But, as it stands, with Alistair Overeem out of the picture because of his positive drug test, we can officially look forward to seeing Junior dos Santos defend his heavyweight title against Frank Mir on May 26, along with Cain Velasquez taking on Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.
The matchups themselves are intriguing enough. The fact that everything got switched at the last minute adds a little extra.
First, the title match: Mir had been prepping for a three-round fight with Velasquez. Now Mir looks at the possibility of going five rounds with the champ. Should it make a difference? Apparently not, because he was already training to be the fittest he’s ever been.
“In all honesty, I think three rounds with Cain is as vicious as five with anyone else …,” Mir told ESPN.com. “So I am in better shape cardio-wise now than I have been at any point in my life.”
The key for Mir will be avoiding dos Santos’ devastating fists, which he displayed in winning the title from Velasquez. Mir had been training for a wrestler before. Now he’s got a month to shore up his striking defense.
As for Velasquez-Silva: Velasquez might be getting a raw deal here. His fight with Mir was to earn the winner a title shot. Whether or not that’ll be the case against Silva, we’ll see.
If not, this fight would seem to set up well for Velasquez to take the first step to earning another shot — on the surface. Silva is a behemoth at 6-foot-4, who possesses good power. Making his UFC debut after a five-fight stint in Strikeforce is plenty reason for him to be amped to defeat a former champion.
Velasquez needs to be careful as he trains for a completely different style of opponent. Silva has shown that he can be dangerous see: Fedor Emelianenko TKO victory but also vulnerable see: Daniel Cormier KO defeat. I’d expect Velasquez to be plenty motivated to redeem himself after his embarrassing loss to dos Santos, no matter the opponent.