Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva at UFC 162 yet will still find himself an underdog according to MMA oddsmakers at Bovada, who find Silva a slight favor in the main event of UFC 168 Saturday night. The overwhelming consensus was that a laughing Silva did not take Weidman seriously as a contender and consequently Silva just didn’t fight hard.
The same thing has happened to Silva in the past in other fights against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, when Silva was taken down. Silva may have a method to his madness, it may be some sort of mental game to show disrespect to his opponent, but if it happens again, the underdog Weidman could easily win this match.
Silva is not as good at strike defense as Weidman is (66 percent Weidman, 63 percent Silva) and Silva has been taking more strikes as his career has progressed. In his last five fights, Silva has allowed 2.54 strikes per minute, which is significantly higher than his career average of 1.85 per minute. He’s fought for 13 years and it has to be wondered if his best may now be far behind him.
Silva needs to decide if he is going to keep his hands down when he fights Weidman, because if he does he could risk another knockout loss. The thing is, if he does put his hands up, he risks takedown. Weidman’s striking is good enough that it has to command the respect of some better defense, and Silva can’t rely on just dodging enough punches because Weidman is a very good striker.
Silva’s one caveat is his instant knockout power, and that may mislead a lot of bettors. Weidman is a very intelligent fighter and he makes good choices in fights. He will seek to take Silva down, because that is where the real chance lies for a victory against an opponent that is perceived to be better by both MMA oddsmakers and fans. The choice here is Weidman wins by submission, because Silva is going to be forced to counter the strike game and leave himself vulnerable to a takedown.