Currently: 104° | Complete forecast | Log in

UFC 160 breakdown, betting odds and picks

In first defense since regaining title, Cain Velasquez is the biggest favorite of his career

Image

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.

There are numerous dangers in staging a rematch of a fight that failed to deliver a moment of competiveness the first time around.

The most glaring issue is the possibility that no one will give the dominated fighter a chance in the second bout. That seems to be happening with Saturday’s UFC 160 heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

Velasquez mauled Silva when they met a year ago at UFC 146, earning a first-round TKO after opening a cut that left a noticeable scar on the Brazilian.

Silva’s odds of beating Velasquez have nearly doubled for the second fight, according to sports books. Velasquez enters UFC 160 as a minus-750 favorite (risking $7.50 to win $1) with Silva coming back at plus-500 (risking $1 to win $5).

Silva closed at plus-300 before UFC 146 after attracting some support at the betting windows.

Finding Silva believers will prove much more daunting this week. None of the prognosticators in the Las Vegas Sun’s picks panel went against Velasquez, whereas Silva drew one vote of confidence a year ago.

The five competitors also agreed unanimously on three of the other four fights on the pay-per-view card.

Read below to find a breakdown, betting odds and picks from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (49-21 year to date), the Sun’s Ray Brewer (48-22), KSNV’s Kevin West (48-22), ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (46-24) and the Sun’s Case Keefer (44-26).

No. 4 Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 262
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 18-4
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: +500

Champion Cain Velasquez

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 240
  • UFC record 9-1
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: -750

Heavyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Third-round knockout victory over Alistair Overeem at UFC 156.

Punch list: A Goliathan figure, “Bigfoot” possesses the most sheer size in the UFC. But he’s never looked as small as he did in the first fight against Velasquez. Silva supplied no offense before getting taken down by Velasquez last Memorial Day weekend card and elbowed to the point that officials stopped the fight because of his massive blood loss.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Velasquez

Cofield: Velasquez

Last fight: Defeated Junior dos Santos by unanimous decision at UFC 155.

Punch list: The standout Mexican wrestler has gone as far as to say “the only thing” that matters to him is defending his heavyweight title. It’s something Velasquez failed to do the first time he held the belt. After flattening Brock Lesnar three years ago to get the championship, an injury kept Velasquez out for 13 months before dos Santos knocked him out to steal the title.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Velasquez

Brewer: Velasquez

Okamoto: Velasquez

No. 9 Mark Hunt

  • Age: 39
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 266
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 9-7
  • Out of: Minto, Australia
  • Betting line: +300

No. 1 Junior dos Santos

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 239
  • UFC record 9-1
  • MMA record 16-1
  • Out of: Salvador, Brazil
  • Betting line: -400

Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Knocked out Stefan Struve in the third round at UFC on Fuel TV 8.

Punch list: No one in the UFC has compiled a more impressive transformation than “The Super Samoan” in the last few years. The UFC wanted to buy out the former kickboxing champion’s contract when it purchased PRIDE but Hunt insisted on fighting. He’s now on a four-fight winning streak and a victory away from getting a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: dos Santos

Cofield: dos Santos

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155.

Punch list: “Cigano” is convinced he made one major mistake before stepping into the octagon to face Velasquez a few months ago — He overtrained. Dos Santos, who was noticeably more buff before his last fight, said doctors told him levels were too high which indicates he outdid himself in practice. He peaked too early and needed to tone it down in the weeks before the fight. It’s the approach he’s taken for this fight.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: dos Santos

Brewer: dos Santos

Okamoto: dos Santos

James Te Huna

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 16-5
  • Out of: Sydney, Australia
  • Betting line: +215

No. 4 Glover Teixeira

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 204
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 20-2
  • Out of: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • Betting line: -275

Light Heavyweight Bout

Featured Fight

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Ryan Jimmo at UFC on Fuel TV 7.

Punch list: Good fortune brought the Australian exactly what he asked for. After winning his fourth in a row a few months ago, Te Huna pleaded for a highly ranked opponent to help him move up in the division. Everyone was seemingly booked at the time, but an injury to Ryan Bader opened a slot at UFC 160 that Te Huna enthusiastically filled.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Teixeira

Cofield: Teixeira

Last fight: Beat Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 6.

