When Anderson "The Spider" Silva defends his middleweight title against "All-American" Chris Weidman on Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 162, the champion will be facing one of the more well-rounded challengers he's faced.
That said, I predict he'll stop Weidman by KO/TKO because of his varied striking ability, readiness to defend Weidman's wrestling onslaught and huge edge in experience. Silva is perhaps the most dynamic striker in MMA history.
He's shown the ability to finish opponents with his knees, feet and fists. He simply gives opponents too much to consider in the Octagon. Weidman is an accomplished collegiate wrestler with power and explosiveness, but he won't catch Silva off guard.
The Spider dispatched Chael Sonnen by KO/TKO in their rematch after withstanding Sonnen's initial wrestling charge. You can bet Silva will be prepared to handle a similar strategy from Weidman.
As for experience, Weidman has had only nine professional fights in his career. Saturday night's clash will be the 38th fight of Silva's legendary career. The Spider has never lost in the UFC, and he's been fighting in the main event of the promotion's shows since he knocked out Rich Franklin in 2006 to win the title.
For seven years he's been competing on stages like the one he'll perform on at UFC 162. It will be Weidman's first time under such a big spotlight.
Those are the reasons why Silva will win, but since the headline says "bold predictions," let's take things a step further and get specific with the prediction.
The Round: The First
Weidman will likely be charged with adrenaline as he is ready and willing to make a statement and defeat a legend. There's an old song called "Fools Rush In" that title will likely wind up fitting the end of this bout.
Silva is so unpredictable and dangerous in the stand-up game, over-aggression can cost an opponent dearly. The Spider used Stephan Bonnar's eagerness against him and he will do the same to Weidman.
The Method: Knee and Punches
Silva's knees have proven to be the beginning of the end for his last two opponents. Both Bonnar and Sonnen tried to take away Silva's space and realized how quickly the legend can launch air-snatching strikes to the midsection or head from any position.
Since Weidman figures to employ a similar strategy, he'll be open for this type of strike from The Spider.
Weidman is a very good fighter who is worthy of respect; he may even have a title reign in his future. However, Silva isn't quite ready to have his run stopped.
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