Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman
It has felt like forever since the greatest fighter in the world has headlined a card. Anderson Silva last fought in October of 2012 when he completely demolished Stephan Bonnar in the first round. His opponent, Chris Weidman, has not fought since July of 2012, but regardless of the yearlong layoff, this bout could easily be the toughest test of Silva’s career. There is no denying that this is the best possible matchup in the Middleweight division and also one of the most unpredictable and interesting bouts Silva has ever been in.
UFC 162 will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 6th. As previously stated, UFC Middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva will headline the card as he goes up against undefeated contender, Chris Weidman. The co-main event of the evening will feature Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar as he takes on Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira. There will be five fights aired live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary bouts aired live on Sportsnet 360 (replacing The Score television network) in Canada and FX in the US. The remaining two preliminary bouts will be aired live on Facebook.
UFC Middleweight Championship Bout:
(c) Anderson Silva (33-4) vs. Chris Weidman (9-0)
The best of all time against potentially his toughest test. There is minimal exaggeration in that statement. For the first time in a long time, people are starting to question if Anderson Silva has the ability to win. Chris Weidman is coming off a year on the sidelines and campaigned throughout his time off for an opportunity to take on the champion. After many strange outcomes in the division, he was fortunate to be awarded the chance but it really is the most logical bout.
Silva campaigned against the bout, stating many times that Weidman is not deserving of the opportunity. Many will disagree with him, claiming that there is only one fighter in the division that Silva has yet to face that can truly pose a threat. It is tough to argue that stylistically, Weidman has proven throughout his career that he is the perfect fighter to finally give Silva his first loss in the UFC. Well, the fans finally have a chance to see if it will or will not happen.
What makes Weidman an interesting style matchup is that he does not only have wrestling that is arguably as persistent and powerful as Chael Sonnen, but he has the Brazilian jiu-jitsu that could potentially cause problems for Silva if he is on his back. Weidman is a big Middleweight with good striking but a dominant grappling game. If Maia could not submit Weidman (who fought on three weeks notice), it is tough to see how Silva will submit the American who had a full training camp.
The only unknown about Weidman is how will he be able to do on his feet against Silva? When fighters get desperate on the feet and shoot for takedowns, Silva becomes masterful with his defense and he destroys his opponents. The key is to be comfortable and aggressive while trying to push the pace. Silva will try to toy with Weidman. Like Sonnen, he cannot allow Silva to get into his head. When Silva begins to dance around and not take his opponent seriously, he seems to be at his best, mostly because his opponents end up at their worst. Just ask Yushin Okami.
For about a year, I’ve been saying the only time I will ever pick against Anderson in a Middleweight bout will be if he fights Weidman. Due to stubbornness, I still feel the same way. If Weidman can use a Sonnen-like strategy, he can actually dominate from top position. Overall, this fight should actually be pretty close. Silva can finish on the feet and Weidman from top position. It is all about who dictates where the bout is fought. Weidman has been too hungry for this fight and I’ll stick to the opinion that may haunt me or make me look like a genius.
Prediction: Weidman via Unanimous Decision
Frankie Edgar (15-4-1) vs. Charles Oliveira (16-3)
Yea, that’s right. Frankie Edgar is NOT in a title fight for the first time since December of 2009. It will be a strange sight but after dropping 3 straight title fights, the UFC finally decided to move on with Edgar and try to see if he can earn his way back to the top. He will be taking on Charles Oliveira, who is arguably one of the most talented offensive fighters in the world and will have a chance to rebound off of a tough loss against Cub Swanson.
Edgar is one of the quickest boxers in the sport and his in and out style has caused many fighters to struggle to stick to their game plan. Oliveira has good striking and some of the slickest BJJ in the Featherweight division. The difference between these two will be heart. Edgar has a lot of it; Oliveira has not shown much of it. If Oliveira wants to win, he will need to move forward and force Edgar to take him down. It almost seems like his only chance of winning is if Edgar makes a major mistake. Frankie should be able to dictate this bout on the feet and from top position.
Prediction: Edgar via TKO Round 3
Roger Gracie (6-1) vs. Tim Kennedy (15-4)
A Strikeforce versus Strikeforce bout that should help either fighter move far up the Middleweight ranks. Brazilian jiu-jitsu superstar, Roger Gracie will be taking on United States Army veteran, Tim Kennedy, as both fighters will be making their UFC debut in a very interesting contrast of styles. Both fighters looked great in Strikeforce but struggled against top competition. This is an opportunity for both guys to show why they do belong in the UFC.
Just from his last name, it is pretty evident what Gracie will want to do in this fight. If it hits the ground at any point, it will be tough to see Kennedy being able to amount to anything against a jiu-jitsu wizard. Kennedy will want to keep the fight standing and push the pace as much as possible, which should force Gracie out of his very patient game. Kennedy is a talented and aggressive fighter but Gracie has a long, stiff jab that he has learned to utilize well. Kennedy may be far too aggressive for the jiu-jitsu legend as he will likely use the cage to his advantage.
Prediction: Kennedy via Unanimous Decision
Mark Munoz (12-3) vs. Tim Boetsch (16-5)
After disappointing set backs for both Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch in their last bouts, they will be aiming to make one another stepping stones back near the top of the division. They could each smell a title shot had they come out victorious but both fighters were finished in their respective bouts. With a win, they will each look to get back into the title picture considering the shallow Middleweight division; it should not be a long road ahead.
Boetsch is a well-rounded fighter, but where he really flourishes is his toughness. He will likely go in with an intelligent strategy and avoid the aggressive takedowns of Munoz. If he is forced to fight off of his back, he might struggle against a monstrous ground and pound fighter like the Filipino Wrecking Machine. Munoz needs to get this fight down. His striking is an evident weakness but he has shown time and time again that his wrestling has suffered when trying to translate it into MMA. Boetsch will have to circle the cage and use his powerful jab to keep Munoz away. He should come out on top.
Prediction: Boetsch via Unanimous Decision
Cub Swanson (19-5) vs. Dennis Siver (21-8)
Few fighters can string together a four-fight win streak in the UFC. To do it in the fashion that Cub Swanson has been able to accomplish has been a pleasure to watch. He is going up against his toughest matchup yet in Dennis Siver, who is undefeated in the Featherweight division and is looking to continue that streak with an impressive win over one of the divisions best.
Both fighters love to strike but they are completely different stylistically on the feet. Siver is extremely technical and powerful. He throws one of the most devastating spinning back kicks in the sport and has finished fights using it. Swanson fights off of strange angles and looks for openings using his quick hands. He is one of the better boxers in the division and will need to angle away and use his power jabs while avoiding the kicks of Siver. This should be an extremely close fight but Swanson might be far too hot right now to be stopped.
Prediction: Swanson via TKO Round 2