Saturday’s UFC 175 card featuring the middleweight championship bout between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida will be one of the most talked about shows of the year.
Add in Ronda Rousey defending her women's bantamweight championship against Alexis Davis, and this is one of the few shows produced by UFC recently that feels like a true pay-per-view-worthy event.
Here is the full card, predictions for every fight on Saturday and a preview of the main event.
|Full UFC 175 Fight Card and Predictions|
|Weight Class||Fighter 1||Fighter 2||Predicted Winner|
|Middleweight||Chris Weidman (c)||vs.||Lyoto Machida||Weidman|
|Women's Bantamweight||Ronda Rousey (c)||vs.||Alexis Davis||Rousey|
|Heavyweight||Stefan Struve||vs.||Matt Mitrione||Struve|
|Middleweight||Uriah Hall||vs.||Thiago Santos||Hall|
|Bantamweight||Marcus Brimage||vs.||Russell Doane||Doane|
|Preliminary Card||Fox Sports 1|
|Bantamweight||Urijah Faber||vs.||Alex Caceres||Faber|
|Welterweight||Kenny Robertson||vs.||Ildemar Alcantara||Alcantara|
|Middleweight||Chris Camozzi||vs.||Bruno Santos||Santos|
|Bantamweight||George Roop||vs.||Rob Font||Roop|
|Preliminary Card||UFC Fight Pass|
|Middleweight||Luke Zachrich||vs.||Guilherme Vasconcelos||Zachrich|
|Middleweight||Kevin Casey||vs.||Bubba Bush||Bush|
Breaking Down Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida
There have been many fans who question the way middleweight champion Chris Weidman defended the title—Anderson Silva broke his leg mid-match—but the American star is looking to silence the doubters on Fourth of July weekend.
Standing in his way is former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
After 11 professional fights (seven in the UFC), Weidman is still undefeated. His last bout was the victory over Silva, but he was originally scheduled to headline UFC 173 against Machida. Weidman was forced to pull out of that main event with a knee injury but is now ready for UFC 175.
Tough Enough fighter Cathal Pendred talked about how excited he was for this fight:
While some will doubt Weidman’s win against Silva in December of 2013, few can claim his shocking upset in July of last year of the then-unstoppable middleweight king was anything but pure talent and mental fortitude.
Weidman stunned Silva by showing no fear and finished him off in decisive fashion.
Stylistically [Machida's] going to be the same as he was at 205. Going down might make him feel a little quicker, a little stronger and maybe give him more confidence. I'm expecting a very confident Lyoto Machida, but I'm going to break his will.
I feel like anyone at middleweight, when I have a full training camp, I'm going to go out there and finish them. That's my mentality. I won't stop. The whole fight will be me trying to finish him. If it goes five rounds, I'm not losing the decision because I'm almost finishing him the whole time. I'm always prepared for a war, but I'm looking for the finish the whole time. I won't be happy unless I finish him.
There is no questioning Weidman’s will to win and physical prowess, but he will be taking on one of the most decorated and unique fighters in MMA history. Machida is a light heavyweight powerhouse who has taken on bigger competition for years.
Questions about the drop in weight and what it will do to his power have been raised, but he should be able to gain speed at a lighter weight which could be a major factor for a fighter that needs his quickness to stop Weidman.
Since making his debut at middleweight, Machida has knocked off the likes of Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz. Fortunately for Weidman, the Brazilian moved down a weight class due to his struggles against the elite competition at light heavyweight.
Using an elite mixture of wrestling, jiu-jitsu and striking, Weidman will prove to be too strong and too fast for Machida. Expect the defending champion to force the referee to step in and call for the early stoppage.
Predicted Winner: Weidman via Second-Round TKO.
*Stats via UFC.com.