Long-time former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has done a number of remarkable things to be regarded by many as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. However, UFC 162 was definitely not his finest hour against Chris Weidman. The undefeated upstart challenger wasn’t fazed at all in the biggest fight of his career against his most formidable opponent. He answered all of Silva’s clowning and taunting with fists to the face in delivering a stunning second round knockout to become champion. Weidman’s victory sent shockwaves through the entire MMA world. Now the two combatants are set for their highly-anticipated rematch Saturday night at UFC 168 in Las Vegas.
Silva’s level of respect is such that even though he was knocked out in the first encounter, he is considered the favorite by odds makers heading into the rematch. It’s obvious Weidman hasn’t been receiving the credit he’s been deserving of. After the first encounter there was more talk of Silva paying for his arrogance and clowning than there was of Weidman’s tremendous accomplishment in ending the champ’s seven-year title reign. While everyone wonders which Silva will show up in the rematch, Weidman doesn’t seem to care. The champion certainly isn’t intimidated and welcomes the chance to show he’s the better man for a second straight time and put the argument to rest.
Silva has had a remarkable career, but there have been definite moments of brilliance mixed in with some maddening performances. When he’s at the top of his game he’s a sight to behold as his skills are breathtaking. He’s had a legendary feud with Chael Sonnen, owns brutal knockout finishes over Rich Franklin, and delivered one of the most famous finishes in UFC history with his front kick to the face against Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Silva has made many a top-fighter look like they didn’t’ even belong in the Octagon with him. Then he’s had performances like ones against Damien Maia and Thales Leites that left fans scratching their heads and UFC President Dana White seething. Sometimes with Silva you just never know what you might be in for.
Silva should be highly motivated after seeing his long-time title reign end at Weidman’s hands but likely isn’t going to change the way he operates. He’s supremely confident in his skills and will look to even the score by utilizing his dynamic striking game against the tough New York native. Weidman believes his all-around skills will again be enough to get the job done. He’s got power, tremendous wrestling and grappling, and he knows how to finish fights by submission. Weidman is 10-0 in his career and 6-0 inside the Octagon. He’s already recorded two Knockout of the Nights and a Submission of the Night effort but is just getting started when compared to what Silva has accomplished in his career.
Does Silva have one more virtuoso performance to deliver for his fans on Saturday night and reclaim his title or will Weidman once again prove his dominance and begin to truly receive the accolades that he deserves? It will undoubtedly be a fascinating night in Las Vegas.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports