The hype has begun for what shapes up as the biggest event of the year and possibly a record-setter for the UFC. UFC 168 is set for December 28 in Las Vegas, and will be headlined by the highly anticipated middleweight title rematch between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Anderson Silva. The UFC is in the midst of an extensive worldwide press tour to promote the event.
The unbeaten Weidman ended “The Spider’s” lengthy championship tenure with a stunning second-round knockout at UFC 162. Silva was done in by his clowning tactics as Weidman made him pay for keeping his hands down with punches to the face to record the shocking stoppage. In the process Weidman ended Silva’s 16 fight win streak in the Octagon.
Weidman is confident he can do it again and seems to have a chip on his shoulder. The new champ says despite the victory, there remain doubters who saw his previous win as nothing more than a fluke. Silva, for his part, is vowing he will return the favor this time around and get his belt back by knocking Weidman out.
UFC President Dana White is confident that UFC 168 will exceed UFC 100 in both ticket sales and PPV buys.
UFC 100, which took place in 2009, remains the event with the highest buy rate in the organization’s history at 1.6 million. That card featured the Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir heavyweight title rematch, Georges St.Pierre defending his welterweight strap against Thiago Alves and a huge middleweight grudge match between Ultimate Fighter Season 9 coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping.
UFC 168 is shaping up as a tremendous card in its own right with Silva-Weidman 2, the women’s bantamweight title fight between bitter rivals and Ultimate Fighter Season 18 coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, and a significant heavyweight battle between Josh Barnett and Travis Browne.
There’s no doubt that the world be watching on December 28 as the countdown is now on to a fight card that will have serious repercussions in a number of weight classes, especially for the middleweight division. When the immediate Weidman-Silva rematch was announced, the UFC was banking on it as being the most anticipated rematch in their history. White remains optimistic it will play out exactly in that manner.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports