UFC Middleweight Title Bout: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Odds: ( -170 Silva / +140 Weidman )
Betting Pick: Weidman
Bet on this fight at Bovada
The main event of UFC 168 features one of the sport’s most hotly-anticipated rematches. For years, Anderson Silva was the sport’s #1 pound for pound star and had a death grip on the Middleweight title. Heading into his title bout with Chris Weidman, he was obviously feeling supremely confident. From the very beginning of the fight, he was showboating and dancing around, and Weidman made him pay for it by planting him with strikes. Now, humbled by the defeat, Silva will attempt to regain his title from the new champion. Can Weidman beat a focused, serious, Silva? Or will “The Spider” prove that his lone UFC loss was nothing but a fluke?
Anderson Silva is the sport’s most superlative striker. No one in the history of MMA has Silva’s mix of speed, power, footwork, accuracy, technique, and creativity. He is a beast in the clinch and he can hurt opponents with all four limbs at any range. The only two knocks against Silva are that he tends to be unmotivated for what he considers lesser fights and that his takedown defense is suspect. Considering the circumstances of this fight, I don’t think lack of motivation is going to be an issue, but takedown defense very well might. Weidman is a dangerous wrestler with a great ground game, and Silva is going to have to avoid getting taken down if he wants his belt back.
Chris Weidman is without a doubt the most exciting young Middleweight in the UFC. A solid striker, wrestler, and grappler, Weidman represents the complete package. While it’s hard to draw solid conclusions from his first win over Silva, there is no doubt whatsoever that Weidman represents the stiffest challenge in the world at 185 pounds. I think the key for Weidman, who has a more versatile skillset than Silva, is not to get overconfident based on his knockout last time. If he stands with Silva the entire fight, he might still win, but he would be putting himself in needless danger. His best bet is to throw his punches when he has an opening and use his takedowns to control the fight.
I think it’s clear that this fight won’t play out the way the last one did, but I still think the matchup favors Weidman. Silva is undeniably the more versatile striker, but Weidman is more than equipped to capitalize on any mistakes. Weidman is by far the better wrestler and ground fighter, and if he can keep himself from getting knocked out, I think he should be able to control Silva well enough to defend his title by unanimous decision.
Prediction: Chris Weidman by Unanimous Decision.