UFC 162 – Silva vs Weidman: Main Card preview, picks, live updates

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Chris Weidman on the way to a dominant unanimous decision win over Alessio Sakara at UFC On Versus 3 (Image: Supplied).

Up-and-coming UFC Middleweight contender Chris Weidman comes up against one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time in Anderson Silva in UFC 162 at the MGM Grand this afternoon. We’ll have live updates from 12.00pm AEST.

Middleweight Championship
Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (33-4-0) vs Chris Weidman (9-0-0)

The latest and greatest challenger to the Silva reign at 185lbs is plucky New Yorker Chris Weidman.

He is the most favoured challenger to ‘The Spider’ and his belt ever, according to many experts and fighters themselves.

Georges St-Pierre, Rashad Evans and Gray Maynard have all gone on record to say that they feel Weidman will be the next middleweight champion.

Here’s the thing: he’s fighting the best to ever do it.

Anderson Silva has held the middleweight title since October 14, 2006, where he kneed Rich Franklin’s face into a pulp.

Almost seven years and 10 successful title defences later, Silva is widely considered to be the greatest mixed martial artist to ever grace the cage or ring.

The only time he has even looked close to stoppable was against Chael Sonnen. The loquacious Oregonian managed to take the champion down at will and even knock him off his feet with punches twice before Silva won in dramatic fashion by triangle choke in the final minute of the final round.

The reason so many are backing Weidman is because he appears not to have a weakness.

He is a decorated collegiate wrestler, and has finished six of his nine opponents – three by submission and three by TKO.

The 29-year-old is unbeaten in nine pro fights but has been out injured for a year since he pulverised Mark Munoz in dominating fashion.

Simply put, Weidman may well be the biggest challenge to Silva yet, but that doesn’t mean he will beat the champion.

I’m saying that if Weidman can start well and if he can survive the striking game of Silva.

Longshot to say the least, and if he can tire the champion out with takedowns he has a great chance, he won’t be submitted by Silva like Chael was.

This is the most tempted I have been to sit on a fence in a long while, but that’s just not my style, I’m going for the underdog.

Prediction: Weidman by unanimous decision.

Featherweight bout
Charles Oliveria (16-3-0-1NC) vs Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar (15-4-1)
A featherweight bout between a very experienced former lightweight champion in Frankie Edgar and a young Brazilian up-and-comer in Charles Oliveria, and this one should be a scorcher.

Edgar is fighting in his first three-round fight in a while, the former champ has fought only in title bouts since he won the belt against BJ Penn at UFC 112 until his latest fight against Jose Aldo, in which he lost a close decision at UFC 156 in February.

Heart is something that has often been attributed to the combat sports and Frankie Edgar personifies it.

The New Jersey native can never be counted out and has come out of many battles on the right side of the result.

His competitor is no flash in the pan either, having gone 5-3 since his UFC debut in 2010, He owns a very impressive finishing record, having recorded nine submissions and six knockouts with only one of his wins coming by way of decision.

The question is can Oliveria do to Frankie Edgar what no one else ever has – finish him?

I think not, I see Edgar having too much for the skilful Brazilian, he’s too tough, too resilient and too keen to get back to the big time, combine these with his pinpoint jab and he should control this one.

Prediction: Edgar by unanimous decision.

Middleweight
Roger Gracie (6-1-0) vs Tim Kennedy (15-4-0)

A matchup between an excellent Brazilian ground fighter (who comes from a long linage of them) and an American soldier with a knack for also getting tapout finishes.

These fighters have recently moved to the UFC from underneath the Strikeforce banner and this will mark the promotional debut for both of them.

Roger Gracie has all the skills on the ground that you would expect from a Gracie jiu jitsu fighter and he will be surely looking to execute his usual game plan against Kennedy, take it to the ground and finish the fight.

Whilst Gracie’s grappling credentials cannot be denied, Kennedy is no slouch on the ground having picked up eight wins via submission as a professional.

The Iraq and Afghanistan veteran is easily the more complete fighter of the two, he also has much more MMA experience having fought in almost three times the amount of fights as Gracie, I believe this will be telling.

Prediction: I see Kennedy controlling and then knocking out Gracie in the first round.

Middleweight
Mark ‘The Philippino Wrecking Machine’ Munoz (12-3-0) vs. Tim ‘The Barbarian’ Boetsch (16-5-0)

A big potential fight of the night here between two powerful wrestlers who are both looking to regain their footing in the upper echelons of the middleweight division.

One of the big talking points in the MMA world of late has been Munoz’s incredible journey out of a food binging depressive state.

The former Oklahoma state Wrestler had ballooned up to 261lbs, after months of hard work and the reigniting of his competitive flame he was back down to a shredded 200lbs a week before the fight.

The before and after pictures are incredible and show just how hard he worked to get back to fighting weight.

It would be foolish to talk only of Munoz incredible transformation, especially when he is fighting a man as dangerous as Boetsch.

Angered by his loss to Costa Phillipou last year, which many suggest was due to an eye poke and clash of heads occurring in a fight that ‘The Barbarian’ had been winning, he will look to get back on track with a win here over Munoz.

Both men are tough and willing competitors, and this should be a great fight, look for Boetsch to go out all guns blazing.

Prediction: I am picking ‘The Barbarian’ to finish the fight via 2nd round TKO.

Featherweight bout
Cub Swanson (19-5-0) vs Dennis Siver (21-8-0)

A bout between two highly experienced and highly dangerous strikers, Cub Swanson takes on Denis Siver in what has been billed by many as a number one contender bout.

Siver, a Russian-born German kickboxer who has shown huge improvement in his takedowns and grappling since making the cut to featherweight in April 2012, and has since gone 2-0 defeating Diego Nunes and Nam Phan.

The stocky Siver will look to use his strength advantage over Swanson, and he will unusually not be giving up any height or reach to Swanson who is identically proportioned in those areas.

Swanson, who fights out of Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico has gone on a tear in the division since losing his UFC debut to Ricardo Lamas, posting three straight TKO wins and a decision win over Dustin Poirier in February.

He will look to continue this run in the hope he can get a rematch with Jose Aldo, the man who knocked swanson out with a double flying knee attack in just eight seconds back at WEC 41 in 2009.

Though Siver has only been knocked out once as a professional, it would not surprise me if Swanson was to do it tonight.

He packs some serious power and if he connects I don’t see Siver shaking it off to well.

Cub is flying through the division and thought Siver is a tough, experienced competitor, I don’t see him ending Cub’s current run.

Prediction: I’m saying Swanson finishes this fight in the second round via TKO.

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