Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva announces March 23 fight with fellow UFC vet Juan Espino

One-time UFC heavyweight title challenger Antonio Silva continues to fight on despite an 11-fight losing streak.

Silva on Tuesday announced a fight with fellow UFC vet Juan Espino for March 23 at an event dubbed, “The Farewell.” The event takes place at Gran Canaria Arena in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. The bout’s rule set and details were not included.

“I am very happy to fight against [someone I look up to] in my career, someone who motivates me to be a better fighter and I admire, a fight full of respect where victory or defeat is not sought, but to thank all the fans who have supported us with a great show,” Silva wrote on Instagram (via translate).

Espino, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 28, announced his retirement from MMA this past June, saying his injuries forced him to retire from competition. He most recently competed in 2021, losing a technical decision to Alexandr Romanov at UFC Vegas 24.

“Deep in my heart I was left with a prickly thorn,” Espino wrote on his Instagram page (via translate). “It has nothing to do with winning or losing… . I couldn’t allow injuries to keep me from saying goodbye the way I like best.”

Silva has been knocked out in nine of his 11 straight losses. After his most recent setback, a decision loss this past June to Salim El Ouassaidi, he announced he would return because he felt he had won the fight.

Immediately after the loss, Silva said “everything has a beginning and an end, and I’m very happy and satisfied. We never want to stop, no professional athlete wants to stop, even in volleyball or football, but everything has a time, and I did this for 19 years.”

Silva hasn’t won in the cage since a 2015 win over Soa Palelei at UFC 190.

MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.

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