Undefeated Chris Weidman defends his UFC middleweight crown for the first time against revenge-minded Anderson Silva at UFC 168 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
The 29-year-old fighting out of the New York captured his first title and kept his record unblemished with a stunning left hook that earned him the 2013 Knockout of the Year over Silva back in July.
Already considered one of the greatest to enter the octagon, Silva’s histrionics ended his record 16 straight victories, 10 successful title defenses, and seven long years as the sport’s most dominant force and best pound-for-pound fighter.
The Brazilian has said several times throughout the rematch promotion how much more focused he is this time around, and also slightly dispelled chances he retires after Saturday’s bout.
"I still have eight fights left on my contract and as long as I'm still enjoying it and I still want to go out there and have that desire to fight, I'm going to keep on fighting," Silva said according to Fox Sports. "If I'm going to retire, there's no way to say that right now. That's something that's going to come from the heart."
Weidman fully understands how dangerous Silva can be, and praised his opponent, but also signaled the difficulty in beating the 38-year-old for a second time as a driving force.
"I think he's the best guy in the weight class for me to beat," Weidman said to ESPN.com. "He's the greatest of all time. He's a guy most people think I can't beat, and that gives me a drive. That's what I want."
Weidman fully expects Silva to once again let his ego get the best of him by taunting and playing to the crowd.
"My approach is the same as last time," Weidman said to USA Today. "Work hard in training camp, and work hard when I get in the cage. Be aggressive, follow my instincts, go forward and go for the finish."
Betting Odds: Silva -170
Time: Saturday, 11:45 p.m. ET
Live Online Stream: Order at UFC’s official site
Prediction: Weidman will be cautious throughout the fight, and Silva will try score points early with well-timed significant strikes. Look for Silva to pour it on in the later rounds and win in a decision.
Tale of the Tape
Weight: 185 lbs
Reach: 78 in
Record: 10-0-0, 4 KOs
Weight: 185 lbs
Reach: 77 in
Record: 33-5-0, 20 KOs
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