UFC 146 fight card: Cain Velasquez vs Antonio Silva fight prediction, preview and breakdown

Cain Velasquez (L) and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (R) will fight tonight (May 26, 2012) in the UFC 146 co-main event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.

Say this for Cain Velasquez: the guy is definitely looking to get back in the cage against whomever is available.

With his original UFC 146 opponent, Frank Mir, promoted to the main event opposite Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, Velasquez gets a much better match up with Antonio Silva, a massive, at-times-impressive and other times horribly plodding foe.

Silva's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut later tonight (May 26, 2012) in the co main event inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, comes largely on the heels of his two-round beating of Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, which was followed by his quick starching at the hands of eventual grand prix winner, Daniel Cormier.

The mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion did him no favors with this booking; then again, Silva can thank Alistair Overeem for the UFC 146 fight card shake up. He is the primary reason "Bigfoot" will fight the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) stand out rather than his original opponent, Roy Nelson.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 146 fight between Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva:

The Breakdown

Velasquez was 249 pounds against dos Santos, and the yearlong layoff may have played a factor. At the UFC 146 weigh in event yesterday, "Brown Pride" tipped the scales at 240 pounds, his best fighting weight, to take advantage of his speed and quickness.

Silva is incredibly imposing from top position, and his huge limbs literally make him heavy-handed, but his striking technique is rudimentary and it's hard to envision him matching Velasquez standing, or on the ground, especially if Cain gets on top. Silva has nothing to lose, here, and Velasquez has a lot on the line. If that sounds exactly like Silva's match up with Fedor, it's because it's true.

The Pick

Velasquez is basically a very talented heavyweight who got caught by Junior Dos Santos. Their fight didn't show me anything other than the fact that dos Santos hits incredibly hard, which is often how heavyweight bouts go. Velasquez's conditioning and intensity will serve him well in this fight, as he hopes to make a statement.

He can simply tire out the huge Silva by punishing him on the feet, in the clinches, and from top position. Silva can wear out opponents by crushing them from top position -- he is very taxing from there, as shown against Fedor -- but Velasquez is too capable and quick to be caught in bad spots for long.

A lot of eyes will be on Velasquez to see how he rebounds from losing his title, but his foot speed and combinations will be too much, as he picks his spots, and tattoos Silva standing, prior to pouncing on the hurt Brazilian en route to a second-round knockout.

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 146 results of all the "Dos Santos vs. Mir" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:00 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.

See you later!

Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or jasonprobst@gmail.com.

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