While UFC 161: Henderson vs Evans is just around the corner, the event pales in comparison to the power-packed potential for excitement possessed by UFC 162: Silva vs Weidman. The latter event's current lineup is not only stronger, but holds more potential for true historically significant moments than its predecessor.
Whether you clamor for Anderson Silva fights because you want him to retain his status as one of the all-time greats, or you want to say that you were able to watch him finally crumble, the bottom line is that you tune in for the fights themselves.
Both Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson have their drawing power, but even the two of them combined cannot likely overcome the draw of any Anderson Silva fight. And coupled with the former contender's struggling to finish fights in recent attempts, Anderson's nearly automatic finishing capability adds extra punch to his draw.
Many fans have balked on Chris Weidman having any business in the cage with the likes of Anderson Silva. What such fans may neglect to realize is that Weidman defeated No. 5 ranked Damian Maia on a week's notice after dropping nearly 30 lbs. to make weight. Weidman then destroy a No. 3 Mark Munoz in short order.
Even the most hardened and entrenched Silva fan has to admit that Weidman possesses the potential tools for defeating their idol.
Weidman's presence single-handedly adds a whole extra level of intrigue to UFC 162. While Henderson and Evans is almost certain to become a wall-and-stall jostle for position or a haymaker-filled slopfest, the Silva vs. Weidman match holds a giant question mark over it. That equals more intrigue when added to the opportunity for a sports hero in Anderson Silva either further solidifying his place in history, or finally falling like other legends before him.
With the exception of Frankie Edgar, the 10 fighters at the top of the card finish more than 50% of their victories .
Chris Weidman and Dennis Siver have over two-thirds of their victories through finishes, while Silva, Tim Boetsch, and Cub Swanson all sit above 70% finishing rates. Chan Sung Jung and Charles Oliveira rarely fail to finish their opponents, with 84.6% and 93.8% finishing rate respectively.
While UFC 161 has the beloved Dan Henderson in it, who is often nearly synonymous with his epic knockout of Michael Bisping, many forget he was once called Decision Dan in his early days and is very likely to go to decision once again. Meanwhile, Rashad Evans has gone back to his wrestling roots, and has failed to finish a three of his last four opponents. Neither fighter has a finishing rate above 60% throughout their respective careers.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Shogun is a possible bust when it comes to providing a finish as well. Nogueria has had trouble finishing opponents of high caliber in the past, while Shogun has lost a step or two due to his advancing age and widening list of health issues. The smattering of heavyweights in the undercard could give fans a needed finish somewhere during the PPV, but it is not enough to overcome the likely grinding headliners.
UFC 162 holds a co-main event that could well provide a smaller, but still significant historical moment when Frankie Edgar takes on Charles Olivera. The former has never been stopped, while the latter almost never fails to stop his opponent.
Despite Gray Maynard's best efforts, Edgar has never been stopped in his entire career. “The Answer” has lost four times in his 20 career bout, and has never been a victim of a KO or submission. Oliveira has a tall task ahead of him, but has shown throughout his career he can put nearly anyone to sleep.
Oliveira, has finished 15 of his 16 victories. The lone exception came in 2009 against Eduardo Pachu, wherein Oliveira took a split decision. Outside of that match, six foes have fallen to (T)KO, while nine have been a victim of Oliveira's slick jiu-jitsu. The Brazilian's 93.6% finishing is one of the highest across MMA, and is a bright spot for the often decision-happy featherweight division.
Of course, there is the possibility that Edgar simply works his way to a three-round decision, like he often does. Still, the opportunity to see an unstoppable fighter take on a finishing expert always adds some intrigue, as history can be rewritten in the bout.
The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, has become one of the most beloved fighters across the vast array of MMA forum boards. The Korean Zombie amassed a following in the same way so many Pride fighters did in the era: he has a peculiar style, can finish fights anywhere and is not afraid to get a little wild.
Jung has yet to have a forgettable fight in the UFC. He was finished in his debut thanks to a brutal Roop head kick, only to return with rarely-seen twister submission over Leonard Garcia. Jung's next fight went directly into the record books as he finished one-time contender Mark Hominick in what was one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history. To round out his UFC resume, Jung then had a brilliant and exciting battle with Dustin Poirier, which was on the shortlist of Fight of the Year in 2012.