Anderson Silva may be the longest reigning champion in UFC, regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the organisation and the deadliest striker in the middleweight division, but in Chris Weidman he is facing his toughest title-defence assignment yet.
Weidman has clear advantages on the ground and is no slouch in the takedown department, which suggests he simply has to be backed at 9/4 to beat Silva and become the new UFC middleweight champing at UFC 162.
Silva’s preferred strategy in his almost seven years unbeaten in the UFC and 11 previous successful title defences has been to keep the fight upright and use his reach advantage to maintain control.
Frustrated by an inability to land anything meaningful, his opponents then feel the urge to take chances by attempting to close the gap, only to get tagged on the way forward. Silva holds the UFC record of 17 career knockdowns and 11 victories by knockout.
In his two victories against Chael Sonnen, but particularly the first, Silva encountered some trouble with the challenger taking him down and securing some dominant ground positions.
Wrestling and takedowns are Sonnen’s strengths but he lacks slightly when it comes to submissions and finishing opponents.
Weidman is also a fine wrestler, in fact a former NCAA All-American, but importantly he has the ground and pound weapons to trouble Silva from a mount position and the submission skills to manipulate his way through the champion’s guard.
Furthermore, he is still unbeaten in his MMA career through his nine career bouts and has already beaten respected duo Demian Maia and Mark Munoz in his relatively short time in the UFC.
Silva may be the rightful favourite at 4/11 to defend his middleweight crown again at UFC 162 and if one thing should be said it is that he always tends to find a way to win, but the price discrepancy is too large not to back the challenger this time.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.