Previewing UFC 160 main-event for ‘Velasquez vs Bigfoot 2’

May 21, 2013


Previewing UFC 160 main-event for ‘Velasquez vs Bigfoot 2’

John Boldrick – What is Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva?  Some might say it’s a fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Others will point out that it’s the main event of UFC 160. Finally, fans will mention that it’s a rematch from last May.

Admittedly, all of those answers are correct. The heavyweight title matchup at UFC 160 is a rematch from last May. The original fight saw Velasquez defeat Silva by first round TKO. Perhaps the better question is what does this fight symbolize?

UFC 160 takes places on May 25, 2013 from the MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To get a true idea of the importance of this fight, MMA fans may have to borrow a little from another sport. As painful as it may be to some, MMA fans should look to boxing. Yes, boxing. It may seem like the two sports are at war on occasion.

MMA has been positioning itself as the new wave of combat sports, and really sports in general. It’s been geared toward the younger, specifically the 18-34 year old demographic, while boxing has always been seen as the sporting equivalent of the billionaires club.

There is one philosophy that should be borrowed from the “sweet science” though. That is the concept of lineage titles.

It should be said that lineage titles aren’t exactly real. That may seem confusing. It’s like how the UFC didn’t have an official top ten until February 5. People knew who were in the top ten, it just wasn’t official. The same can be said about lineage championships. They aren’t official, but people still know what they are and recognize them.

It’s basically the fighter that beat the last champion to not lose the belt. Ok, maybe basically was a bad word choice. An example probably illustrates it best.

Take the Elite XC Middleweight Championship. When the promotion closed in 2008, its final champion was Robbie Lawler. With lineage championships, just because the promotion died, doesn’t mean the title itself did. So, in Robbie Lawler’s first fight after the closure of Elite XC, against Jake Shields in Strikeforce, he was actually defending his Elite XC middleweight lineage championship.

Shields defeated Lawler in a tick over two minutes that night. He also won the title that night. So in Shields next fight, against Jason Mayhem Miller, Shields was defending the title. He’s actually defended it three times so far. Next time Shields fights at middleweight, the title will be on the line.

So how exactly does this apply to Velasquez vs. Silva? Well first of all, it means that the UFC heavyweight title isn’t the only one on the line. Well, first of all, The PRIDE heavyweight lineage championship is on the line. How so? Well…

Fedor Emelianenko was the champion when PRIDE FC closed its doors in 2007. Like Fedor is prone to do, he went on a winning streak, “defending” the lineage championship five times. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Emelianenko was defeated by Fabricio Werdum by triangle choke in 2010. From there, Werdum lost to Alistair Overeem and, as we all know, Overeem lost to Silva. Now, Silva is the PRIDE heavyweight lineage champion. If you think that unifying arguably the two biggest lineage heavyweight titles is all that’s on the line, think again.

Emelianenko is a big part of this. All of his lineage belts he had are now with Bigfoot. That includes the RINGS open weight title and WAMMA heavyweight championship.  If you want to think outside the box, Emelianenko’s 2004 PRIDE World Heavyweight Grand Prix win trophy is also on the line. Even the old UFC Superfight Championship is being defended. Even Bigfoot’s old Elite XC heavyweight title is involved.

Last but not least, the Strikeforce lineage heavyweight championship will be up for grabs. What’s interesting is that it will actually feature someone considered a Strikeforce fighters. It will really be a chance to see which company truly had the best heavyweight fighters. Most people would have probably thought that a Strikeforce champion versus UFC champion fight would likely happen sometime. It’s unlikely many expected Bigfoot Silva to be involved.

To begin with, this was an important fight. Silva has improved a lot since the two first met, going 2-0 since UFC 146. He also just beat the top contender for the belt. It really is the UFC champion versus the top heavyweight challenge. That fight is important on its own. When you factor in the historic lineage championships and the historical significance of this fight, it may just be a bit bigger than anyone expected.



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