What might be the most anticipated rematch in UFC history is finally here as Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman faces off against Anderson Silva, the man he defeated with an absolutely stunning 2nd round knockout to win the UFC MW belt last July. There are several other interesting fights on the card, including Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate and Josh Barnett vs Travis Browne.
Champion Chris Weidman (10-0) +155 vs Former Champion Anderson Silva (33-5) -165
Silva is the slight favorite for this fight, but this is fight is essentially a toss up in my view. After going back and forth several times I finally picked Weidman to retain his title, but this fight could easily go either way because both fighters are have diverse MMA skill sets and have demonstrated the ability to end fights via KO or submission. I can’t say that would want to bet much on this fight if I was in Vegas. Both fighters seemed to be calm and confident at the weigh in and at other pre-fight meetings between the two. I’m sure both men think they can and will win this bout. I expect that we will see a more serious and more focused Anderson Silva in this fight and that makes him extremely dangerous. But I think Weidman is at the top of game and in his physical prime at 29. The 38 yr old Spider Silva had not shown any signs of age up until his loss to Weidman. That defeat has made many wonder if Father Time is finally catching up with Silva. That may indeed be the case, but I think Weidman, with top notch wrestling, jiujitsu and his formidable striking would have posed a real threat to Silva at any point in his career.
Weidman wins by submission, 2nd Rd.
Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Champion Ronda Rousey (7-0) -700 vs Meisha Tate (13-4) +510
We have another rematch here. Rousey and Tate fought each other back in March of 2012 when both were fighting in Strikeforce. I remember that fight well. It was non-stop action for nearly a full round, before Ronda was able to secure an arm bar and win in her signature fashion. I’ve got to think that Tate has spent a lot time preparing to defend the arm bar, but will she be able stop the relentless Rousey? Rousey is very well conditioned and her trainers do an excellent job of preparing her. I’m not sure that Rousey deserves to be the massive favorite that she is (-700 is too high for me), but the undefeated champ should definitely be the favorite. However, Tate always shows a lot heart and will come out swinging. I would give Tate a puncher’s chance of winning.
Rousey wins by Submission 2nd Rd.
Josh Barnett (33-6) -185 vs Travis Browne (15-1) +160
This is a very consequential fight in the Heavyweight division because these to fighters are attempting to position themselves for a title shot a the winner of this fight will probably only need one more victory to get a coveted opportunity to fight for the UFC Heavyweight championship. Barnett is a former UFC HW Champ, but he left the promotion to fight for other organizations way back in 2003 and returned earlier this year. Barnett made short work of UFC HW vet Frank Mir in return fight and now the up and coming Browne stands in his way, Bartnett is 36 and Browne is 31, but it seems like there is a greater difference in age than there is because Barnett has had so many fights. I think this experience gives the 6’4″ Barnett an edge and it will enable him to defeat the 6’7″ Browne, but it won’t be easy. Browne showed great will and resilience in last fight, a victory over the imposing Alistair Overeem.
Barnett wins by TKO, 2nd Rd.