Middleweight Champion and reigning pound-for-pound king Anderson “Spider” Silva
will defend his crown against undefeated contender Chris “All-American” Weidman.
Silva has proven himself the most dominant champion in the history of Mixed
Martial Arts and has dismissed almost every challenger to his title with routine
ferocity. Weidman, though, represents an interesting stylistic challenge to
Silva because of his dominant grappling and a submission game that will allow
him to work safely from top position, unlike previous title challenger Chael
Sonnen. Does Weidman have what it takes to dethrone the champion, or will he
join the long list of victims Silva has been steadily building?
Chris Weidman, a Matt Serra student, (he's not actually Jewish like his name might imply)
without a doubt the most exciting young Middleweight prospect in the world. Weidman is a
perfect example of the new breed of Mixed Martial Artist: fast, athletic, and
technically sound in all areas of the fight game. Weidman isn’t the most
dominant striker in the world, and certainly isn’t going to win a kickboxing
match against Silva, but he has solid enough technical boxing that he isn’t
going to get immediately overwhelmed. What makes Weidman so dangerous is the
fact that he is a dominant wrestler with a very effective submission game who
can move from standing to the ground and back with relentless efficiency. There
are no huge holes in his game, and his ground game has to cause Silva some
worries. If there is one hole in Silva’s game it is his takedown defense, and
guys who can mix in takedowns with their striking game have a solid chance at
putting Silva on his back.
Anderson Silva’s accomplishments don’t really need much review.
He is, far and away, the most successful and dominant and skilled
champion in the history of Mixed Martial Arts. His effective, creative striking
game has confounded nearly every opponent he has ever faced and his submissions
are hugely underrated. Silva is a nightmare in the striking game and, even when
he is put in a disadvantageous position, has more than enough jiu-jitsu to turn
the tide of a fight, a fact which Chael Sonnen learned to his dismay in their
first meeting. Silva is just as capable of pulling out a come-from-behind win
off his back as he is of dominating a fight from the opening bell. Against
Weidman, the only thing he needs to worry about is the wrestling. If he can make
Weidman pay for his takedown attempts, there is no way Weidman can survive long
in an extended standup exchange.
There is no question that Chris Weidman is destined to be
the future of the Middleweight division, but Anderson Silva is still the
present. I expect Weidman will put on a good show and test Silva’s weaknesses in
the early rounds, but Silva is very wily off his back and hard to finish. The
biggest thing working against Weidman here is that every round starts standing.
Even if he can get Silva down early, if he can’t finish the fight Silva is going
to get another crack at his jaw the next round. I find it unlikely that Weidman
will finish Silva on the ground in the early rounds, and as sweat builds up and
takedowns and ground control become more difficult, I think the advantage will
switch firmly to the champion. Weidman will make it a contest, but eventually
Silva will show why he is the champion to begin with. Silva by T/KO.
PW Prediction: Anderson “The Spider” Silva by third round TKO.