Chris Weidman will challenge arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all-time Saturday night for the Middleweight championship. Anderson Silva hasn't lost in 7 years; 16-0 during that stretch. He has won fights almost every way imaginable during the course of his streak.
So the million dollar question is, why do so many people believe Weidman will pull off this great upset? Weidman is 9-0 in his rather young MMA career, and has displayed a wide array of skills inside the octagon that has opened the eyes of many. Weidman's pedigree is wrestling, yet he has proven that he will not just ground an opponent for 3 rounds and hope for a decision win. Weidman has multiple submission victories--and is coming off an impressive knockout win over middleweight contender Mark Munoz. (Actually earned knockout of the night).
Weidman trains with a guy who had the second greatest upset in MMA history. (First being Werdum beating Fedor) Matt Serra shocked the world in 2007 by defeating Georges St-Pierre. Now while GSP would avenge that loss, Serra still accomplished the unthinkable. Having a guy like Serra in your corner has to be a big advantage, because he's already been on this stage and did something nobody thought was possible. Now the slight difference here is people do believe Weidman can win this fight. Serra's advantage is more mental, and they say fighting is 90% mental.
In the first fight between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva, Sonnen was able to ground and pound the champion for 4 and a half rounds prior to being forced to tapout via triangle choke. If Chris Weidman wants to win this fight, he must use that fight as the blueprint for the way to do it. And unlike Sonnen, Weidman is well versed in BJJ courtesy Matt Serra. And also unlike Sonnen, Weidman has displayed the skills to go for the finish versus trying to eek out a decision. Being aggressive is key, but being cautiously aggressive is crucial in not getting caught against a legend like Silva.
Most people have dismissed Weidman’s opponents as nothing more than mid level fighters. I think that unless someone is a household name or former champion, very few put much credence in certain wins. Mark Munoz and Damian Maia are not pushovers by any stretch. Both were very big wins in the sense that Weidman faced another top level wrestler in Munoz, and passed the test against a high level BJJ practitioner in Maia.
Anderson Silva is 38 years old. The man is technically past his prime, yet has shown almost no signs in slowing down. I always question when father time does hit an athlete, how will they respond? We saw Chuck Liddell suddenly turn from knockout artist to punching bag. We witnessed the great Fedor Emelianenko go from cyborg to human in the blink of an eye. However, guys like Randy Couture and Dan Henderson defied father time well into their 40s. Will Anderson Silva be the guy to go out on top, or will we see him fall victim to father time?
And should Silva finally lose a fight; whether it be against Weidman or anyone down the road, will it be fair to that opponent who stopped the streak to blame Anderson’s age, instead of the skill of the man who beats him?
This fight is beyond intriguing. I’m curious to see if Weidman goes immediately for the takedown, or tries to strike with Silva. Perhaps faking the takedown and then landing an uppercut on the way in is another option. However, you always have to worry about being dropped by a knee. You also want to avoid Silva’s Muay Thai clinch at all costs.
I am very torn on who I think will win this fight. I do believe Weidman presents the best skill set to do so. I’ll make it simple--I’m just not sure.