One of the most respected faces in the fight game, Renzo Gracie, believes his protege—UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman—will have no problem handling Anderson Silva a second time.
He will submit him. I do believe he's going to submit him, yes. He's getting better every day. If Anderson doesn’t improve his ground game, he will be in trouble this time. ... I like Anderson a lot, he's an unbelievable champion. It's going to be a tough fight, but Weidman is the one for that task. If Anderson is not that careful, (Weidman) is going to take Anderson down and submit him.
Weidman entered UFC 162 in July as a modest underdog, considering the long reign of dominance "The Spider" had at 185 pounds, with pundits almost unanimously admitting the former two-time Division I All-American had the clear grappling advantage entering the title bout.
Also earning a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the Baldwin, N.Y. native was able to get the fight to the mat early into the first round and land some solid ground-and-pound before diving on a kneebar.
Silva, a BJJ black belt in his own right, defended the attack and got the fight back to the feet, but unpredictably ended up getting knocked out cold for the first time in 38 professional bouts early in the second round.
While Weidman calls Long Island's Serra-Longo Fight Team his home away from home, he also frequents the Renzo Gracie Fight Academy in Brooklyn from time to time.
The 29-year-old heads into the Dec. 28 rematch with a perfect 10-0 record as a professional mixed martial artist, which includes four knockouts and three submissions.
Prior to the loss to Weidman, Silva had won 17 consecutive bouts, including a UFC record of 10 consecutive title defenses.
Despite being 38 years old, most fans are expecting a much more competitive version of Silva in the rematch due to his impressive resume.
Will Weidman be able to prove he's the real deal with another decisive victory over the legendary Silva? Or will the Brazilian pound-for-pound great show that his loss at UFC 162 was just an aberration?
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