It wasn't Alistair Overeem's extraordinary physique that persuaded oddsmakers to deem him a considerable favorite to defeat Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC 156 on Saturday.
Overeem not only embarrassed Brock Lesnar in his last fight to sway the former champion into retirement, he also entered his bout with Silva on a 12-fight unbeaten streak that began in 2007 and included 10 finishes.
Considering the hierarchy that existed in the division heading into Saturday, many pundits argued that a decisive win over Bigfoot would have led Overeem to a shot at champion Cain Velasquez.
Silva, however, pulled off a highlight-reel knockout that spoiled Overeem's dreams and instantly made the division's title picture murky.
With Overeem, who Sportsbook.com listed as a 4.5-to-1 favorite (-450) to best Bigfoot, no longer the division's surefire title challenger, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva may need to get creative to find Velasquez's next foe.
Going into this fight, we talked about if Alistair Overeem won (he'd get a title shot). He (Silva) and Cain Velasquez had just fought recently. But I'm telling you, the way that he looked in this fight and what he did to Alistair, then maybe we do this fight again. Again, you guys know I don't make fights as soon as the fight's over, but I wouldn't be opposed to that.
Bigfoot has scored two straight knockouts against top-flight competition, but the gargantuan Brazilian will most likely get passed over for a title shot on account of his back-to-back losses to Daniel Cormier and Velasquez.
Speaking of the former Strikeforce champion, Cormier could solidify his spot atop the heavyweight contender's list with a win over Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7 in April.
But because of his friendship with sparring partner Velasquez, Cormier claims he'd rather make the descent to the light heavyweight division than lock horns with Velasquez.
And since surging contender Fabricio Werdum already has a date to dance with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in June, the UFC essentially has no choice but to once again pit Velasquez against Junior dos Santos.
Dos Santos needed only 64 seconds to render Velasquez unconscious in their first encounter. But in their rematch, the heavy-handed former champ got outclassed in every facet of the game by Velasquez, relinquishing his belt after just one title defense.
Granted, Dos Santos surrendered 11 takedowns and got outstruck at a rate of nearly 2-to-1 in his last fight against Velasquez, but the 29-year-old Brazilian has already climbed the proverbial ladder by steamrolling fellow contenders Werdum, Mir and Roy Nelson.
And Dos Santos, with the exception of a tender jaw and some bumps and bruises, walked away from the Velasquez fight relatively unscathed.
In a foggy situation, Dos Santos sure seems like the most worthy and available candidate to lock horns with the once-beaten Velasquez.
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