Game changers in Vegas (UFC 160 Review)

Cain Velasquez vs Antonio SilvaLas Vegas has been the centre of UFC for years with most of their older fights taking place in the casinos on the strip. The UFC is also headquartered in Vegas and so the UFC looks to continue putting on good fights to reward the city that opened the door for them first. UFC 160 was no different as the Vegas crowd was treated to a heavyweight title fight and what turned out to be two top contender fights. It was a big night of fights as the main event would determine the next Heavyweight Champion and would change the careers of the two fighters involved. Antonio Silva and Cain Velasquez were the top two fighters in the heavyweight division with Velasquez holding the belt and Silva earning the title shot. Even with these rankings there were questions about both fighters. Velasquez had already held the belt once but would not hold the belt for very long. Many people say that a true champion is a fighter who can defend the belt and not just win it but that was not Velasquez who lost his first title defence against Junior Dos Santos. After winning the title back from Junior Dos Santos Velasquez was out to try to prove he is a true champion and finally defend the belt. Velasquez went into the fight trying to show he was not a one and done champion but he would have to get through one of the biggest heavyweights in the division. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is a 6’4” 265 lbs heavyweight who was introduced into the UFC by getting KO’d by Cain Velasquez. Since that time he has run through some of the toughest competition in the division and earned a rematch against Velasquez for the title. Going into the fight Bigfoot was looking to show that he can win a belt in a major promotion. With his only titles coming at Cage Rage and the Pro Elite Series, Bigfoot had never really won a championship in a major promotion. Now he had his chance and was hoping to get some revenge in the process of winning the title. The fight would be an interesting one to look at as both fighters had good standup and ground game. The last time they faced off it was Velasquez’s ground game that would win the fight as he would earn a TKO with his ground and pound. This time Bigfoot would be looking to stay standing and use his heavy hands that had ended his two previous fights. Velasquez on the other hand would be trying to get the fight to the ground and stay away from the bigger range and heavier hands that could easily catch him and end his title reign. The strategies would be immediate as Cain would come out in the first round and trade with Silva only to try to get the takedown. Silva had clearly concentrated on his takedown defence though and would not allow the champion to take the fight to the ground. He would keep it standing and try to catch Velasquez with a big punch to end the fight. The strategy would not work out though as Velasquez would land a big right hand that would drop Silva. The champion would not let the challenger back up as he pounced and would finish the fight with a convincing first round TKO. Silva would take the loss and would fall back into the heavyweight division where he might have to wait a while to get another shot as challengers are backing up in the very tough division. Meanwhile Velasquez would defend his belt for the first time and would move on to a fight determined earlier after a top contender fight in the co-main event.

This top contender fight would be a matchup between Junior Dos Santos and Mark Hunt as the fighter who won may have been on his way to a title shot. For Dos Santos is was a chance to earn back the title he lost to Cain Velasquez and for Mark Hunt it was a chance to finally earn a shot after years climbing the ladder. The fight would be a good one as both fighters would stay standing for the majority of the fight with both looking for the big knockout. Hunt would take the worst of the exchanges and in the third round he would finally be taken out and stopped for good. A roundhouse kick from Dos Santos would find its mark and put Hunt down where Dos Santos would finish the fight. For the win Dos Santos would earn a rematch with Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title in what should be a great fight. It was not the only fight that would determine a top contender as a lightweight fight earlier in the night would surprisingly but deservedly provide a #1 contender. TJ Grant would take on former top contender and #3 ranked Gray Maynard. The fight would be an exciting one and one where Grant would do something that not many other fighters have been able to do. Grant would earn a big KO against Maynard in the first round of their fight and for the great finish he would earn a title shot. At the post fight press conference Dana White would say that the impressive win was enough to convince him that the Canadian deserved a shot at Benson Henderson and the lightweight belt. It would be an interesting night were a champion was determined and two challengers were named with two divisions figuring out their future at UFC 160.

 

Fight Bonuses
($50,000 for each fighter)

Submission of the Night
Glover Teixeira would extend his winning streak to 19 fights when he beat James Te Huna with a number of good strikes that would send his opponent to the ground where he finished with a Guillotine Choke

Knockout of the Night
TJ Grant was not supposed to get the KO of the night as Dos Santos was in line for the bonus until Mike Tyson lobbied Dana White to change the bonus to Grant who finished his fight in the first round against Gray Maynard

Fight of the Night
The co-main event was a slugfest where Mark Hunt seemed to be out of it more times than not but even though the Super Samoan would lose the fight he would earn the Fight of the Night bonus alongside Junior Dos Santos

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Cain Velasquez def. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva [Heavyweight Championship]
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Main Card:
Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos def. Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt
(KO; Rd. 3)

Glover Teixeira def. James Te Huna
(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 1)

TJ Grant def. Gray “The Bully” Maynard
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone def. KJ Noons
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Undercard:
Mike “Quicksand” Pyle def. Rick “The Horror” Story
(Split Decision)

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez def. Max “Blessed” Holloway
(Split Decision)

Robert Whittaker def. Colton Smith
(TKO; Rd. 3)

Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov def. Abel “Killa” Trujillo
(Unanimous Decision)

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson def. Nah-Shon “The Rock N Rolla” Burrell
(Unanimous Decision)

George Roop def. Brian Bowles
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens def. Estevan “El Terrible” Payan
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC on Fuel TV 10: Nogueira vs. Werdum (Saturday June 8th; 8:00 pm ET)
Fortaleza, Brazil (Paulo Sarasate Arena)
Main Event: Minotauro Nogueira vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum
Notable: Thiago Silva vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
Notable: Daniel Sarafian vs. Eddie Mendez

UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson (Saturday June 15th; 10:00 pm ET)
Winnipeg, Manitoba (MTS Centre)
Main Event: “Suga” Rashad Evans vs. Dan “Hendo” Henderson
Notable: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Notable: Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic

UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman (Saturday July 6th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Main Event: Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Chris “All-American” Weidman [Middleweight Title]
Notable: “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas
Notable: Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch

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