As a result of Alistair Overeem being withdrawn from the UFC 146 main event, Frank Mir will now step in to take on heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos. With Mir becoming part of the headliner it left former champion Cain Velasquez (9-1) without an opponent, however, UFC president Dana White announced today via his Twitter account that Velasquez will now take on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-3).
UFC 146 takes place May 26 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The original main event between Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos was scratched due to Overeem failing a pre-fight drug test which revealed elevated levels of testosterone. Overeem was then scheduled for a hearing with the NSAC to see if he would be eligible for a license to fight but UFC officials decided to remove Overeem from the bout instead of waiting.
Former Strikeforce fighter Silva was originally scheduled to face Roy “Big Country” Nelson on the same card but has moved into the new match-up which now leaves Nelson looking for an opponent. The UFC has not yet announced who Roy will be facing but he is still expected to compete on the card.
This will be Cain Velasquez’s first fight back in the Octagon since losing the heavyweight title to Junior Dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1 back in November 2011. Prior to his loss to Dos Santos, the first of his pro MMA career, the 29-year-old had picked up notable victories against fighters such as Cheick Kongo, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar, who he defeated via TKO at UFC 121 to become heavyweight champion. A big win against Silva would send a message to the UFC and the whole division that he is still one of the top three contenders at heavyweight.
Strikeforce import Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will enter the UFC Octagon for the first time on May 26th, he is no stranger to taking on top competition. With a record of 3-2 in Strikeforce he recorded victories over Andrei Arlovski, Mike Kyle and Fedor Emelianenko. In his most recent fight at “Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov” held in September 2011, Silva was defeated by Daniel Cormier via TKO in the first round. Defeating Velasquez would be a great way to bounce back from the loss and make an entrance into the world’s leading MMA promotion.