The David and Goliath narrative in the sports world rarely plays out in the exciting fashion many would like. Sometimes Goliath is just too big and David is a little short on ammo.
In the case of Anderson Silva and his spotless 16-0 record inside the Octagon, there hasn’t been a challenger in the UFC quite capable or prepared enough to sling a stone heavy enough to take him down.
Chris Weidman isn’t exactly dwarfed by Silva’s greatness, however.
The 29-year-old submission specialist is 5-0 in the UFC and boasts several attributes that could give Silva some issues on Saturday night at UFC 162. While Silva will likely be a heavy favorite in every fight until the day he retires, he’s never guaranteed a victory.
Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape for this fight and break down keys to victory for each fighter, highlighting what Weidman has to do in order to hand Silva his first loss in the UFC.
|Anderson "The Spider" Silva||Fighter||Chris "The All-American" Weidman|
|38||Age (at fight)||29|
|185 lbs||Weight||185 lbs|
|88%||UFC Win Finish Rate||60%|
|1997||Fighting Pro Since||2009|
|266 Days||Layoff||360 Days|
Silva isn’t one to get caught in his own web. If he hopes to keep his spotless UFC record intact, he’ll have to avoid Weidman’s attempts at spinning one of his own.
Weidman is a tremendous submission specialist who is adept in the ground-and-pound game, feasting on opponents who give him even a small window in which he can capitalize. The 29-year-old has the ability to win by knockout, but don’t count on seeing that result against Silva.
For the Spider to win, he won’t have to change much. Silva boasts a 16-0 UFC record for a reason, and as long as he sticks to his game plan and doesn’t make costly mistakes, there’s little reason to believe he’ll come up short at UFC 162.
Silva can win this fight in a multitude of ways. He’s an accurate striker. He’s tremendous on the canvas. And like Weidman, he understands how to capitalize on the smallest of mistakes.
While both fighters will be cautious about making those mistakes, neither will be timid in his approach. For Silva, the key to victory in this fight will be limiting costly mistakes while sticking to his guns—or in this case, staying close to his web while Weidman lets himself get stuck.
Many expect Weidman to be the greatest challenge Silva has faced in defense of his belt. The All-American is the unquestioned No. 2 middleweight with a lot to prove.
At 29, Weidman has age and athleticism on his side, as well as a half-inch reach advantage. He also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in the Octagon.
But besting the pound-for-pound kingpin will require a tremendous effort predicated on perfection, and Wediman can’t afford to leave his comfort zone unless he does so to exploit a big opportunity. In other words, Weidman must stick to his guns to win this fight.
Silva is a much more accurate striker who also hasn’t been taken down in any of his last three fights. Weidman, on the other hand, boasts 2.6 takedowns per fight and has used those opportunities to capitalize with tremendous ground-and-pound and submission skill sets.
The All-American may need to take Silva down to finish him off, but he can’t expect that to be an easy task. At the risk of being redundant, Weidman has to be cautious and opportunistic. He can’t afford to get careless against the best fighter on the planet.
Weidman can win this fight if he plays to his strengths and avoids getting caught in the Spider’s traps. Anything short of perfection will likely result in another tally in Silva’s win column.