Silva enters the Octagon next Saturday for his rematch with
Velasquez at UFC
160, he will do so as a heavy underdog.
“Bigfoot’s” first encounter with the reigning heavyweight champion
was not a pretty one, as Velasquez planted the massive Brazilian on
his back and battered him with a barrage of punches and elbows one
year ago at UFC 146. In spite of that result, and his current
status as a 4-1 long shot, Silva nevertheless believes that he will
walk away from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with
championship gold around his waist.
“I like when people underestimate me. It’s nice, because I get to
go out there and [prove] them wrong,” Silva recently said during a
media conference call. “There are no superheroes in this sport.
Nobody is invincible. I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work in
the last nine weeks. I’ve been preparing myself, and I’m very
confident that I’m going to have my arm raised on May 25.”
As Silva mentioned, this would not be the first time he has been
counted out against a favored opponent. Following the heavyweight’s
one-sided loss to Velasquez, bookmakers listed him as an underdog
against both Travis
Browne and Alistair
Overeem. “Bigfoot” won both fights by knockout.
With those convincing victories nestled securely in his back
pocket, Silva now appears to be a far more confident fighter than
when he previously faced Velasquez.
“In our first fight, I was nervous and anxious, but I have replaced
those emotions. Now, I am calm and driven. I really want this,”
said Silva. “Comparing my style of fighting to Cain -- I would have
to be born again to become faster than Cain
Velasquez. I’ve got 30 pounds on him. He’s going to be faster
than me. I need to work with what I have, and what I have is very,
very heavy hands. I’m going to keep my hands healthy and heavy, and
I’m sure that the first punch I really land, he’s going to go
Though Silva admitted that much of his preparation and strategy
will carry over from his first meeting with the champion, the
33-year-old plans to effect one key change in the rematch.
“A lot of my preparation has been the same as it was for the first
fight. Obviously, in the first fight, I made a big mistake, but
there were a lot of things that I did right going into that fight
that, unfortunately, you guys didn’t get to see,” said Silva. “Much
of that has been maintained, but overall, the main strategy is just
to not let his elbows get near my forehead. That would be a