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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Nolan King

Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva to fight fellow UFC alum in double un-retirement fight

“Bigfoot” is back – again.

A former UFC heavyweight title challenger, Antonio Silva hasn’t had much, if any, success in recent combat sports outings but the desire to compete continues to outweigh thoughts of retirement.

Silva (19-15) retired in June after 11 consecutive combat losses (including nine by knockout), but the retirement only lasted eight days before he publicly changed his mind. Silva, 44, now has booked a fight against another UFC alum who is coming out of retirement, “TUF 28” heavyweight winner Juan Espino (10-2).

Both fighters recently announced the fight on their Instagram pages. The bout takes place March 23 at Gran Canaria Arena in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. Rules of the bout were not revealed.

“Bigfoot” had some signature wins prior to the marathon of defeats that closed his career. On his rise to UFC title challenger notoriety, Silva defeated the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Fedor Emelianenko, Travis Browne, Alistair Overeem and Soa Palelei. His UFC Fight Night 33 main event against Mark Hunt in December 2013 is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweight MMA fights of all time.

On the opposite side of the equation, Espino, 43, fights for the first time since a controversial 2021 technical split decision loss to Alexandr Romanov. Espino won “The Ultimate Fighter 28” in 2018 but only competed twice more in the UFC before he stepped away from competition due to injuries in April 2023.

“I couldn’t allow injuries to keep me from saying goodbye to mine the way I like best,” Espino wrote in Spanish on Instagram.

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