UFC 168 Fight Card: Previewing Saturday Night's Marquee Bouts

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Anderson Silva battles  Forrest Griffin during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

UFC 168 looks poised to end 2013 with a mighty thump. Tensions are running high with two mega rematches headlining the night.

During July, Chris Weidman snatched the middleweight title from an overly complacent Anderson Silva. While "The Spider" was busy mocking his opponent, Weidman sent him to the ground with a knockout blow in the second round.  

There's also animosity brewing between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, who faced off in March. Rousey made quick work of "Cupcake," earning a first-round submission that has become the norm for "Rowdy." While the disdain for one another is evident, Tate still must prove she can hang with the lock-down master.

Las Vegas' pay-per-view features a full card with plenty of notable bouts to watch. Here's a look at what's on tap for Saturday night.

Full UFC 168 Fight Card
Main Card (PPV)
Fighter 1Fighter 2
Anderson SilvaChris Weidman (middleweight champion)
Ronda Rousey (bantamweight champion)Miesha Tate
Josh BarnettTravis Browne
Jim MillerFabrício Camoes
Dustin PoirierDiego Brandao
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Fighter 1Fighter 2
Chris LebenUriah Hall
Gleison TibauMichael Johnson
Dennis SiverManvel Gamburyan
John HowardSiyar Bahadurzada
Preliminary Card (Online)
Fighter 1Fighter 2
William MacarioBobby Voelker
Robbie PeraltaEstevan Payan


Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva

It seemed like something snatched from a scripted WWE conclusion.

The storied, yet pompous champion lost hold of his title because he was too busy taunting his opponent. Weidman capitalized, knocking Silva to the mat as he let his guard down.  

As USA Today's Ben Fowlkes noted, Weidman realized that Silva's attempts to belittle him wasn't totally the best tactical fighting approach.

"At that point," Weidman said, "it was like, 'Yo, you're doing all this playing around, but you're not hitting me.'"

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout in the second round with a TKO at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Yep, hitting the opponent is typically important in mixed martial arts. 

One would think Silva will take his competitor more seriously this time, hungry to prove their last meeting as a fluke. But not clowning around the ring is just a start for Spider.

His striking style clashes with Weidman's thirst for takedowns and submissions. For all the talk of Silva throwing this match away, Weidman still boasts a perfect 10-0 mark in UFC.


Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate

Tate's dislike of Rousey is a horribly kept secret.

Most people wouldn't like someone who made them beg for mercy while trapped in an arm lock, but Tate's resentment stems further than that. As FOX Sports' Marc Raimondi reported, Tate said the former Judo Olympian and current UFC Bantamweight champion "did not pay her dues."

Every single woman that fights MMA has done just as much work as Ronda has, we just haven't gotten as much turnaround. Those women who came before her haven’t been on magazine covers, they weren't plastered everywhere by the UFC. They didn't get the same reward back. She got 10 times back what she was putting in and maybe everyone else was getting 1 to 1.

Perhaps the promotion capitalized on her outside fame to rapidly market her as its new star, but Rousey has certainly earned it. In five fights, she has forced her opponents to tap out in the first round in bouts that lasted an average time of two minutes and 15 seconds (per FightMetric). 

If Tate doesn't think Rousey deserves her fame and success, the former champion will have to prove it at UFC 168.


Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 17: Travis Browne celebrates after winning with a knockout against Alistair Overeem in their heavyweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

While the two title fights take the center stage, Josh Barnett and Travis Browne will look to steal the show in Nevada.

Browne has risen up the ranks with two early knockouts, mostly recently a first-round victory over Alistair Overeem in August. He'll have his toughest task to date in Josh Barnett, an experienced veteran in the octagon.

Barnett's nickname of "The Warmaster" is a tad misleading. That creates the picture of a super villain trying to knock everyone's head off, but Barnett's game is much more nuanced. According to FightMetric, he absorbs just 1.66 strikes per minute by successfully defending 60 percent of opposing strikes.

That could frustrate Browne, a more aggressive brawler who is more prone to take a punch to land one of his own. "Hapa" might need one big blow to conquer the master of war, er, UFC.


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