UFC 160 is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV, the action should kick off on Facebook at 6:35 PM EST, followed by prelims on FX at 8:00, and the main card live on PPV starting at 10:00. The main event of the evening features a UFC heavyweight title showdown between champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. It has the makings of a great night of fights, so read on for a breakdown of all 12 match-ups.
Cain Velasquez vs Antonio Silva
Velasquez will be making his first title defense since regaining the heavyweight crown from Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155. Cain gave Silva a thorough beating in their first fight (which occurred almost one year ago to the day), but since then “Bigfoot” has rallied with TKO wins over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem. Silva will be a significant underdog, but it’s a role he’s seemingly grown comfortable with. The pressure is on Velasquez to assert himself atop the division and defend the UFC belt.
Junior Dos Santos vs Mark Hunt
Hunt is mounting one of the best cindarella runs in the history of MMA and has managed to ride his terrific KO power all the way to a UFC title eliminator against former champion Dos Santos. Both guys have legit striking credentials, but will Junior play it safe and try to take Hunt down? Or will he turn the fight into a shootout and match strength versus strength? Either way, this one is probably not going the distance.
Glover Teixeira vs James Te Huna
The fighter who wins this match will be poised to become a serious contender in the UFC light-heavyweight division. Teixeira is superb and has amassed a whopping 18-fight win streak that dates back to 2005, but Te Huna has the edge in UFC experience, having competed 6 times in the promotion to Teixeira’s 3. The winner should expect to be only one fight away from a shot at champion Jon Jones.
Gray Maynard vs TJ Grant
Grant has been on a tear since moving down to 155 pounds, rattling off 4 straight victories over tough competition. But Maynard is considered one of the top lightweights in the world for a reason. The winner of this bout will get to challenge UFC lightweight title holder Benson Henderson, so we can expect a gritty performance from each man come fight night.
Donald Cerrone vs KJ Noons
Although both Cerrone and Noons have been competing at the highest level for some time, each could use a bit of a rebound at this point in his career. Cerrone is one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of MMA and possesses excellent technique, while Noons leans heavily on his crisp boxing. Each will look to impose his will and begin a new ascent up the UFC rankings.
Mike Pyle vs Rick Story
Pyle and Story are a pair of tough UFC welterweights who bring a lot of skill and experience into the Octagon. Pyle has won by TKO in his last three fights and is seemingly hitting his stride at 37 years old, but Story has never been knocked out in his MMA career. This should be a good brawl and is a sleeper candidate for “Fight of the Night”.
Dennis Bermudez vs Max Holloway
Bermudez and Holloway are meeting at a good time in their respective careers. Each fighter is young, full of promise, and riding a 3-fight win streak in the UFC featherweight division. Bermudez has managed to accrue two “Fight of the Night” bonuses during his UFC tenure, and taking on a game opponent like Holloway might give him a chance at a third.
Colton Smith vs Robert Whitaker
This match-up features another pair of young prospects, this time in the welterweight division. Both Smith and Whitaker are winners of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and will be competing in their sophomore UFC outing. Smith brings stellar wrestling credentials into the fold, but he’ll need to be on the lookout for Whitaker’s crushing knockout power.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Abel Trujillo
At a perfect 19-0, the former Combat Sambo champion and Judo black belt Nurmagomedov is proving to be a force at 155 pounds, having won his first three UFC bouts against very solid opponents. But Trujillo has been in good form lately and is riding a 5-fight win streak, including a TKO win in his UFC debut. Both of these guys are finishers and will no doubt be looking to make a statement to the UFC lightweight division.
Stephen Thompson vs Nah-Shon Burrell
Thompson is something of a curiosity in the MMA world due to his karate background and unorthodox style. Burrell has only had one fight in the UFC but fought several times in Strikeforce, giving him an edge in big-show experience. Both fighters have shown a preference for striking in the past, so this one will probably stay on the feet.
Brian Bowles vs George Roop
Eighteen months after dropping his last fight to Urijah Faber in a UFC bantamweight title eliminator, Bowles will be looking to start climbing back up the division ladder. Roop has had his ups and downs but at 6’1’’, he is unusually tall for a bantamweight and poses a unique challenge. Bowles is definitely the odds-on favorite here but Roop has previously shown good power in his strikes and could be considered a live dog.
Jeremy Stephens vs Estevan Payan
Stephens is 0-3 in his last three fights and is almost surely fighting for his UFC life. “Lil Heathen” has always had great punching power, and perhaps a move to 145 pounds will reinvigorate his career. But he’ll have his hands full with Payan, another import from Strikeforce who hasn’t lost a fight since 2009. This one should be fireworks and is a great way to get the card started.