By BOB EMANUEL JR. | Scripps Howard News Service
Championship hopes hung over the octagon during last weekend’s UFC 156 event with two favorites, heavyweight Alistair Overeem and light heavyweight Rashad Evans, expected to get title shots with victories.
But those wins didn’t come. Antonio Silva knocked out Overeem in the third round and Evans lost a decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Silva’s victory could position him for a rematch against Cain Velasquez, who notched a first-round TKO of Silva last May.
“(Silva) and Cain Velasquez had just fought recently,” said UFC president Dana White. “But, I’ll tell you, with the way that he looked (Saturday night) and what he did to Alistair, maybe we do this fight again.”
Silva, who defeated Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko in 2011, would be open to a rematch.
“If Dana and (UFC vice president of talent relations) Joe Silva want to give me another opportunity to fight Cain Velasquez, it would be a pleasure,” Antonio Silva said. “He’s a big champion. He’s a tough guy, a very great guy. I just want to fight the best guys.”
Meanwhile, Evans, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, could have moved down to middleweight to challenge champion Anderson Silva. That plan was thwarted when Nogueira won the unanimous decision. Now, undefeated Chris Weidman could receive the nod.
“I liked Weidman for this (title) fight anyway,” White said. “Rashad looked worse than I’ve ever seen him before. Terrible.”
The championship picture in two other divisions also came into focus. Joseph Benavidez, who defeated Ian McCall via decision, could receive a rematch against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
After Jose Aldo retained his title via decision over former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, White received an unexpected text from Anthony Pettis, who was expected to challenge the winner of April’s UFC lightweight championship bout between Benson Henderson and challenger Gilbert Melendez.
“Anthony Pettis said, ‘I want to move to 145 and fight Jose Aldo,’” White said.