Anderson Silva takes on Chris Weidman tonight in the main event of UFC 162.
With all the pre-fight talk surrounding Weidman, you would think Silva won the UFC middleweight championship via a card game or something.
No other challenger to Silva’s gold has been hyped up like the 29-year-old American, but tonight ‘The Spider’ will end the hype by extending his record-setting run of victories to 17. The Brazilian is the best fighter on the planet and the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. He has fought the best and beaten the best – in pretty devastating fashion at times!
So why does the world think Weidman is the man to stop Silva’s dominance of the 185lb division? It cannot be down to his professional record. The New Yorker has an unbeaten record of 9-0 but there are no truly elite names on his list of victim. Demian Maia and Mark Munoz are talented fighters, but neither are top-10 middleweights and Weidman has only really got this shot because Michael Bisping was knockout out by Vitor Belfort.
No, the key factor Weidman supporters are pointing to is his wrestling and Chael Sonnen’s first failed attempt to wrestle the gold from Silva. Sonnen was able to take Silva to the mat throughout their first meeting and was just mere seconds away from becoming the new middleweight champion when Silva sunk in a triangle choke that forced the challenger to tap out.
So that is the key, Weidman must get the fight to the ground – but that is easier said than done. Silva has successfully avoided 70 per cent of his opponent’s takedown attempts during his UFC career and his vastly superior striking means challengers have been physically punished for taking this fight to the ground.
And the simple fact is every fight and every round starts on the feet, and Weidman has no business trying to compete in a stand-up contest with the champion. Silva’s striking is almost like poetry in motion, a thing of beauty mixed with brutal violence. Whether it be vicious knees (ask Chael Sonnen) or incredible kicks (ask Vitor Belfort), Silva is always one strike away from putting the fight to bed.
The likes of Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen (twice) have all failed to take the title away from Silva since he first won the gold in October 2006. You can add the name Chris Weidman to that list tonight!
Prediction: Anderson Silva to win