strikeforce
debut against Fabricio
Werdum, “Bigfoot” recovered with a trio of victories, topping
ex-UFC champ Andre Arlovski, Mike Kyle and
onetime Pride Fighting Championships kingpin Fedor
Emelianenko. The massive Brazilian suffered a first-round
knockout at the hands of Daniel
Cormier last September, but now looks toward his UFC debut
against Cormier’s teammate, Cain
Velasquez. Silva locks horns with the former UFC belt holder
Saturday night at UFC
While Silva says that his loss to Cormier in the Strikeforce grand
prix semifinals served as a disappointing end to his tenure in the
hexagon, “Pezao” is now solely focused on making a good impression
when he steps into the Octagon tonight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in
“[Fighting in the UFC] is a dream come true,” said Silva during a
recent media teleconference. “It’s a dream that any athlete in our
sport wants to live out, and everybody can be sure that on the 26th
of May, I will give out a great fight.”
Though many expect big things from the big man as he embarks on his
UFC career, Silva says he feels little pressure prior to his clash
with the highly-regarded former champion.
“It’s always difficult, because I believe that the best fighters in
the world in my category are in the UFC, but I’m very relaxed and
feeling very well,” said Silva. “It’s a great opportunity that the
UFC is giving me for my first fight against one of the top
[heavyweights] in the world. I’m the underdog in this fight, and it
takes a lot of responsibility off my back, so I feel very
comfortable with that.”
Now making his home in Florida, Silva returned to his former camp
American Top Team to prepare for his clash with Velasquez.
Though Pezao insists he still officially represents Rio de
Team Nogueira, the heavyweight says he received excellent
training on the mats of ATT.
“One of my managers [Dan Lambert] is also owner of American Top
Team,” said Silva. “He helped me bringing in top wrestlers -- one
guy that's a two-time world champion wrestler -- and some big
strikers from Holland. It has made things easier for me here so I
don’t have to be away from my family during the camp.”
Silva is as well-known among fans for his massive frame as he is
for his potent jiu-jitsu game and devastating ground-and-pound.
However, prior to his upcoming bout, Silva enlisted the help of
ex-fighter and nutrition guru Mike Dolce.
Silva says that Dolce has helped him stay lean, a fact that the
Brazilian believes will behoove him on fight night.
“Things are going really well for the first time before a fight.
I’m feeling very light and fast,” said Silva. “Cain Velasquez is a
lighter and much faster fighter and is diametrically opposed to my
strong points, which are my strength and my jiu-jitsu. I will try
to come in a little bit lighter to be able to counter his speed and
his lightness. I think that will be favorable to me.”
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