Two more heavyweight bouts have been added to the upcoming UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” card on May 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former UFC Heavyweight Champions are set to collide as Cain Velasquez looks to rebound from his first professional setback when he battles Frank Mir.
Also announced for the card was a fight between ex-Strikeforce standout Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and one-time IFL champ Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Silva’s three-fight winning streak came to an end at the hands of Daniel Cormier in September. Nelson needs a big win after dropping three of four.
Velasquez (9-1-0) finished six of his first seven opponents leading into a showdown with former PRIDE and UFC interim champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira at UFC 110. Velasquez passed the test with flying colours and knocked out the legend midway through the first round. He went on to capture the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a first-round destruction of Brock Lesnar, but injuries kept him out of action for over a year. He returned to the cage in November and lost his title to current champion Junior “Cigano” dos Santos just 64 seconds into the UFC on FOX 1 headliner.
Mir (16-5-0) has history with both Lesnar and Nogueira as well. Mir was able to submit Lesnar in the latter’s UFC debut in early 2008 and stopped Nogueira ten months later. However, he lost two of his next three bouts, including a title rematch with Lesnar on the historic UFC 100 card. Since then, Mir has enjoyed a career resurgence. He first knocked out former PRIDE star Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović at UFC 119, then took a well-earned decision victory over Roy Nelson this past May. It was a December rematch with Nogueira where Mir really shined, though, as he used a vicious Kimura to submit the jiu-jitsu master after battling back from a shaky start.
According to the announcement today, Velasquez and Mir will face off in a number one contender’s bout. The victor will move on to challenge the winner of the night’s main event between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem.
Silva (16-3-0), a former EliteXC champion, experienced his greatest success to date during his time in Strikeforce. After a close decision loss in his Strikeforce debut, Silva went on to win three straight fights in the promotion, including his famous stoppage of long-time PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko in February of last year. The win propelled Silva into the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but he was knocked out by Cormier in the latter stages of round one. Silva now joins other recent Strikeforce imports as the latest addition to the UFC’s heavyweight roster.
Nelson (16-7-0) has battled ups and downs throughout his UFC tenure. The winner of The Ultimate Fighter 10 earned quick victories in each of his first two bouts in the Octagon, but he has dropped three of four since then. Back-to-back losses to dos Santos and Mir left Nelson in grave need of a big win. He managed to defeat a fading Filipović in round three of their bout in October, but was unable to follow up in his most recent fight. In February, Nelson faced another former Strikeforce contender, Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum, and was never able to get anything going. Nelson dropped a Unanimous Decision to Werdum and again finds himself in desperate need of an impressive win.
UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” takes place on May 26th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Junior “Cigano” dos Santos and Alistair Overeem.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)