Anderson Silva (33-5, 20 KO's, 6 Subs)
Previewing this fight with Anderson Silva as the challenger is definitely uncharted territory but his defeat at the hands of Chris Weidman last July makes it so. Silva is the consummate mixed martial artist and if you're not familiar with him then all I can say is welcome to the UFC and enjoy your stay.
Prior to his stunning defeat Silva had not lost legitimately (I'm not counting the DQ for an illegal up-kick to Yushin Okami - which was a thing of beauty by the way) since December of 2004 when he was caught with a flying scissor heel hook by Ryo Chonan. It was a shocking turn of events as Silva was doling out a beating but Chonan went for a desperation move and it worked in spectacular fashion. But it would be 19 up and 19 down (excluding the DQ) before Silva lost his belt at UFC 162 where he was installed as a -250 favorite in UFC odds.
Silva understands quite well what he's facing this time around and will be well prepared for the elite level of wrestling that Weidman brings to the table. But ironically it wasn't Weidman's ground game that won the day, it was a huge shot straight to the face of a clown. That's right, Silva got caught clowning and it cost him a title and his aura of invincibility. It will be interesting to see if he brings that careless arrogance to the Octagon in the rematch.
Chris Weidman (10-0, 4 KO's, 3 Subs)
Chris Weidman is a former Division 1 All-American wrestler, Ring of Combat Middleweight champ, won the U.S. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion as a purple belt and is your current UFC Middleweight champion of the World. The man is a winner and nothing spoke louder about his steely determination and explosive power than his knockout of the legendary Silva on July 6th of this year.
Some may look at his fight with Silva and surmise that it was a lucky shot but I would direct your attention to his fight with heavy hitting Mark Munoz. Once Munoz realized he would have absolutely no chance of grappling with Weidman he decided to keep the fight standing and punish Weidman with his bone jarring punches. He soon found out that Weidman is a beast on his feet and floored Munoz with a devastating elbow to the temple and finished it off with a flurry of punches while Munoz lay prone and defenseless. The middleweight champ has proven to be as lethal standing up as he is on the mat.
Free UFC Pick:
In my preview for the first match I said the following:
"I see Chris Weidman as a younger and improved version of Chael Sonnen. He has the perspicacity to stick to his game plan and not lose focus. Silva's flawless technique and superior striking skills may ultimately win the day. However, Weidman is the kind of fighter that can make you feel old in a hurry. A new day is dawning. It's the end of an era."
Yes, I advised a UFC pick of Weidman on +210 way back in March and I am not about to switch sides now. Of course Silva will make adjustments but so will Weidman. Weidman had his way with Silva on the mat and almost caught him with a heel hook and a leg lock that Silva was able to escape. But this time around Weidman won't be so quick to abandon his ground game at Silva's insistence. He now knows he can beat Silva and Silva knows it too. Silva is getting older while Weidman is getting better.
Play Weidman +100 at WilliamHill.com.