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Heavyweights coming back to town for UFC 160 on Memorial Day weekend

Velasquez vs. Bigfoot II and Dos Santos vs. Overeem booked for MGM Grand Garden Arena

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Steve Marcus

Cain Velasquez, right, of San Jose, Calif. pounds a bloodied Antonio Silva of Brazil during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, May 26, 2012.

Las Vegas will host its third straight UFC heavyweight title fight Memorial Day weekend when Cain Velasquez grants Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva a rematch.

UFC 160 is now official for Saturday, May 25, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, as the promotion announced the details on its “UFC Tonight” television show Tuesday. It might be the rare card where the co-main event outshines the headliner, as Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem are slated to battle in direct support of Velasquez vs. Bigfoot II.

Dos Santos and Overeem were scheduled to fight in the main event of last year’s Memorial Day weekend card, but those plans were scratched when the challenger tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Dos Santos instead defended his championship belt against Frank Mir at UFC 146.

But dos Santos and Overeem engaged in a battle of words that still needs a resolution. Both are coming off of losses, as Velasquez pummeled dos Santos in a unanimous decision at UFC 155 and Silva stunned Overeem with a third-round knockout at UFC 156.

Overeem was poised to get the next shot at Velasquez with a victory two weeks ago. It was widely believed that Velasquez vs. Overeem would have been one of the UFC’s best-selling pay-per-views of the year.

Dana White video blog

A moment out of UFC President Dana White’s latest video blog illustrates how much the promotion liked the marketability of that matchup. The camera showed White talking in the immediate aftermath of Overeem’s downfall against Silva.

“I just told Cain Velasquez, ‘I have some good news for you and some bad news for you: The good news is you’re undoubtedly the greatest (expletive) heavyweight in the world. The bad news is you just lost a lot of money,” White said.

It’s not that Silva’s an unworthy opponent. He’s now won two in a row as a heavy underdog, handing Travis Browne the first loss of his career before the memorable Overeem knockout.

But Velasquez easily dispatched him in their first meeting. Velasquez took Silva down and opened a massive cut on his forehead, which led to a TKO stoppage at 3:36 of the first round.

Silva protested that the fight should have continued. Now he will get his chance.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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