Chris Weidman will challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship later tonight. The No. 1-ranked middleweight finally gets a chance to end the reign of "The Spider."
It will not be easy.
Silva is the greatest we have ever seen. His unique skill set gives problems to everyone he faces, no matter their strengths. Weidman offers, on paper, his biggest threat to date.
Weidman enters this fight with extreme confidence. He feels that he is the one to stop Silva. If he wants to take home the gold he will have to be very cautious in his attacks. Here are three things Weidman needs to be concerned about in tonight's main event.
This is the most obvious area of concern for Weidman. Thus, it only makes sense to start here.
There is no question who the better striker is, and there is no question that Weidman will not want to strictly stand with Silva for extended periods of time. If he chooses to, or is forced to, he will end up on his back staring at the lights.
However, all rounds start on the feet.
Weidman will have to strike with Silva at least for a few moments in the bout, and how he does on the feet will also determine how he sets up his takedowns. The more respect he gains in the stand-up the easier it will be to transition to a takedown.
Weidman needs to keep his defense tight. He knows that Silva can pull off the unexpected at any time, and he needs to lessen the chance of an unseen technique slipping through to end the bout.
Weidman will want to get top control, and if he does he will need to be cautious of Silva's ground game.
When bringing up Silva's jiu-jitsu, one immediately goes back to UFC 117 vs. Chael Sonnen, but that is not always the best example. It was not the only time Silva has been on his back, though.
Weidman will be cautious of the submission attacks that may come, but he must also be concerned with Silva's ability to stall the action.
Silva is excellent at tying up his opponent, and that will cause the referee to stand the fight back up. That will be Weidman's biggest concern at UFC 162.
He must remain active and avoid being tied up by the champion.
Weidman is very confident about this matchup, and on paper it is one favorable for the challenger.
Weidman cannot let that confidence override what he does inside the cage. It cannot dictate his actions.
We have seen other fighters succumb to this overconfidence. They begin to believe in themselves too much. Those fighters end up fighting in a way where they are at a disadvantage trying to make a point.
The challenger has to stay true to himself.
Weidman has the skills to win this fight. His confidence will play a major role in obtaining victory. He will not beat himself before he steps in to the cage on Saturday night, but he cannot allow that confidence to overtake him during the bout. He must be cautious.
A confident Weidman can win this fight, but an overconfident Weidman will end up unconscious.