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EliteXC: Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva vs. Ricco Rodriguez to fight at 'Street Certified'

Ricco rodriguez antonio silva
EliteXC: "Street Certified" at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami on February 16 in Miami, Fla., featuring the main event fight between Kimbo Slice and Tank Abbott, just got a bit more interesting.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez (27-7) will take on Antonio "Big Foot" Silva (9-1), according to, in a match up that could decide the best heavyweight in the EliteXC organization.

Silva -- who is also the Cage Rage heavyweight champion -- most recently defeated Jonathan Wiezorek via rear naked choke in the first round. He has been real impressive throughout his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career, ending all nine of his fights in the first round. His lone loss was a questionable stoppage to Eric Pele in a Bodog event in December 2006.

EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw is high on the Brazilian, going as far to say recently that he is the best in the world.

Here's the snip:

"I believe Silva is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world. If there is a UFC heavyweight or, for that matter, any heavyweight out there that feels they are the best then lets make a match. We can do the fight in an Octagon, in the EliteXC cage or any venue. I truly believe ‘Big Foot' will kick any heavyweight's butt and look forward to giving him the opportunity to do it.''

That opportunity is one that a veteran fighter like Ricco Rodriguez has no problem stepping up to take. He has fought some of the biggest names in the MMA heavyweight world such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria, Tim Sylvia, Jeff Monson, Andrei Arlovski and Randy Couture.

And he's had success to some degree in most of those contests sans the knockout loss to Sylvia.

However, even though he just turned 30 years old there are a lot of miles on his odometer. He has struggled with his weight and substance abuse issues for the past few years. In fact, he will appear on VH-1's "Celebrity Rehab" in the coming weeks.

The experience appears to have Rodriguez heading in the right direction, however. He recently put up a decent fight (on super short notice) against the IFL's top heavyweight, Ben Rothwell, albeit in a losing effort at 2007 Team Championship Final. He rebounded from that defeat to pick up a technical knockout win over Kevin Filal less than three months later.

Regardless, this is definitely a great opportunity for Rodriguez and a fight in which he will not be intimidated. It's also a great chance for Silva to get a win over a notable "big" name opponent.

No pun intended.

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