Velasquez landed a perfectly placed right cross on the chin of the Brazilian. Silva crumpled to the mat. Velasquez quickly moved into position and finished him with ground and pound, forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to stop it just 1:21 after it started.
On May 26, 2012, Velasquez also beat Silva in the first round. In that bout, he caught a Silva kick early, took him down, opened a massive cut with an elbow and then pounded on him until it was stopped at 3:38.
This time around, Velasquez didn't need a takedown.
Silva had no answer once he was hit and simply turtled until the fight was called.
The Velasquez win, coupled with a win by Junior dos Santos over Mark Hunt in the co-main event, will likely lead to a rubber match between the two. Dos Santos won the title from Velasquez via knockout in 2011, but Velasquez won a wide decision last year.
Dos Santos earned another shot at the heavyweight title in spectacular fashion, landing a spinning wheel kick to the head to finish a game Hunt in the third round.
The pair were firing power shots at each other for the majority of the fight. Dos Santos knocked Hunt down with a massive right in the first, but Hunt showed his incredible chin and got right up.
But he couldn't get up in the third. Dos Santos landed a left hook that sent him staggering back to the middle of the ring. He missed a jab, but then spun and caught Hunt on top of the head with the kick.
Hunt went down and dos Santos went for the kill. He landed one shot from the top before referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped it at 4:18 of the third.
"I really believe I can be the champion again," dos Santos said as the crowd roared.
He was cautious in going after Hunt, a powerful striker with one of the strongest chins in the game. He kept his distance, not choosing to exchange toe-to-toe, a move that would have played into Hunt's hands.
Dos Santos used his jab well and was scoring points, though he occasionally took good shots from Hunt. Hunt's best was a left hook along the cage that wobbled the ex-champion.
But dos Santos was in marvelous condition and that paid off. He hurt Hunt with the hook, then finished him with the kick that he used for the first time in competition.
"Never before have I tried that," an exultant dos Santos said in the Octagon after the fight.
Earlier, Glover Texeira scored an impressive first-round submission victory over James Te Huna that puts him on a collision course with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Teixeira caught Te Huna in a guillotine choke and finished it quickly at 2:38 of the first. He seemed more excited afterward that boxing Hall of Famer Mike Tyson jumped into the cage to congratulate him after the win than he did by his performance.
"I can't believe Mike Tyson was here for me," said Teixeira, a protégé of ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.
yson saw Teixeira and Te Huna come out quickly and throw bombs at each other. But as soon as Teixeira saw the opening for the choke, he jumped on it.
Later, he didn't want to call anyone out after winning his fourth consecutive UFC bout.
"My job is to do what I do in here [not make fights]," he said. "I come to finish fights. I did the job well tonight."
In the lightweight category, the late betting action was on T.J. Grant in his No. 1 contender's fight with Gray Maynard. By the time it closed, Maynard only went off as an 8-5 favorite.
And Grant showed why the bettors were backing him with a shockingly one-sided beatdown of Gray Maynard. Grant did most of his work on his feet, and finished it by raining punches on Maynard. The bout was stopped at 2:07 of the first.
"I knew exactly what he would do," an ebullient Grant said after earning a shot at lightweight champion Benson Henderson. "He hit me with some good shots, but I knew he would be flat-footed [in front of me]."
And that allowed Grant to batter Maynard with strikes. Grant started the finishing sequence with a perfect right on the chin. When it was over, he landed several punishing shots and Maynard turtled in the corner before it was mercifully stopped.
"This is like a dream come true but the dream isn't over yet," Grant said. "There is still work to do. I knew if I left it all out there, the fans would love it. Gray is not a guy I wanted to go to the ground with and I saw he didn't move his feet too well so I knew there were openings.
"I wasn't necessarily looking for the knockout. I was just looking to connect to the face. I felt good things would come from that."
In the pay-per-view opener, Donald Cerrone rebounded from a first-round knockout loss to Anthony Pettis with a one-sided unanimous decision over K.J. Noons in a three-round lightweight bout.
Cerrone kept Noons off balance all night, working on his feet and on the ground, to win going away. Judges had it 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for Cerrone, who has now won four of his last five.
Cerrone opened two major cuts on Noons' face and battered him for pretty much the entire 15 minutes.
Noons credited Cerrone with a solid game plan, but Cerrone said he got away from it early.
"I was kind of in a scramble mode at first and strayed away from my game plan," Cerrone said. "[Coach] Greg [Jackson] got me back on track after that first round. I just hope I gave a good performance for the fans. That kid is tough."
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Martial Arts
- Junior dos Santos
- Mark Hunt