Antonio Silva had a plan.
Despite being listed as a more than a 3-to-1 underdog for his UFC 156 clash with Alistair Overeem, the former Elite XC champion put a stop to his favored foe’s five-year winning streak at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The victory was a personal one for “Pezao,” who said that he had a specific message ready for Overeem before their fight began.
“He hasn’t respected me for a long time,” Silva told Fox Sports. “In a lot of interviews, he talked a lot of s--- about me. At the press conference, I told him, ‘I will make you respect me, bro.’”
Though Silva would eventually get the better of the former Strikeforce champion, it was Overeem who appeared in total control in the early going. “The Demolition Man” relied on his speed in round one, holding his hands by his sides while beating Siva to the punch.
In round two, Overeem hit a takedown but found it difficult to do any meaningful damage from Silva’s guard. When referee Herb Dean stood the men up, there appeared to be a noticeable change in momentum. Silva then wasted no time in taking advantage of a fatigued Overeem to start the third stanza, clipping the former K-1 world grand prix kickboxing champion with a hard straight before pinning him against the cage and turning out Overeem’s lights with a trio of crushing right hooks.
“My strategy was to go for the second and the third rounds, because I knew he didn’t have good cardio and a good heart,” said Silva. “I know he won the first round. When he put me on the ground [in round two] and used ground-and-pound, it didn’t affect me too much. I said, ‘Hey, let’s go. Punch me hard, man. Let’s go.’ In the third round, he dropped his hands, and I did my job. I knew he was going to be tired in the third round.”
After dropping Overeem, “Bigfoot” began yelling at his fallen foe. Even as Dean did his best to restrain the former super heavyweight, Silva still managed to unleash a brief verbal tirade against “The Reem.”
“I said, ‘Let’s go. Come fight. I want to fight more.’”
Despite his impressive performance, Silva refused to call out his next opponent. Still, the 33-year-old said he will not back down from his next foe, regardless of whom the UFC chooses.
“I don’t know [who I want to fight next]. Now I’m going back to my home to stay with my family. I’m going to rest two weeks and then go back to training,” said Silva. “I’ll fight [whomever] the UFC gives me -- whoever is best for the UFC. I’ll be prepared for the next fight.”