Weidman vs. Silva 2: Keys to Victory for Chris Weidman

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Weidman vs. Silva 2: Keys to Victory for Chris Weidman
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Chris Weidman will once again try to disrupt Anderson Silva's unpredictability and explosiveness at UFC 168.

The first time around he was able to connect on a vicious left hook, but Silva's approach in their rematch should differ from July's unfortunate display of cockiness.

Either way, the UFC middleweight champion must be ready to deliver offense and defense when he steps inside the cage with the best ever for the second time in six months.

Here are three keys to victory for Weidman as he attempts to end 2013 on a very positive note:

Keep his hands up:

In their first meeting, Weidman got a little too comfortable on his feet against Silva.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Having dropped his hands in order to show the greatest middleweight of all time that he wasn't scared of his powerful prowess, Weidman ultimately left himself vulnerable. 

Fortunately, Silva was doing much of the same.

With that said, considering how focused and fueled Silva seems to be coming into Saturday's rematch, Weidman better not drop his hands for one millisecond.

This could very well lead to more difficult takedowns, but it will serve the champ well when "The Spider" starts to weave a web of high head kicks, flying knees and unorthodox punches.

Secure early takedowns:

Words truly cannot explain how monumental and legendary Weidman's July knockout of Silva was.  It will go down as one of the greatest moments in mixed martial arts history.

But as prolific and show-stopping as it remains, Weidman didn't plan it.  His main focus leading up to the fight was not to knock the greatest striker ever out cold.  Instead, he had game-planned to beat Silva on the ground. 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Or at least that's what he should have been game-planning for.

In any case, it was obvious that Silva had taken Weidman out of his game toward the end of the first round and leading up to the unheralded finish.  Silva had forced him to drop his hands, chase him around the cage and engage in a battle of footwork, head movement and striking dexterity.

This time around, the champion must stick to his bread and butter.  Silva may end up being the same old cocky practitioner he usually is, but Weidman can't afford to pay attention.  Whatever subtle movements he makes this time will be in an effort to end "The All-American" with one single strike.

Wrestling Silva to the ground, staying focused, scoring points, inflicting damage and checking his ego at the door are the only ways Weidman is going to remain the middleweight prince.

Believe in greatness:

Weidman was in a very difficult position after his knockout of Silva at UFC 162.  He had just endured the trials and tribulations of Hurricane Sandy, wasn't completely healthy and just recorded one of the biggest "lucky shots" of all time.

Now while the belt around Weidman's waist kept all opinions and observations wayside, they had to bother him.  Following his win and leading up to the rematch, all people have been talking about is how Silva did everything to lose and not how well Weidman performed to reign victorious.  People still look at him as if he has something to prove.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

So, this time around, when Weidman comes out to the Octagon with his Bad Boy apparel draped over his shoulders and a world of doubters in his ear, he needs to believe in one thing: he can be great.

It seems simple and somewhat elementary, but it's true.  Weidman is the only man to ever defeat Silva inside of the Octagon.  Why can't he do it again?

What the champion needs to realize is that all great things come to an end.  But when they do, something else births excellence.  So if this is truly the demise of the great Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman could very well be the new beginning of middleweight supremacy.

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