Chris Weidman doesn’t know what he signed up for.
On Saturday night when he enters the Octagon to face Anderson Silva, easily the top mixed martial arts fighter ever, for the UFC middleweight belt, he will be in for a world of hurt. Silva is much too experienced and too successful to fall against Weidman, who only has a limited number of MMA matches on his resume.
Silva is 16-0 in his career in the Octagon, and don’t expect him to fail to successfully defend his title for the 11th consecutive time. While Silva has come close to losing the middleweight belt in the past, Chael Sonnen giving him the biggest bang for his buck, if he’s going to eventually lose it, it won’t be to Weidman.
Weidman’s grappling tactics are his key to victory, as he’s going to do everything in his power to get Silva to submit. If the judges are going to decide the winner of the fight, though, it’s definitely not going to be the challenger. Silva will either end up knocking Weidman out, or will win via the judge's decision.
Five of B/R’s UFC experts predicted the match and of the three that chose Weidman to win, two said that it’d be via a submission. Both writers know that Silva is capable of pulling off the victory, but are still sitting in Weidman’s corner. James MacDonald said “his wrestling in particular is likely to give Silva absolute fits.”
Silva isn’t going to fall to Weidman via submission. The Spider hasn’t been the victim of a submission since 2004 when he lost to Ryo Chonan. You can count all of Silva’s losses on one hand and only two have come via submission. While Weidman’s moves are good, Silva is going to be great at playing a defense game against them.
Keep in mind that Weidman hasn’t even fought for almost a full year. His last fight came on July 11, 2012 against Mark Munoz. It takes more than just skills to enter the Octagon and take out the best MMA fighter of all time. Weidman’s large gap between fights is bound to be a factor on Saturday.
Silva hasn’t fought much in the last year either, but at least he’s fought. He took down Stephan Bonnar last October via a TKO. Since, he’s been focused on his title matchup against Weidman. Here’s what Silva told Ben Fowlkes of USA Today about fighting and what he loves about it:
What motivates me is to be able to do what I love to do, which is to fight. I love to fight. I love the preparation. I love to learn new things, always overcoming myself.
On Saturday, Silva will show how hard he’s worked for this fight and how prepared he is for this fight. He's going to connect with plenty of blows to the head and midsection of the challenger. He'll connect with one hard punch to the side of the head of Weidman in the third round, knocking him to the ground and forcing the referee to end the match.
Weidman told Franklin McNeil of ESPN “[Saturday night] history is being made.” While Weidman is correct in saying that we’ll be the witnesses of history, it won’t be the type of history he’s hoping for. Instead of Silva losing the title for the first time ever, he’ll defend it successfully for the 11th time, extending his record to 17-0.
Prediction: Silva over Weidman via Third Round TKO