The co main event of this weekend’s UFC 146 features former UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez taking on veteran Antonio Silva, who is making his UFC debut. Velasquez comes in an overwhelming favorite against the gigantic Brazilian, with the line coming in at -390, and Silva’s comeback stands at +290. It is called gambling for a reason I always say, but there is the potential for some to find value in the underdog.
Velasquez is a very compact heavyweight with wrestling skills that allow him to dictate where the fight is going to take place. In his ten professional fights, he has gone the distance only once, but he is known for his cardio conditioning and is unlikely to tire faster than Silva.
Velasquez can be caught in the stand up, as Junior Dos Santos showed in his last outing. That, combined with his long layoff recovering from surgery, is likely to lead to a more methodical Velasquez on the feet. It may even lead to Velasquez looking for a takedown early.
Antonio Silva is going to have to come out and test his strength, see if he can catch a cautious Velasquez with a big rush. He is going to need to hurt Velasquez, and then he is going to need to tie him up along the fence and maul him, similar to what he did to Fedor Emilianenko. I have always been impressed with Velasquez’ mental toughness, but bleeding, with a bigger guy hitting him, that is a place Velasquez has not been yet in his professional MMA career.
Can Silva do this? It really is his only chance at winning. If they both slow the pace down and get into a methodical boxing match, both men went down in their last fight when hit on the chin, so it will come down to who is able to land the big shot first. That type of match is advantage Velasquez, as he is going to be a crisper, faster athlete compared to the sometimes plodding Silva.
Silva is one of the biggest and strongest fighters in the division, but he really has to get to Velasquez, preferably early. Most people are betting against Silva’s ability to do this, but if he pulls it off, he immediately puts himself in title contention and it is a big payoff for those that bet on him!
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