UFC 162 Fight Preview: The End Of Silva's Reign?

As UFC 161 has probably very quickly eased its way out of your memory, I’m sure you’re craving nothing more than a good mixed martial arts fight or two. Well fret no more UFC fans! UFC 162 is on the horizon and coming to you this weekend. Let’s just say that this card is looking promising. The pay-per-view is set to take place on July 6, 2013 at 10 PM at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will feature middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, as he faces what is said to be the toughest test of his career, in his ever so confident opponent, Chris Weidman.

The other featured bouts in this stacked main card include, Denis Siver vs. Cub Swanson who will square off in the cage to kick off the PPV in a 145 pound dual, Tim Boetsch vs. Mark Munoz in a middleweight battle, Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie in a 185 pound fight, and Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira in an exciting featherweight co-main event.

Denis Siver vs. Cub Swanson: The featherweight division is bursting at the seams with talent. I can promise you right now, if anything, that Siver vs. Swanson is a fight that you will not want to miss on Saturday. This fight promises excitement and violence, which is what every UFC fan wants to see in a fight. This is a fight with title contention implications on the line for Cub Swanson.

Denis Siver made his featherweight debut in April and has come out on top of both of his bouts by unanimous decision. Out of his last 7, he’s only lost one to Donald Cerrone. He’s a heck of a kickboxer and has some good ground game when he is able to show it. Siver is fully aware of how explosive and how good of a stand up fighter Swanson is, but he believes that he can defeat everyone in this weight class; including Cub Swanson.

Swanson has been unsteady for most of his UFC career, but as of January of 2012, he is on a four fight tear, finishing three of his last four opponents by knockout. Two of those knockouts have earned him “Knockout of the Night” awards. He’s 100% confident headed into this fight that he can take Denis Siver down to the ground and submit him or finish him with a big right hand, anything he has to do to win this fight.

This fight is very hard to call because so much talent is shared among these fighters. It could go so many different directions, but I expect a knockout victory in the second round for Cub making it his fifth straight win and fourth knockout in his last five fights. This man is way too focused and driven to lose this fight at this point in his MMA career. I expect that we will see Swanson at his very best once again. Keep an eye out for this fight because it may very well win a fight night bonus.

Tim Boetsch vs. Mark Munoz: 185 pounders, Tim Boetsch and Mark Munoz are two very elite fighters who must win this fight to establish themselves as one of the top guys to beat in the middleweight division. Whoever wins this middleweight showdown will put themselves closer than ever to a title shot.

Boetsch has been fighting his way to the top since ever since UFC 130 in 2011 and is now closer than ever, with just one more win over Munoz at UFC 162, he can prove that he is deserving of a championship match. The 32 year old “Barbarian” is headed into this matchup with four wins in five fights in the division. The only man who claims victory over Boetsch is Costas Phillippou in his last fight at UFC 155.

“The Filipino Wrecking Machine,” Mark Munoz is ready for his first fight since getting knocked out by Chris Weidman almost a year ago at UFC on Fuel TV 4, after being on a four fight win streak with title shots ringing in his ears. Munoz recently suffered a foot injury from training for the Weidman fight and was forced to take some time off to recover. The 35 year old fighter turned to food for comfort in his down time but after feeling depressed from eating so much, he decided to train and get into the best shape he’s ever been in. His body is now in tip-top shape but is his fighting still where it needs to be to defeat the hungry Tim Boetsch?

“You really can’t afford to take a step back no matter who you are. If your goal is to ultimately become champion, then you need to keep moving in the right direction. For me, that is up and that is what I intend on doing.” Boetsch told Bleacher Report. Obviously neither of these guys can afford a loss at this point in their careers if they intend on being in the running for a title shot anytime soon. The competition level in this weight class is through the roof with big names like Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort illuminating it.

Both fighters are similar in that they have heavy hands and enjoy putting up the dukes, but they’re no strangers to a little ground game. They each have a rich background in wrestling, and with Mark Munoz being a national champion in wrestling, don’t be surprised if this fight ends up on the ground. I think we will see a little bit of everything between Munoz and Boetsch, on foot and on the ground but it’ll end with a Boetsch victory by TKO in the second round.

Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy: Middleweights, Roger Gracie and Tim Kennedy are ready to clash in the cage Saturday. This will be Gracie’s UFC debut, following a short career in Strikeforce with 6 wins and only 1 loss, handed to him by King Mo and one of his vicious knockouts. His opponent is the very blunt special forces veteran, Tim Kennedy. Kennedy is returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after 12 years of competing in Strikeforce.

Both men are heading into this fight with victories from Strikeforce. Gracie has wonderful ground game because he happens to be a master in jiu jitsu, thanks to his family’s roots. Meanwhile, Kennedy has earned 8 of his 15 victories by submission and has never been submitted in his entire MMA professional career. So this fight will more than likely be a battle on the ground. Roger does not have the most amazing takedown ability by any means, but if he is able to pull guard and work some of his submission magic, I believe that he will be credited as the first fighter to ever defeat Tim Kennedy via submission. I predict the submission will come in the third round. Although I feel like this fight has no business being on the main card and that they should have bumped a more appropriate fight such as Chris Leben vs. Andrew Craig up to this spot, it’ll still be interesting to see which of these middeweights come out with a win.

Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira: Former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar is set to take on Charles Oliveira in a featherweight co-main event this Saturday night. This fight is sure to be a nail biter as these two men are at the top of the featherweight division, both coming off losses and looking to establish themselves higher in the 145 pound division rankings. Frankie has undeniable speed, great cardio, and a chin made of steel. Oliveria on the other hand, is a well-rounded fighter with tremendous ground game, as well as striking, that will definitely give Edgar a run for his money.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is coming off of 3 straight disappointing decision losses in title fights. Two of those were against lightweight champion, Benson Henderson (1 unanimous, 1 split.) His most recent unanimous decision loss was his first bout in the featherweight division against Jose Aldo at UFC 156 on February 2. This will be New Jersey native’s first non-title fight since April of 2010, and he vows that he is back and more confident in himself than ever. He believes that by going back into a regular 3 round fight, he can establish the pace and come out swinging early.

Oliveira is the perfect match for Edgar, because they compliment each other so well. The speed and the size of Edgar in comparison to the skill and height of Oliveira is sure to make for an interesting fight. Charles Oliveira asked to fight the best in the division, and he got his wish in Frankie Edgar. Charles may be the tallest and most dangerous guy that Frankie has ever faced. Oliveira’s last fight was one where he missed weight and suffered a loss to another fighter on this event’s card, Cub Swanson, via first round knockout back in September at UFC 152. Oliveira has outstanding Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu which I believe will be the greatest threat to Edgar.

This fight means a lot to both of these fighters and their UFC careers. For Edgar, this fight is one step closer to proving himself deserving of another championship bout. Compared to Oliveira, who is looking to prove himself as a top-10 fighter. Based on the impeccable talent in this matchup, my prediction is that this fight will go all 3 rounds and will need to go under the judges’ decision, where Edgar will come out victorious by split decision.

Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman: Anderson Silva, who is said to be one of the greatest fighters in MMA’s history has got his work cut out for him in his upcoming challenger. Chris “The All American” Weidman is by far Silva’s toughest opponent and greatest threat to his title since gaining it back it 2006. Many believe that if Silva were to defeat Weidman in this fight, the debates would end; Silva would be the greatest fighter of all-time.

Anderson Silva owns the UFC middleweight record with an astonishing 10 successful title defenses, but people are beginning to hop off the champ’s side after all these years and place their money on Chris Weidman. Why would you ever even think about picking against the greatest martial artist the world has ever seen?  Many think that Weidman’s wrestling and jiu jitsu are going to rock Silva’s world and lead him to become the first challenger to defeat Silva since 2006.

Weidman, an undefeated, 2-time NCAA division 1 All-American wrestler, who has been wrestling and competing his entire life, has out-struck his opponent in every one of his UFC fights. “I think I am a nightmare matchup for him,” Chris says, “If he had his way, he wouldn’t be fighting me.” There’s no denying Weidman’s sense of confidence. At UFC on Fuel 4 in July of 2012 after he took down Mark Munoz in the second round was when Chris capitalized on this opportunity. He looked straight into the camera and said “I want Anderson Silva.”

The UFC’s own Joe Rogan, Georges St-Pierre, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen have all expressed their own reasons as to why Weidman will win the upcoming title bout with his wrestling and submission skills. Silva remains cool, calm and collected though, disregarding all predictions that are not in his favor.

“Every new fight is a new challenge, and it will be up to whoever is better prepared and who feels better that night. Win or lose, a loss and a win are always walking side by side. That doesn’t really matter, because I’ve been doing this since I was eight years old, and there are always new challenges. My biggest concern is going out there and doing better for myself. I’m not concerned about what my opponents do. I want to better myself.”

What Silva needs to do to win this fight is simple, control the fight and stand with him. Weidman’s striking cannot even compare to that of Silva’s. Anderson has the most knockdowns in UFC history, and some of the most memorable knockouts the organization has ever seen. He keeps perfect distance while on his feet, distributing weight evenly, and times his strikes and kicks perfectly and fluidly. Silva is usually more of a counter striker, once a punch is thrown, he will respond right away. Weidman must take advantage of strikes and leg kicks early but be alert for a counter to follow, and try to wear Silva down before going in for a takedown. With his rich background in wrestling, Weidman will obviously go for a single leg or double underhook, anything to take Silva down, which is how people believe that Chris might actually win as long as he can attain top control and work for the submission, since Anderson has been susceptible to grapplers.

Personally, I feel as though there is too much hype surrounding a guy who has only 9 wins under his MMA belt, compared to a man with 10 consecutive wins under a real middleweight champion belt, not to mention all of his other accomplishments in his UFC/MMA career. Weidman’s talk means nothing if he cannot go into the cage and prove himself, and unfortunately for him, the odds are against him. Although I do believe that Chris Weidman is the man that has the tools and type of style needed to dethrone the champion, I think that Anderson is going to do what he does every time he steps foot inside that cage: win. My prediction is Silva via TKO in the second round.

This is a highly anticipated main event and one that I have been looking forward to since the day it was announced. Which man will prosper; the long-time champion, heavy-handed Anderson Silva, or his young undefeated and undaunted challenger, Chris Weidman?

 

Prelims on FX at 8 ET:

Chris Leben(22-9) vs. Andrew Craig(8-1)

Kazuki Tokudome(12-3-1) vs. Norman Parke(17-2)

Edson Barboza(11-1) vs. Rafaello Oliveira(16-5)

Dave Herman(21-5) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga(14-7)

 

Facebook Prelims at 7 ET:

Brian Melancon(6-2) vs. Seth Baczynski(18-9)

Mike Pierce(16-5) vs. David Mitchell(12-2)

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