This time last year, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (18-4) was two weeks away from perhaps the worst beating of his MMA career. Challenging UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (11-1) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Brazilian was taken down and bloodied up for three-and-a-half minutes before the referee called it off. Since then, Silva has bounced back to score impressive TKO victories over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem. In two weeks, on May 25, he returns to the scene of his biggest defeat for another shot at Velasquez and his UFC gold.
“I think the main thing is in our first fight I was nervous and I was anxious. I’ve replaced those emotions now. Now, I’m driven, I really want this. Comparing my style of fighting to Cain’s style of fighting, I would have to be born again to become faster than Cain Velasquez. I have 30 pounds on him. He’s going to be faster than me, so I need to work with what I have. I have to work with what I have, I have very heavy, heavy hands … I’m very confident that I’m going to win this belt, so I believe I’m going to be the one defending it … We learn a lot from our mistakes as people, especially our professional mistakes. For sure, I learned a lot from my last fight (with Velasquez), from how things were for me going into the fight, what I need to do different. So, this is a whole other ball game. I’m prepared and I’m ready to go … Obviously, in the first fight, I made a big mistake. But there were a lot of things I did right going into that fight that unfortunately you guys didn’t get to see, so, much of that has been maintained. Overall, the main strategy is just not to let his elbows get near my forehead.”