Undefeated middleweight Chris Weidman looks to etch his name in UFC history by handing Anderson Silva his first loss inside the Octagon (Photo by Dave Mandel, Sherdog.com).
Written by Chris Cox (@CoxFight), Contributing Writer
Passing of the Torch or Another Lamb to the Slaughter? A Look at UFC 162
July 4th is the day we celebrate our independence in the United States of America. Family and friends all gather around for drinks, cookouts and rejoicing in our freedom. When nighttime hits, the sky is lit up with beautiful colors of fireworks. The country stands in awe as they bathe the sky in color.
This year, we get lucky. The fireworks didn’t stop on the 4th. Tonight, we relight the sky in a different way. UFC 162 will light the airwaves to TVs all around the nation as we see MMA’s pound-for-pound best fighter Anderson Silva take on Chris Weidman in Las Vegas.
Weidman demanded this fight in July of 2012 after his destruction of Mark Munoz, who will also be returning on the card a bit before the main event. Many people have mocked Weidman by saying he has not done enough to deserve a crack at the champ that is Silva. This will only be the 10th fight of Weidman’s career when steps in to face Silva, but he has won all of his previous nine fights in three different ways. He has yet to meet defeat in his career, so that is one of the many reasons why the hype train for this fight has been rolling so hard.
A lot of people are thinking out loud right now, “Only nine wins? That doesn’t seem like a real lot when it comes to facing Silva.” Yet many fighters in the organization, and many people in general, are getting behind Weidman. Prominent fighters like GSP, Rashard Evans, Daniel Cormier, Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen are just some of the fighters who think Weidman has what it takes to knock off Silva.
What is it about this guy that makes people think that he can dethrone the champ?
First, you have to take a look at his style. The only time we have ever seen Silva in danger is when he faces a lethal wrestler. When he fought Dan Henderson, he was punished in that first round as Hendo kept taking him to the ground. Silva did come out on top with a rear naked choke, but the first round was a loss. Of course, we can never forget the four-round beating that Chael Sonnen applied. Constant aggression and the mix of takedowns and unorthodox boxing led Sonnen to the most punishment we have ever seen given to Silva.
Here is the scary part. Chris Weidman can do what Sonnen does better than he can do it. Aggressive style is what Weidman is all about. He has out-struck all of his opponents in his five UFC fights. He has a 72% takedown success rate and has a nasty wrestling background. When I say nasty, I mean NCAA Division I All American nasty. Ground and pound will be his best weapon because Silva has not been submitted since Ryo Chonan did one of the craziest flying heel hooks we will ever see back in 2004. The Nogueira brothers test him daily, so I would say his BJJ is on point.
With his style and tools, Weidman has what it takes to walk home with the gold on Saturday night. The right mix-up of takedowns and boxing can make it a hard night for Silva, no doubt.
Do I think he takes it home? Not a chance.
Silva has done nothing but continue to learn from his opponents. He knows what fighters’ strong points are, and he knows how to get in your head when you are in the cage. Some will call it disrespectful and showboating, but the fact is that he pulls you out of your game plan by frustrating you.
Do you really think Silva has not been drilling wrestling every day and working on ways to keep himself off his back? Silva is not going to let you have your strong side. Look at what happened when Thales Leites and Demian Maia continued to fall on their back begging Silva to come to the ground. He is not an idiot. He is the best fighter in the world for a reason, and he is not going to take any opponent lightly.
Weidman has only a half-inch reach on Silva, and there is a chance that if this stays standing, he can still be made to look like a fool on his feet. Would an upset be good for that division? Of course! It would shake the whole game up. It would be a whole new world, but I just can’t see it happening on Saturday night. Weidman is a nasty fighter and has the tools, but Silva just has so much experience and is just that good. Have you ever watched Floyd Mayweather, Jr., warm up with his uncle Roger, the way their mittwork just flows and it appears the could do it in their sleep? That is what you can compare Anderson Silva to in the world of MMA. I see the first round being a feeling out round for Silva, and then he will turn it up and end it by TKO by no later then the 3rd round.
UFC 162 will be an exciting night of fights, not just for the main event but the undercard as well. We see the return of Frankie Edgar on Saturday night when he takes on the nasty Charles Oliveria. Roger Gracie is the latest in a long line of the great MMA family who heads into the Octagon to take on Strikeforce vet Tim Kennedy. Overall, a great show is in store.
July is our halfway mark for this year in MMA, and it is here to light up your night just as much as the 4th did. Enjoy this card, folks, because I know I will.