It is still a long way away, but July 6th will feature UFC 162, headlined by the return of the pound for pound best fighter in the world in Anderson Silva, as he defends his UFC Middleweight belt against Chris Weidman. Weidman is a tough fighter, but with a career record of just 9-0 his detractors wonder why a relative novice would get the fight with Silva, no matter what his potential is. But none of that will matter when the Octagon gates close.
When the line is released at the books, look for Silva to be a big favorite in the fight. Weidman does have a strong following, and his fans have been loyal and vocal about the fight with Silva, so some action will come in on Weidman. The bigger favorite that Silva is, the more it is worth looking at Weidman for the big underdog bet, because the fight has a lot of x-factors around it.
Weidman does lack experience and ring time, and he will also be coming off a year long layoff due to injury. Being off that long and heading into what is by far the biggest fight of your life will be stressful to some fighters, it is inevitable.
Silva is also on a long layoff, although his is self imposed and he is not nursing himself back to health from an injury. Silva will be 38 years old for this fight, and his drop off in skill and reflexes has not been noticeable to date, but it would be a bad time for age to start caging him against a young gun like Weidman.
The other big factor to look at when considering experience is the 5 round title fight – Silva has fought in exclusively 5 round affairs since the UFC went to 5 rounds, while Weidman has 10 complete rounds total in his MMA career to go with a handful of first round stoppages.
And Weidman basically is going to have to use the same strategy as Chael Sonnen did in his first encounter with Silva – set the pace, control the fight and beat Silva up on the ground. Silva showed in that fight that he can take a licking and still be dangerous at fight end, but Weidman is going to have to be cautious and not over expose himself for submissions. If Weidman is unable to do damage and has to fight out of control, he will get submitted, and if he is too cautious, he risks being stood up to Silva’s world of stand up.
Weidman is a tough competitor, and one that certainly would have benefited from a half dozen more fights before a title shot.. Will Weidman be the man to catch Silva as he starts to fade at the end of his career, or will he just add his name to a long list of Silva victims? If Weidman is a HUGE dog come fight time, it might be worth the gamble….