You read their articles, you watch and listen to their interviews, but often the personal opinions of the mixed martial arts (MMA) media get brushed over.
These media members have inside knowledge of the sport and a unique perspective of the fighters they have the privilege of interacting with. Before you place that bet in Vegas or with your friends, be sure to check out what those most educated about the sport have to say about the upcoming UFC 160 headliner.
Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva are set to rematch with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight championship belt on the line in the main event on Saturday night (May 25, 2013) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With another pay-per-view (PPV) main event just around the corner, read as 13 of the sport's writers and reporters break down and predict the UFC 160 heavyweight championship main event of Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva.
Mike Bohn (MMA Mania): Antonio Silva should be commended for his comeback knockout of Alistair Overeem earlier this year, but if he plans to implore a similar strategy of absorbing damage and waiting for his opponent to get tired against Cain Velasquez, this is going to get very, very ugly. The upside here for "Bigfoot" is that the fight can't go much worse than part one. The downside, though, is the fact the Brazilian has essentially the same skillset as when he faced Velasquez one year ago, and everyone saw how that fight played out. Cain Velasquez via second-round (technical) knockout.
Dave Doyle (MMA Fighting/Yahoo! Sports): I can't ignore the voices in my head. They're the same voices which led me to be the only reporter of note who successfully predicted that Bigfoot would finish Alistair Overeem. It's also the same voice which is reminding me that before UFC 155, literally nine of nine reporters here on MMA Mania said Junior dos Santos would beat Velasquez, with most, including myself, saying there was no way you could see things going any differently than the first Junior-Cain showdown. I'm going to listen to the voices and predict that Silva makes Velasquez crumple the same way Overeem and Travis Browne went down. Silva via TKO, round two.
Chuck Mindenhall (ESPN): It was last Memorial Day weekend that we seriously wondered if "Bigfoot" Silva would become the first UFC fighter to lose via exsanguination. Cain Velasquez was on him so fast, and pounding him with elbows so frequently, that it played out as a gross rematch, both a figuratively and literally. Fast forward a year later and here we are again. Do I think it'll go exactly as it did last time? Maybe not. Silva is motivated, and we saw his heart in that fight with Overeem. But it'll still be Velasquez's fight from the word go because he has one setting, and that's forward. He wins the rematch via onslaught in the first round.
Shaun Al-Shatti (MMA Fighting): It'll be more competitive than last time, if only because I think "Bigfoot" learned his lesson about the pitfalls of opening with a leg kick. But still, nothing that's happened over the past year leads to believe Velasquez won't just be able to replicate his gameplan to perfection. Takedown, smash, lather, rinse, repeat. Velasquez wins via second round TKO. "Bigfoot" gets relegated to Rich Franklin status until Velasquez is dethroned.
Brett Okamoto (ESPN): If this were a movie and Antonio Silva were the main character, I'd still have a hard time picking him. Silva's bread and butter is getting an opponent down and manhandling him from top position. That's not going to happen against Cain Velasquez. Generally speaking, Velasquez is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world right now but on top of that, this is a stylistic matchup built to his strengths. Silva has never demonstrated exceptional escapes from his back, or terrific defense for that matter. Once Velasquez gets him down, which you get the impression will happen whenever Velasquez wants, it's just over man. Even if Silva is able to fight back to his feet, it will be one of those hard-fought, barely make it upright deals along the fence and Velasquez will immediately take him down again. Silva has good straight punches to work with and you have to assume he's improved his takedown defense in preparation for this fight, but I see this being a basic repeat of the first fight.
Dave Deibert (Postmedia News): This won't be as one-sided as the first time they met but the end result is going to be the same. Having experienced the speed and explosiveness of Velasquez, Silva will at least have a reference point for what the champion brings, but knowing something is coming and stopping it from happening are totally different things. Silva knows Velasquez will look to take him down but there won't be a thing he can do to stop it. Velasquez's speed, conditioning and athleticism will also keep him out of trouble during stand-up exchanges, taking away Silva's lone shot at winning. Velasquez via second-round TKO.
Guilherme Cruz (Tatame): Bigfoot deserves a title shot after destroying Overeem and Browne, but does he deserve a rematch against Velasquez? I don't think so, but that's not in discussion anymore. Bigfoot made a big mistake in the first fight by using a (weak) low kick against a strong wrestler in the beginning of a fight, and he paid the price. He should play smart but be aggressive to win the title, but I don't believe he'll shock the world (again). Velasquez by TKO.
Ian Bain (MMA Opinion): Almost a year has passed since Velasquez decimated Bigfoot in their first fight, therefore it really is no surprise that Velasquez enters this fight such a heavy favorite. However, I think it has been apparent in the two fights since then that Bigfoot has tuned up his defence on the feet, being cautious of what his opponent offers. I think this fight ultimately will be a little more competitive than the first but I can't see past another Velasquez stoppage. Velasquez by TKO round 2
Jason Moles: (Cage Potato): Almost a year ago to the day, Cain Velasquez teed off on Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in glorious fashion at UFC 146. In fact, most people thought the fight was so lopsided they are still questioning why Silva would ever want to step into the Octagon again with such a ferocious fighter. In the time since, Velasquez has recaptured his heavyweight title from Junior Dos Santos while "Bigfoot" messed up a few guys who, arguably, will never wear UFC gold. When Saturday night rolls around, I expect the sequel to end the same - a flurry of punches.
Jason Nawara (Middle Easy): I didn't think Bigfoot could beat Fedor, I didn't think he could defeat Overeem either, and I'm pretty sure everyone thinks Bigfoot will be left in a pool of blood again at the hands of Cain Velasquez, but maybe Bigfoot learned from his mistake (don't throw leg kicks against Cain) and can adjust. This is, after all, the heavyweight division, and one punch can change everything. I'm going to go with the upset and pick Bigfoot to win. I've never, ever picked one of his fights correctly. Why begin here? Bigfoot, 1st round knockout.
Adam Martin (Sportsnet): I don't expect the rematch between Cain Velasquez and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva to go any different than their first fight. Look for the champ to get the takedown early and go to work on Silva on the ground, beating him up with brutal ground and pound and getting a first or second-round TKO win.
Jeremy Brand (MMA Sucka): This fight is probably one of the most underwhelming main event title fight of all time. Many say that it will go down almost identical to their first go round. I think if Silva can keep it on the feet it will last longer than the first fight, but ultimately Velasquez will get the fight to the ground and bloody up the Brazilian. Velasquez by 2nd round TKO.
Karim Zidan (The Flying Knee): The rematch between UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva is not one that excites me, no matter how much Silva has proven he deserves the shot. Apart from the potential upset KO, there is almost no other method that could lead Silva to be victorious on Saturday night. Velasquez is a far more well-rounded fighter and will certainly prove that he is leagues ahead of the challenger. Velasquez via 3rd Round TKO.
Media picking Cain Velasquez: Eleven
Media picking Antonio Silva: Two
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for media predictions for the UFC 160 co-main event of Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt.
For all the current news and notes on UFC 160: "Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2" be sure to check out our complete event archive right here.