LAS VEGAS – Fears that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez’s rematch with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva would look exactly like the first fight turned out to be unfounded. This one was even quicker.
Velasquez dropped the challenger with a short right early on in the first round, and then wasted no time basting him with a torrent of follow-up punches as Silva struggled to regain his bearings. When Silva didn’t respond in time, referee Mario Yamasaki moved in to wave it off at the 1:21 mark of the first round.
The heavyweight title fight co-headlined Saturday’s UFC 160 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
“My game plan was moving a lot,” Velasquez said after the victory. “The important thing was not staying in front of him. Moving, looking for the takedown, looking for the punches, but never staying in front of him.”
That proved to be a sound strategy for Velasquez, who was the shorter, smaller man in the cage, but whose speed had given Silva problems in their first meeting a year ago. That one ended with Silva choking on his own blood less than four minutes into the fight. This one was over in half that time, and without the blood.
The win marks the first successful title defense in two tries for Velasquez, who took the UFC heavyweight title back from Junior dos Santos this past December after losing it to him in late 2011. With Velasquez winning his fight at UFC 160 and dos Santos knocking out heavyweight contender Mark Hunt in the night’s co-main event, the stage seems to be set for the two to meet in a rubber match.
“He looked good tonight,” Velasquez said of dos Santos. “He’s tough. He’s always been tough.”
Velasquez (12-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC), who’s ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA heavyweight rankings, has now won three straight since suffering the only loss of his career in the knockout at the hands of dos Santos. Silva (18-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), who ranked No. 7, loses for the first time since his first meeting with Velasquez a year ago.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 160 results include:
- Champ Cain Velasquez def. Antonio Silva via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:21 – to defend heavyweight title
- Junior dos Santos def. Mark Hunt via knockout (spinning kick, punch) – Round 3, 4:19
- Glover Teixeira def. James Te Huna via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:38
- T.J. Grant def. Gray Maynard via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:07
- Donald Cerrone def. K.J. Noons via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Mike Pyle def. Rick Story via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Dennis Bermudez def. Max Holloway via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Robert Whittaker def. Colton Smith via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 0:41
- Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Stephen Thompson def. Nah-Shon Burrell via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- George Roop def. Brian Bowles via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:43
- Jeremy Stephens defeats Estevan Payan via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
For complete coverage of UFC 160, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan and Matt Erickson contributed to this report on-site in Las Vegas.