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UFC 162: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman

UFC middleweight champion and #1 pound-for-pound Anderson Silva (L) and Chris Weidman square off at UFC 162. Screenshot courtesy UFC.ca

Most times a UFC champion is defending his title the standard line is that the challenger is the most dangerous threat the champion has faced, and be prepared for a stunning upset. We see this a lot with GSP. It sells PPV buys. It’s no different with Anderson 'The Spider' Silva facing Chris Weidman this weekend at UFC 162.

It’s no different except more UFC fighters than not are picking Weidman to defeat Anderson Silva, who is the best mixed martial artist alive, and the greatest who has lived. Many fans also believe Weidman will be the man to dethrone Silva. There is good reason.

Anderson Silva fights on another level, another time continuum than other fighters. It’s as if he sees the fight at a slower pace than his opponents. Watch his attacks frame by frame, and mostly they’re pinpoint accurate and come with a speed and variety that leave opponents bewildered: leg kick, elbow, left-right-uppercut, knee, liver kick.

On the ground Silva has proven not only a great ability to submit off his back, but the ability to defend against punishment. Travis Lutter, Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen among others have all gotten Silva on his back, none have been able to do much damage let alone finish him. Even Sonnen, who had a rib-injured Silva down for much of four and a half rounds couldn’t really hurt Silva.

Silva is as complete a mixed martial artist as we have seen to date.

At 9-0, Chris Weidman hasn’t had many fights for fans and commentators to judge him with, however, he appears to be as gifted at taking fighters down and grounding and pounding them as Silva is standing up. Weidman’s last two wins in particular---against current 170 pound monster and BJJ wizard Damien Maia, and his KO finish of standout Wrestler Mark Munoz---opened our eyes to the gifts Weidman possesses.

What makes Weidman such a threat to Silva is that if the Brazilian has a weakness it’s that he can be taken down and he can be dominated while on his back, even if he defends well and is a dangerous submission threat himself. Pundits who believe Georges St. Pierre would defeat Anderson Silva in a Superfight point to GSP’s stupendous wrestling as his advantage.

Weidman is no slouch on his feet, evidenced by his lead elbow KO of Munoz, but he can’t stand with Silva. He needs to get the fight down fast and punish Silva there. On the flip side, Silva can’t toy with Weidman like he has with other fighters such as Forrest Griffin. Silva needs to master distance, avoid the takedown, and avoid serious damage if he is on his back.

Silva’s timing is stellar, in every respect. Weidman is coming off a long layoff after surgery. Ring rust will be a factor.

Look for Weidman to lose, but only after showing himself to be the toughest match for Silva by far, even if the fight is over before the start of the championship rounds, earning him a rematch in the not too distant, rust-free future.

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Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka

 

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