A little under two weeks ago, undefeated middleweight Chris “All American” Weidman shocked the mixed martial arts world by finally slaying the giant of his division, number-one ranked pound-for-pound fighter and now former UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva at UFC 162 in Las Vegas. Silva had been undefeated for seven years and had an unprecedented ten title defenses, however none of that helped him as he went crashing to the canvas after a wide left hook from Weidman at 1:18 of round two. If you stay in the game long enough, it’s bound to happen and for Silva, it happened on July 6th.
After the bout, Silva was interviewed by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan in the octagon and from the tone of Silva’s voice, in addition to what he was actually saying, he gave the impression that he was retiring. Rogan flat out asked Silva if he is in fact retiring, Silva refuted and said that he wants to continue fighting but has no interest in a rematch with Weidman. He proclaimed Weidman as the best and essentially said I’m tired let his ass carry the torch now. Everyone from fans to UFC president Dana White immediately, albeit inwardly, called Silva’s BS card. If Silva is the competitor we all believe he is, there is no way he doesn’t legitimately want a rematch to redeem himself. After all, Silva was acting a jack ass and clowning around when Weidman landed the fight ending blow. Something Silva has done in the past only without consequence.
A brief search through YouTube and you’re likely to find several instances of fighters putting their hands down and inviting, or should I say double-dog daring, their opponent to swing at will during a fight just as Silva did. Now, “The Spider” has something in common with those poor souls, he too was knocked for doing the same. Joe Rogan put it best when he said that it’s almost a shame that Silva lost this way, with all of the records and the aura of invincibility he had constructed -or fans constructed for him- having to come to an abrupt end simply because Silva felt the need to make Weidman look like Forrest Griffin. None the less, it happened. Now time has passed, reality has sunken in and the dust has all but settled and we can now look forward to their rematch which is slated for UFC 168 on December 28. So naturally, as we all do with fight sequels, we ask ourselves: who wins the rematch?
Going into the fight, Silva was roughly a 2 to 1 favorite to win the bout, a close favorite but the favorite none the less. Odds that were a lot closer than most fans anticipated, lending credence to the opinion most professional mixed martial artists had leading up to the fateful bout that Weidman was more than capable of dethroning the pound-for-pound great. Despite losing the title in such definite fashion, Silva is still the odds on favorite going into their rematch in December, however, odds that are even closer than their first bout. MMAWeekly reported that Silva opened at -140 and Weidman at +100. Even with MMA insiders predicting a Weidman win in their first bout, which did occur, it is still believed that Silva will win the rematch, at least in the eyes of the bookies and odds makers. Therefore predicting the winner of their rematch might be a tad bit more difficult than their first bout.
Consider this, within thirty seconds of round one, Weidman took Silva down and tentatively yet strategically grounded and pounded Silva, controlled aggression if you will. He attempted to pass Silva’s guard, unsuccessfully and even risked giving up top position in favor of attempting a knee bar and then a heel hook. Silva managed to stand back up after the fail leg lock attempts and then began clowning around, but at the same time started attacking with some kicks. I actually had Weidman winning round one and rather clearly. Then round two brought an end to the fight by way of a wide left hook. Who knows how the fight might have gone if it had not ended in that second round. Perhaps Weidman would’ve taken Silva down again or perhaps Silva would’ve finished Weidman off on the feet. Either way, the fight ended with Silva clowning around way too much with a skilled and very competent challenger and paid the ultimate price for it. Thus it is safe to say that with Silva taking Weidman seriously, the same outcome is highly unlikely. Weidman attempted to take Silva down in the second round and was unable to and was forced to resort to standing with Silva, ultimately to his favor. Not only is it safe to say the same outcome is unlikely, but it’s also safe to say Silva will actually finish Weidman before the final bell, as he has done with all but two of his UFC opponents; which for all we know may have been well on its way before being stopped himself. Of course, we’ll never know.
Without the utter disrespect for Weidman’s power and accuracy Silva showed in their first bout, I would go as far as to put my money where my mouth is and place a bet on Silva to win the rematch, especially since he’s as close a favorite as he is at this point. Even with giving Weidman round one of their first bout, based entirely on how the fight ended, at this point Silva takes the rematch.