In a candid moment backstage before his UFC 146 co-main event against Cain Velasquez, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was spotted working through a rather unique pre-fight warmup, which included bobbing his massive jaw up and down in Muppet-like fashion, and hammer-fisting himself in the nose. While Silva successfully avoided any painful face-cramps during the fight, he wasn’t able to prevent this from happening.
Junior trains out of Luis Carlos Dorea’s Champion Boxing gym in Brazil which, in addition to being headquarters for world-class fighters, is home to a vibrant youth boxing program. After training one day, the UFC Primetime cameras caught one of the little tikes hanging asking Junior to take him with him to the states for his title fight.
At the time, Junior said, “we’ll see.” But he ended up bringing the 9 year-old kid and his family to Vegas to watch him win. After beating Mir, he lifted the lucky young fighter onto his shoulders and posed for the cameras along with his coaches.
Dos Santos definitely appears to have the Wanderlei Silva nice guy/maniac fighter balance down pat. Try as I might, that image warms my cynical heart, and I don’t give a damn how orchestrated it may or may not have been. Who doesn’t like watching a kid’s dream come true before their eyes?
Dos Santos made his UFC debut almost four years ago at UFC 90, and three days before the fight Dana White posted footage of JDS hitting mits on his online video blog. Dos Santos’s hands looked incredible, and suddenly money came pouring in on the heavy underdog to beat Fabricio Werdum, which he did in devastating fashion. Since then, Dos Santos has put together the best resume in UFC Heavyweight history, destroying everyone in his path. So, is Mir going to be just another notch on JDS’s belt, or will JDS have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon Sunday morning? Join me as I break down each fight on UFC 146′s main card, and don’t forget to come back to CagePotato tomorrow night for our liveblog of the event.
They say that styles make fights, and Saturday night’s heavyweight championship is going to be a clash between two men who are the best in the division at their chosen styles. Junior Dos Santos is so confident in his boxing skills that he says he could hang with the Klitschko brothers with three months’ training, and Frank Mir’s jiu-jitsu is so good that he broke Minotauro Nogueira’s arm after Nogueira had Mir teetering on unconsciousness. Both of these men have a wealth of Octagon experience, but neither man has ever fought into the championship rounds of a fight. That shouldn’t be an issue Saturday night, however, for this fight will probably end well before the final bell.
For Dos Santos, the game plan is simple: keep this fight on the feet. Dos Santos’ belief in his hands has to be at an all-time high, as he’s coming off his knockout of previously undefeated former champion Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds. If JDS can control the Octagon against Mir and use his superb counter-punching, I can see him finishing Mir early. Dos Santos has very quick hands for a heavyweight, and his uppercut is devastating. Just one counter hook or uppercut, and it could be lights out for Mir.
(Word has it JDS hits so hard that Frank Mir fainted shortly after this photo was snapped.)
Just a reminder, Potato Nation, that the weigh-ins for tomorrow’s UFC 146 card are going down tonight starting at 7 p.m. ET. Because we “love” you the way a man “loves” the prostitute he just kicked out of his hotel room, we’ll be hosting a live stream of the event below. At least one of us will be trolling the comment section and looking for a fight, so be sure to join us if you’re into that sort of thing.
Unfortunately, last Tuesday’s UFC on FUEL: Zombie vs. Poirier card all but completely derailed our recent run of luck with the Gambling Enabler (aside from the decision to purchase some Bud Light Platinums to celebrate another beautiful McKenzietine bet), but hopefully this weekend’s UFC 146 event, which features an all heavyweight main card for the first time in UFC history will help get things back on track. So without further adieu, may we present to you the tasty betting lines, brought to you courtesy of BestFightOdds, along with our brilliant/equally insane advice below.
(Let’s be honest, you’d pay to watch these three knuckleheads do *anything*.)
As Danga pointed out yesterday, injuries and surprise drug tests have led to all five of UFC 146‘s main card bouts being altered since they were first announced, which puts “Dos Santos vs. Mir” right up there with MMA’s most cursed events of all time. But let’s be fair — the UFC originally promised us ten aggressive heavyweights bashing the hell out of each other, and they’re still giving us just that. So is UFC 146 a rag-tag bunch of scab-fights, or a compelling lineup in itself? Let’s break it down…
Original main event: Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem Current main event: Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir Advantage:Even. Luckily, our schizophrenic contributor Josh Hutchinson has already presented bothsides of this issue, and I’m leaning towards the idea that Mir as a main-event replacement isn’t a total disaster. At first, we had the two best heavyweight strikers in MMA slugging it out for supremacy. Now, we have…well, who knows? Mir’s brilliant ground game opens up a whole new set of outcomes for this one. And isn’t MMA at its best when it’s chaotic and unpredictable? (I know, some of you just watch for the big muscles, but I’m a true fan, okay bro?)
Original co-main event: Cain Velasquez vs. Frank Mir Current co-main event: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva Advantage:Original. And I only say that because Velasquez vs. Mir felt like less of a squash match. Bigfoot really could have used a softer landing in the Octagon; making his UFC debut in a pay-per-view co-main event against a juggernaut ex-champ like Velasquez smells like serious trouble for the Brazilian, who already failed a chin-test against Daniel Cormier in September.
A young champion that has dominated every opponent in the Octagon with his boxing vs. a veteran ex-champ whose ground-wizardry has carried him to his second career comeback. Sure, it would have been nice to see JDS vs. Overeem, but we’re staying positive here, and you couldn’t write a better storyline for this May 26th heavyweight title fight. Also featured in the new hype video for UFC 146 is the return of heavyweight phenom Cain Velasquez, who promises a victory against promotional newcomer Antonio Silva — a gigantic opportunity for both men. Can Bigfoot make a splash in the UFC, or is he just a speed-bump on the way to Cain’s next title shot?
Antonio Silva will be making his UFC debut against Velasquez, and hasn’t competed since his knockout loss to Daniel Cormier in the semi-finals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament last September. As for Silva’s original opponent Roy Nelson, Big Country is still expected to remain on the card though a replacement opponent hasn’t been named yet. The current lineup for UFC 146 is after the jump…
Nevada has been able to test athletes randomly for a while now, but only recently got an increase in their department’s funding that has allowed them to begin such testing in earnest, according to Chiappetta. The state commission decided to take advantage of all the fighters coming to the state, and save the money it might have cost to go to them, in effect. As the MMAFighting report explains: