Considering the first fight featured a much closer line than usual for a Silva defense, per Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report, it is a bit surprising that Weidman's victory wasn't enough to swing the odds into his favor.
Anderson Silva opens at just -215 vs. Chris Weidman at +165. Weidman getting big respect from opening line.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) March 8, 2013
After all, if Weidman had respect even before entering the Octagon against Silva and ultimately knocked out the reigning champion, shouldn't that be enough to give him the respect of being the favorite?
Obviously, Silva shouldn't be a huge underdog. He still boasts the most incredible resume in UFC history as the record holder for most title defenses, most finishes and longest winning streak in the history of the organization.
One fight doesn't take all of that away.
However, you can't compare resumes when making the odds for this fight. Weidman has the best resume that he could possibly build with the opportunities that he's been given. He's undefeated in his career with seven of his 10 wins coming by way of TKO or submission, including victories over Uriah Hall, Demian Maia and Mark Munoz.
So the only thing we can really use to compare as we handicap the rematch is the first match between the two. That's a measuring stick that sees Weidman as a slight favorite at the very least. Weidman did exactly what he had to do in the first fight.
The 29-year-old showed off his wrestling ability that made him a strong candidate to dethrone Silva in the opening frame, landing a takedown, landing some ground-and-pound while even attempting two submissions, according to FightMetric.
It was then that Silva employed a familiar tactic we've seen from him for years—taunting his opponent into striking exchanges that they can't win.
Except Weidman remained composed, confident and unrattled in the face of Silva's mind games, even dropping his own hands and challenging Silva to hit him in response at one point. It paid off, as Weidman waited for just the right time to catch an overextended Silva for the finishing blows.
Now Silva must find a way to recalibrate his game plan and unseat the champion as the challenger for the first time since 2006.
The obvious counterargument to all of this is what Silva's fans have been saying since the fight ended: "We didn't see the best Anderson Silva at UFC 162." While there may be some truth to that, we didn't see Chris Weidman's best either.
Where would set the line for the rematch?
With just 10 fights under his belt Weidman has showed incredible progression from fight-to-fight at this point of his career. Just three fights ago, Weidman was taking on his first real middleweight contender in Demian Maia, a fight he won by unanimous decision when he narrowly outstruck Maia 58-51 according to FightMetric's numbers.
It was by no means an impressive performance, but it moved him up the ladder. From there he went on to dominate a fight against Mark Munoz to earn his title shot, looking like a different fighter as Munoz failed to land a single significant strike.
Which brings us to the latest fight with Silva nearly a full year later. Weidman once again showed development by standing up with the best striker in the world and coming out victorious.
Without a long layoff and the confidence of a championship behind him, there's a great chance we see an even better version of Weidman show up in the rematch.
That's a prospect that should make him the slight favorite.