Punch list: From an unknown to everyone but hardcore fans to the fastest rising 205-pound fighter in the world, Teixeira is closing in on a championship bout at light heavyweight. He’s yet to lose a round in the UFC, gliding past former champion Jackson after finishing Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado in his first two octagon bouts. His arrival in America was delayed by years because of visa issues, but Teixeira is now making up for lost time.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Teixeira

Brewer: Teixeira

Okamoto: Teixeira

No. 5 T.J. Grant

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 7-3
  • MMA record 20-5
  • Out of: Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
  • Betting line: +170

No. 3 Gray Maynard

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 9-1-1
  • MMA record 12-1-1
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: -210

Lightweight Bout

Title Eliminator

Last fight: Knocked out Matt Wiman in the first round at UFC on Fox 6.

Punch list: The most significant fight of Grant’s career multiplied in terms of its status at the UFC on Fox 7 post-fight press conference. That’s when Dana White announced the winner of Maynard vs. Grant would face Benson Henderson. It was a mild surprise as Grant isn’t yet a household name. But at 4-0 since dropping to lightweight, he deserves the opportunity and should be one of the rare 155-pounders not a size disadvantage to Maynard.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Maynard

Cofield: Maynard

Last fight: Split-decision win over Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4.

Punch list: It’s been a while since the UFC staged a straight top-contender bout. But here we are. This will be Maynard’s first fight since fully moving to San Jose to train at American Kickboxing Academy. He must love Benson Henderson’s lightweight reign more than anyone, as he was unlikely to get another fight for the title as long as Frankie Edgar held the belt. But now Maynard is on the verge just two bouts removed from his loss to Edgar.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Grant

Brewer: Maynard

Okamoto: Grant

K.J. Noons

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 11-6
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: +250

No. 6 Donald Cerrone

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 20-5
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -325

Lightweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Lost to Ryan Couture by split decision at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

Punch list: Noons has plenty to prove with his first fight in the octagon. He was long considered one of the better fighters, especially strikers, outside of the UFC but has fallen on hard times since October 2010. Noons went 1-4 in Strikeforce during that span, losing a welterweight title fight as well as two lightweight title eliminators.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Cerrone

Cofield: Cerrone

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC on Fox 6.

Punch list: Want to hear one adjustment Cerrone made after losing to Pettis that he described as cruel punishment? “Cowboy” gave up candy. He thinks it will help him make weight easier, and in turn, perform better come fight night. Not that he’s been the victim to any prolonged struggle. Aside from losses against Pettis and Nate Diaz, Cerrone has rolled through everyone in the UFC impressively.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cerrone

Brewer: Cerrone

Okamoto: Cerrone

Rick Story

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 8-4
  • MMA record 15-6
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: -155

Mike Pyle

  • Age: 37
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-3
  • MMA record 24-8-1
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +125

Welterweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Quinn Mulhern at UFC 158.

Punch list: Here’s Story’s chance to re-insert himself on the welterweight radar, a place he hasn’t been in two years after going 2-3 in his last five fights. Even with the downturn, Pyle’s newfound striking prowess shouldn’t discourage the Washington wrestler. No one has ever knocked out Story.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Pyle

Cofield: Story

Last fight: Knocked out James Head in the first round at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale.

Punch list: Pyle’s training sessions share something in common with Archie Karas’ $40 million gambling run and the Stardust sports book — all reached legendary status in Las Vegas. “Quicksand” has shown what all the commotion was about in his last three fights with a trio of first-round knockouts.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Story

Brewer: Pyle

Okamoto: Story

Max Holloway

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 7-1
  • Out of: Waianae, Hawaii
  • Betting line: +215

Dennis Bermudez

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record10-3
  • Out of: Lindenhurst, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -275

Featherweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Split-decision victory over Leonard Garcia at UFC 155.

Punch list: “Blessed” is considered one of the brighter prospects at featherweight, but Bermudez poses a major challenge. While Holloway holds nearly prodigious-level striking for his age, his wrestling and grappling leave much to be desired. He’ll want to avoid getting taken down by Bermudez, a former collegiate wrestler.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Bermudez

Cofield: Bermudez

Last fight: Split-decision victory over Matt Grice at UFC 157.

Punch list: Both of these fighters are coming off of highly controversial decision victories. No one really cared who the judges had winning Bermudez vs. Grice, though. It was the rare fight where both combatants walked away victors. The preliminary bout is, by most accounts, the Fight of the Year thus far as Bermudez came back from getting rocked multiple times early to return the favor to Grice late.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Bermudez

Brewer: Bermudez

Okamoto: Holloway

Robert Whittaker

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Sydney, Australia
  • Betting line: +175

Colton Smith

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 3-1
  • Out of: Fort Hood, Texas
  • Betting line: -225

Welterweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Defeated Brad Scott by unanimous decision at UFC on FX 6.

