The main event at UFC 168 in Las Vegas will be a can't-miss rematch for the middleweight championship.
"The All-American," current champion Chris Weidman (10-0, 4 KOs), will look to prove that his remarkable knockout win over Anderson "The Spider" Silva (33-5, 20 KOs) last July was no fluke when he steps into the Octagon to defend his title for the very first time.
The undefeated champion pulled off an incredible upset at UFC 162 last summer, stunning the bombastic favorite to claim the belt and bragging rights for the past five-plus months.
Below we'll get you set with everything you need to know ahead of this weekend's main event.
When: Saturday, Dec. 28 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Watch: Pay-per-view (click here for viewing options)
Weidman Set to Enter Uncharted Territory
While Weidman has been awfully impressive over the course of his brief mixed martial arts career, the 29-year-old has yet to face the level of pressure he'll soon confront at UFC 168.
Sure, he's 10-0 for his professional career, but this is the first time he's defending a UFC title. On top of that, Weidman will be squaring off against a legend in Anderson Silva, a man with 33 career victories, 20 coming by way of knockout.
Plus, Weidman's knockout of Silva at UFC 162 came in the second round. Therefore, it'll be very interesting to watch how he responds if the fight extends into the later rounds. Although both fighters have grown accustomed to ending fights early, Silva boasts loads more experience in five-round fights.
While Silva has seen and done it all inside the Octagon, facing every level of pressure a fighter can, Weidman's reign is still in its infancy stage.
Silva's Career, Legacy on the Line?
Regardless of how he fares on Saturday, Silva will be revered as one of the greatest UFC champions of all time whenever he opts to hang up his gloves. His record 16-match winning streak in the UFC and unforgettable streak of successful title defenses make him a once-in-a-generation talent.
However, a second consecutive loss at age 38 would put Silva's career and legacy in jeopardy.
Silva has admitted that he didn't prepare well enough for the previous fight vs. Weidman, but he'll have no excuses if he comes up short for a second time, per AP's Greg Beacham via ABC News:
I train hard mentally for this fight. I watched the last fight, and I see my technique, and I talk to my friends and coach. I don't train too much. My mental (approach), I change. It was bad.
While a loss could permanently stain Silva's impressive legacy, a convincing victory would add to it. It would devalue his loss at UFC 162, which could be argued as fortuitous, and allow him to begin a new reign or simply walk away as UFC middleweight champion.
Either way, there'll be much more than just bragging rights on the line for The Spider this weekend in Vegas.
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