On July 6 at UFC 162, we will see Chris Weidman try to take Anderson Silva’s middleweight title. It will be almost a year to the date since “The All-American” called out the champ after a thorough domination of Mark Munoz—who was his toughest opponent to date.
As much as Weidman wanted that shot, Silva and his camp were reluctant to agree to the fight. Silva in one interview told Karyn Bryant, “It’s good for him, not for me.”
Silva crushed Stephan Bonnar at UFC 152 in a non-title fight at 205 pounds, while Weidman was set to face Tim Boetsch at UFC 155. That would change as Weidman suffered a shoulder injury and was forced out of action. He had to watch the middleweight division change shape around him without his impact.
Sometimes things happen for a reason, and to that end this matchup seems to be the case. The other top contenders lost. Michael Bisping lost to Vitor Belfort, Hector Lombard lost to Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch lost to Constantinos Philippou.
After that shuffle of the deck and with no superfight between Silva and Georges St-Pierre on the horizon, Weidman was the only logical choice for both matchup reasons and selling pay-per-view buys.
Now let’s talk about the matchup. As I mentioned earlier, Weidman will “try” to take Silva’s middleweight strap. Many in the past have just shown up for a fight with the “The Spider” and didn’t exactly display due diligence inside the Octagon.
I will tell you why Weidman will get after it. He will not only give forth a great effort but will succeed in doing so and become the next UFC middleweight champion.
Here are three reasons to believe Chris Weidman will have Anderson Silva’s number.
One can arrive at the conclusion, from watching any of Anderson Silva’s most recent title defenses, that a fighter should use a style that's more “Chael Sonnen” than “Yushin Okami,” in hopes of forcing the champ to abdicate his crown.
Say what you want about Sonnen’s loss to Silva by triangle choke or the futile attempt at a spinning backfist that led to his TKO loss in their second fight, he laid the blueprint down on how to defeat the middleweight champion.
Weidman has confidence in truck loads and will take some of that blueprint into the Octagon, along with a few of his own wrinkles. He has six finishes out of his nine career fights, and in his most recent fight, he delivered the most one-sided beatdown of Mark Munoz’s career.
Simply put, he is a gamer. He will move forward and attack from wherever the fight takes place. You will not see him sit back and wait like many other challengers not named Sonnen have done.
The Baldwin, NY middleweight has yet to taste defeat and has been impatiently waiting to test his skills against the middleweight champion—who many consider the greatest fighter in the sports history—since last July. He will show up on July 6 to make history, not to just be happy he made it to a title fight.
Coming from a Division 1 All-American collegiate wrestling career, Weidman has certainly carried that over and translated it well into MMA. He has showed versatility, strength and an ability to smother and control an opponent for long periods at a time.
That is a stylistic nightmare for Anderson Silva. While the level of striking between Weidman and Silva is clearly two sets of encyclopedias, the former can certainly do enough to close distance, avoid the danger of being in the champion's deadly range and work for a takedown, either by double-leg or securing a body lock and hitting an inside or outside trip.
From there the advantage clearly swings all the way to Weidman. “The All-American” will be able to control Silva there, maintain dominant position, regain position during scrambles, work some nasty ground-and-pound or look to secure a submission.
Silva should not be taken lightly whatsoever, because he is the champion and pulled off one of the greatest submissions of all time. If the two fights vs. Chael Sonnen are any barometer for how Silva handles a strong wrestler, Weidman has the obvious advantage. If the fight takes place on the ground, he is more of a heavy-handed fighter than Sonnen and is a legit submission threat.
We've seen Silva taken down—this time around we may see him bleed, submit or go to sleep.
Weidman is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. He is highly skilled and one of the most dangerous guys in the middleweight division on the ground.
He has three submission victories under his belt and earned one Submission of the Night bonus by choking out Jesse Bongfeldt via standing guillotine at UFC 131.
Again, going back to Weidman’s confidence, when he fought Demian Maia—who is a BJJ black belt—he took him down, was not afraid to be inside of his guard and was also looking to secure submissions. At one point in the fight, he rolled at an attempt to secure a mounted guillotine.
Weidman seems to prefer the submission chain from the front headlock position. He has a guillotine and a D'arce choke on his resume and has displayed excellent control from this position in several of his fights.
In his last fight vs. Mark Munoz, he displayed that control once again, and from there—like in the Maia fight—rolled to attempt the mounted guillotine several times in the first round.
If the opportunity arises, however small an opening, Weidman will seize the opportunity and latch onto a choke with authority.
While Silva has defeated strong wrestlers before like Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, he has not faced a strong wrestler with the weapons Weidman possesses.
Come July 6, Weidman may very well be the first fighter to submit Silva inside the Octagon.