Anderson Silva (33-4) vs. Chris Weidman (9-0)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Silva -255, Weidman +195
Anderson Silva will look to defend the UFC middleweight belt for the 12th consecutive time against the undefeated Chris Weidman, headlining UFC 162’s main card on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Silva has now won 17 consecutive fights, 16 of which have been for UFC, a promotion record. His last title defense came a year ago (July 7, 2012) when he TKO’ed Chael Sonnen, and he has fought once since then, beating Stephan Bonnar with a first-round knockout in a light heavyweight bout on Oct. 13. Weidman has never lost, a record that includes five consecutive UFC victories, where he spent a total of three seconds being controlled in all five of those fights combined, and outstruck every UFC opponent. However, Weidman has yet to face a lot of top-notch competition. His last win was a second-round KO of Mark Munoz on July 11, 2012. Although Weidman’s athleticism and wrestling skills have the potential to make this a difficult one for Silva, he needs more experience before he can legitimately challenge for the belt. Silva may be 38 years old, but he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Not only has Silva been winning, but he has been doing so with ease. His past five fights have all ended before the final bell; the last four were knockouts with one submission before that. Overall, “The Spider” has 20 career knockouts with six decisions and seven submissions. At this point, he just needs a legitimate challenge, having beaten top fighters not only in this middleweight division, but also in the light heavyweight division. He has 12 career post-fight bonus awards, the most in UFC history.
“The All-American” Weidman made a name for himself in his last fight, dispatching Munoz in the second round with an impressive TKO. His nine career wins are now evenly divided between knockouts and submissions. If he has any edge in this one, it will be with his takedown skills that he honed as a Division I wrestler at Hofstra University. He averages 4.47 takedowns per 15 minutes, the highest amongst middleweights whose collective average is 1.93. The 29-year-old will have to be patient and try and get the edge on Silva that way, though Silva’s well-rounded repertoire might be too much for him to overcome. Weidman — whose 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame is identical to Silva’s — deserves his ranking as the world’s No. 2 middleweight, but there is still a large gap between him and the top spot.
Frankie Edgar (14-4-1) vs. Charles Oliveira (16-3)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Edgar -600, Oliveira +400
Former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar will look to avoid his fourth consecutive loss as he takes on Charles Oliveira on Saturday night in the final main card fight of UFC 162 in Las Vegas.
Oliveira is also coming off a loss, getting KO’ed by Cub Swanson in the first round in UFC 152 on Sept. 22. Edgar’s most recent fight was his first featherweight one, losing a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo for the divisional crown in UFC 156 on Feb. 2. His two previous fights were defeats to lightweight Benson Henderson, one in which he relinquished the title and another in which he failed to reclaim it. Each of these three consecutive losses has gone to the final bell, with the second one to Henderson splitting the judges.
Edgar first won the lightweight title from BJ Penn in 2010, who he beat again in the next fight four months later. Then after a draw with Gray Maynard on New Year’s Day 2011, he bested Maynard 10 months later before falling to Henderson. Overall, eight of Edgar’s career wins have been decisions, as have all four of his losses. His other six wins have been spilt with three knockouts and three submissions. At 5-foot-6, he cedes four inches to Oliveira, but “The Answer” should still have a major advantage with his advanced skill-set. Both a deft boxer and wrestler, the 31-year-old Edgar’s well-rounded attack should be able to toy with Oliveira both on the ground and on their feet.
Before 23-year-old Oliveira lost to Swanson, he began to make some noise in the lightweight division with two consecutive submission victories. The first of those was a rare reverse calf slicer against Eric Wisley in January 2012, and the second was a choke of Jonathan Brookins in June 2012. Those are just two examples of his strong submission skills, which have given “Do Bronx” Oliveira nine of his victories, including each of his past four wins. He also has six knockout victories in his career.
Tim Kennedy (15-4) vs. Roger Gracie (6-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Kennedy -145, Gracie +115
Both making their UFC debuts, Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie will step into the Octagon on UFC 162’s main card for a middleweight throwdown Saturday night.
These two fighters both fought on the same card the last time out, Strikeforce’s event on Jan. 12. Kennedy beat Trevor Smith in that one with a third-round submission, while Gracie beat Anthony Smith with a second-round submission. So it’s no surprise the odds are tight on this fight. Kennedy is the slight favorite, however, with a pedigree (fourth member of his family to fight in UFC) that gave him a title shot against Luke Rockhold in the previous fight, a decision loss. The big difference between these two submission artists may be their heights, with Gracie standing at 6-foot-4, five inches taller than Kennedy. With that body and his set of skills, it’s no shock why he’s seen as an up-and-comer in this division.
Kennedy has proven himself against solid competition, beating Robbie Lawler and Melvin Manhoef before losing to Rockhold. But he has always run into trouble when faced with a stiffer challenge, losing to Ronaldo Souza in the fight before that. If he wins, it’s more than likely via submission, with eight of his career 15 wins coming that way. He also owns five knockouts, meaning it’s unlikely the fight is going to the final bell if he’s winning. He has seven first-round finishes in his career, while his three most recent losses have all been decisions. Kennedy has elite strength, and he’ll have to hope that helps him overcome the height disadvantage he will be fighting with. That makes it tough for the former Special Forces sniper to pull off his head kick. The 33-year-old Kennedy has a black belt in modern army combative and is a black belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
Before Gracie’s win against Anthony Smith, he scored an impressive win against Keith Jardine. He outfought Jardine, earning a decision win. That showed impressive versatility for Gracie, whose other five wins have all been submissions. He has an exceptional ground game for somebody of his size and should be able to employ that against the shorter Kennedy. His only loss isn’t a bad one either, to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in September 2011. Gracie is a world-class Jiu-Jitsu expert, earning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and becoming a seven-time world champion before teaching the technique. The 31-year-old could make noise in UFC’s middleweight division with a victory here.