Punch list: Winner of “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes”, Whittaker has established himself as a well-rounded welterweight prospect. Before the “TUF” championship win over Scott, both of his victories on the show came by knockout. He also has five submission wins to his name.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Whittaker

Cofield: Smith

Last fight: Defeated Mike Ricci by unanimous decision at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale.

Punch list: The 16th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” might have been the weakest in the reality show’s history, but Smith deserves rightful credit for coming out as the champion. He inspired several with his run on the show as he’s still an active-duty Army ranger and won the tournament despite only three professional fights, the fewest of any “TUF” contestant in some time.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Whittaker

Brewer: Smith

Okamoto: Smith

Abel Trujillo

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 10-4
  • Out of: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Betting line: +225

Khabib Nurmagomedov

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 19-0
  • Out of: Fairfield, N.J.
  • Betting line: -285

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Marcus LeVesseur at UFC on Fox 5.

Punch list: Unbeaten for two years and a span of five fights, Trujillo looks to continue rising towards relevance at lightweight. He showed off more than striking in his UFC debut, which ended in a TKO, as Trujillo also thwarted several takedown attempts from LeVesseur, who has a decorated wrestling background.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Nurmagomedov

Cofield: Nurmagomedov

Last fight: Knocked out Thiago Tavares in the first round at UFC on FX 7.

Punch list: Dana White likes to say it’s impossible to stay undefeated in the UFC. He’ll need to amend that statement if Nurmagomedov keeps on his current pace. The Russian is just outside of the top 10 in the lightweight rankings. Another finish — he has two in three UFC fights — might be enough to move him into the poll.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Nurmagomedov

Brewer: Nurmagomedov

Okamoto: Nurmagomedov

Nah-shon Burrell

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Philadelphia
  • Betting line: +130

Stephen Thompson

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: Simpsonville, S.C.
  • Betting line: -160

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Defeated Yuri Villefort by unanimous decision at UFC 157.

Punch list: Thompson may have St. Pierre on his side, but Burrell has a confidant just as famous as the 170-pound kingpin. Just from a different sport. Burrell trains with Philadelphia boxing legend Bernard Hopkins. “The Rock-n-Rolla” is actually credited with being the fighter that changed Hopkins’ outspoken negative opinions on mixed martial arts.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Thompson

Cofield: Burrell

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Matt Brown at UFC 145.

Punch list: Talk about a sudden crash back down. “Wonderboy” was the talk of the UFC 145 undercard as a massive favorite against Brown, but he’s been largely forgotten in the 13 months since the lopsided defeat. The former champion kickboxer also received increased exposure because of his training with welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Thompson

Brewer: Burrell

Okamoto: Thompson

George Roop

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 3-5
  • MMA record 13-9-1
  • Out of: Tucson, Ariz.
  • Betting line: +225

Brian Bowles

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Athens, Ga.
  • Betting line: -275

Bantamweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Reuben Duran at UFC 158.

Punch list: The mystery of how someone as lanky as Roop makes the 135-pound limit continues at UFC 160. The veteran wasn’t about to ditch the weight class after winning in his return after three years at featherweight. Roop is a technical striker, but is susceptible to getting knocked out.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Bowles

Cofield: Bowles

Last fight: Second-round submission loss to Urijah Faber at UFC 139.

Punch list: Everyone wondered where Bowles went for the last year-and-a-half. The former WEC champion was basically in seclusion with a laundry list of injuries and dwindling passion in mixed martial arts. It took a while to fix all the problems, but Bowles says he’s now hungry to begin chasing his fighting dreams again.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Bowles

Brewer: Bowles

Okamoto: Bowles

Estevan Payan

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 14-3
  • Out of: Tempe, Ariz.
  • Betting line: +180

Jeremy Stephens

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 7-8
  • MMA record 20-9
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: -230

Featherweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Mike Bravo at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

Punch list: The Strikeforce crossovers continue in the first fight of the night as Payan, who went 2-0 in the sister promotion, makes his debut in the octagon. He also formerly fought in Bellator, where he went 1-1. Four of Payan’s last five fights have ended with a knockout victory.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Stephens

Cofield: Stephens

Last fight: Knocked out by Yves Edwards in the first round at UFC on Fox 5.

Punch list: Six years worth of service to the UFC has gone a long way for Stephens. Despite a three-fight losing streak, usually means to termination, the promotion grants “Lil Heathen” another chance here. In an effort to re-ignite his career, Stephens will drop to featherweight for the first time.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Stephens

Brewer: Stephens

Okamoto: Stephens

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy