The UFC 194 co-main event features middleweight king Chris Weidman defending his title against Luke Rockhold. Let's analyze this matchup and review the UFC odds to see which fighter makes sense to back in our UFC picks.
Luke Rockhold (14-2, 3 KO's, 9 Subs)
Since getting his lights turned out courtesy of a Vitor Belfort spinning heel kick back in May of '13 Luke Rockhold has been on a tear. The 31-year-old middleweight delivered a bludgeoning body kick to Costas Philippou that not only TKO'ed the Cypriot but some say greased the skids for his eventual retirement from mixed martial arts a year later. Rockhold then rolled through a tough guy trifecta of Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping and Lyota Machida defeating all by submission. Granted Rockhold met these fighters all in the sunset of their MMA careers but the manner in which he was able to dominate and handle each of his last four opponents makes him more than worthy of this title shot on Saturday night.
Rockhold has a "cool as the other side of the pillow " deportment whether being interviewed before a fight or getting attacked while in it. Fans of Rockhold understand he is an elite BJJ practitioner holding world titles in 2007 before switching to mixed martial arts full time. The American Kickboxing Academy protégé will face his stiffest test to date and will be tangling with an opponent whose wrestling skills are on a par with his BJJ skills. Rockhold will have to prepare for a tactical battle when he climbs inside the Octagon with Chris Weidman but if he is to ever wear the UFC Middleweight strap his timing couldn't be better because he has never been better.
Chris Weidman (13-0, 6 KO's, 3 Subs)
Chris Weidman exploded onto the UFC landscape like a supernova and his stunning consecutive victories over the legendary Anderson Silva made believers out of most rabid MMA fans. I say most because some still believe Silva took Weidman too lightly in their first match, clowning with the young upstart like one of those air puppets outside a car dealership until Weidman showed him what was really funny when he nailed the Brazilian with a left hook that turned the MMA world on its head. That of course was quickly followed by their hotly anticipated rematch in which Silva suffered a gruesome leg fracture courtesy of a leg check by the champion.
Of course you can make the case Father Time, as opposed to Chris Weidman, would eventually win the day with Silva. But let's not forget that Weidman also defeated world renowned mat master and fourth degree BJJ black belt Demian Maia via unanimous decision right before he nailed The Filipino Wrecking Machine Mark Munoz with a murderous right elbow followed by a swarm of lefts and rights as Munoz faded from consciousness. The champ has defended his belt on three occasions which includes the rematch with Silva, a unanimous decision over Lyoto Machida and a stunning TKO over the incomparable Vitor Belfort.
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It's hard to imagine but Chris Weidman remains underrated by the vast majority of MMA fans. That has as much to do with the lingering resentment towards him because he had the audacity to shatter Silva's aura of invincibility more than anything else but it is also a reason why the UFC odds makers have seen Weidman bet down from an opening -160 favorite to as low as -134 in some of the major offshore shops. I believe Weidman has superior punching power and uses his knees and elbows more effectively and more often than Rockhold. I would also wager that Weidman will gain top position on the mat when the fight falls to the ground. Yet, Rockhold does have one advantage and that is his sublime BJJ and submission skills.
Nevertheless that will not deter us from including the champion Chris Weidman in our UFC picks on Saturday December 12th. The man is a killer and to be able to get him at a price this low is simply too tempting not to back him.
UFC Picks: Play Weidman -134 at BetDSI