Andrei Arlovski knockouts out Bigfoot Silva in round 1 at UFC Fight Night 51.

It was not the ending headlining heavyweight slugger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was looking for Saturday night in his home country of Brazil. In the main event of UFC Fight Night 51, Bigfoot – who had spent most of the week leading into the fight telling everyone and anyone who would listen that he was looking for a knockout of opponent Andrei Arlovski – found himself tagged hard and dropped in the middle of the octagon, the first real victim of Arlovski’s second run with the UFC (a lacklustre split decision over Brendan Schaub doesn’t get many brownie points).

It was the two heavyweight’s second meeting; Silva had taken a unanimous decision win back in Strikeforce in 2010. Saturday night, the fight wouldn’t leave the first round, and the hammer fists that came after the initial punch that felled Bigfoot were basically Arlovski going through the motions, like a good hockey player finishing his check. From the moment the first punch of the sequence connected, Silva was done – and so were any hopes of a second shot at the UFC heavyweight title.

To be fair, having lost twice to champion Cain Velasquez in brutal fashion (once in a non-title contest), those hopes were pretty slim to begin with. However, in a paper thin heavyweight division, Bigfoot had managed to somehow hang on to fourth spot in the UFC’s official rankings, and were the title to change hands come November’s Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum match, a win over Arlovski might have put Bigfoot just another victory away from his next crack at the belt.

Instead, Arlovski suddenly looks resurgent, while Bigfoot drops to 0-2 and one No Contest in his last three fights. The one No Contest represents his fantastic back and forth war with Mark Hunt from last December; that fight, some consider one of the greatest heavyweight slugfests of all time, was a Fight of the Night (and Fight of the Year candidate) that was at first scored a draw until Silva tested positive for high testosterone levels.

Silva had been on the then still-legal testosterone replacement therapy leading into the bout, and his diagnosis of Acromegaly (similar to gigantism), which is the cause of the enlarged head and hands of Bigfoot, made him probably one of the few fighters who legitimately required the therapy. However his testosterone levels wound up above the acceptable limit due to poor management of the treatment, and the fight was switched to a No Contest on Silva’s record, however it was determined Hunt should not be penalized and was able to maintain the Draw on his.

It was a heavy blow. With TRT banned, Silva opted for surgery to remove a cyst on his pituitary gland that was believed to be the cause of his acromegaly, but put it off until after the Arlovski fight. The surgey, if successful, will keep him out of the octagon and out of training with contact for at least a couple of months.

Who Bigfoot gets upon his return is another matter. The Arlovski fight once again exposed Bigfoot – it’s more than possible to knock him out. He’s a big target that lacks speed, and as Daniel Cormier proved in the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament, one punch is all it takes.

A closer look at Bigfoot’s recent record paints an even more dire picture. Since September 2011, when he lost to Cormier, Bigfoot has just two wins, against Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem in late 2012/early 2013. It was those two wins that earned Silva his second crack at Cain Velasquez and first shot at the UFC heavyweight title, but the Browne win comes with a huge asterisk, as Browne injured his leg during the fight and was something of a sitting duck, and Overeem got cocky as he was ahead on the scorecards and fought with his hands low in the third allowing Silva to find his range in timing, and found himself knocked out, something that has been a trend with The Reem of late.

In short, Bigfoot, through no fault of his own, is yet another victim of the heavyweight hype train. With so few potential title contenders, a couple of solid wins gets you into the top ten at heavyweight, as long as you’re exciting (if you’re not – well, then you likely outside the top fifteen).

There are options for Bigfoot of course: depending on the outcome of next week’s Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson fight, Big Country vs. Bigfoot could be a fun fight for fans. A bout against Derrick Lewis, who recently had his hype train derailed, could also serve as a rebound fight for Silva.

The surgery will have to come first, but once Bigfoot gets back in the game, there’s a good chance he’s relegated to gatekeeper status. He’s still a marketable name who can headline a card or appear in a solid showcase fight, but any talk of a title run was dashed by The Pitbull last weekend.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.