At UFC 162 in Las Vegas, two elite fighters will clash. In the past seven years, Anderson “The Spider” Silva has proved time and time again that he deserves his spot as the UFC Middleweight Champion of the world by not losing a single fight. But many believe his reign will soon come to an end by the hand of Chris “The All American” Weidman. Respectively, Silva and Weidman are ranked as the #1 and #2 middleweight fighters on the planet, naturally making this bout one of the most anticipated fights in recent memory. Sporting 16 consecutive wins and a record-holding ten title defenses, the Spider is arguably “the greatest mixed martial artist ever,” as Dana White says. However, others such as welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre say that Weidman is “going to beat Anderson Silva. It’s a bad matchup for Anderson…very bad.” With Silva being  the All American’s senior by ten years, it might be time for this titan’s reign over the middleweight division to be toppled, and Weidman is definitely the most qualified man for the job.

In Weidman’s five fights in the UFC, he has only been controlled by his opponent for a combined three seconds, which ties him for the UFC record. He also has the highest takedown average in the middleweight division, an incredible 4.47 per 15 seconds (the average is 1.93). Weidman is currently undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist, and has beaten numerous renowned fighters such as Alessio Sakara, Tom Lawlor, Demian Maia and Uriah Hall. As a NCAA Division 1 All American and brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the former collegiate wrestler is certainly experienced enough to put the Spider through his paces.

Silva is almost a man who needs no introduction, as even those who don’t follow the sport have heard his name. He is ranked as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by ESPN, Sherdog, and Yahoo! Sports. He is a BJJ black belt, a black pajied in Muay Thai, a black belt in Judo, a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a yellow rope in Capoeira. Of his 33 wins, 22 have been by KO and four by submission. Silva also has the most consecutive UFC wins, has only gone past the second round four times during his UFC career, and has been awarded the most post fight bonuses in UFC history.

In the Spider’s last 35 fights, he has landed 68% of his strikes, with over half of them from the standing position, while avoiding 62% of his opponents’. These staggering statistics show us that more than half the time, Silva will hit his opponent without taking any damage himself. He was the former Shooto middleweight champion and the Cage Rage middleweight champ. He was the fighter of the year in 2008, awarded fight of the year in 2010, and knockout of the year in 2011. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the fighter of the year, while Spike Guys’ Choice Awards named him the “Most Dangerous Man”. He has beaten down more fighters than I care to name and you care to read about, and is simply one of the most decorated veterans in UFC history. Many even go as far to call him the “Michael Jordan of MMA.”

This fight is definitely hard to call, as we face the hard reality that the champ is getting up there in the years. Every fight could be the one to end his streak, and for the past few title defenses people have been expecting him to lose, only to be proven wrong. Weidman is going to showcase his wrestling ability, as striking with the Spider has never turned out well for anyone in the entirety of his career. The only way to really put the heat on Silva is by taking a page out of Chael Sonnen’s playbook and taking Silva down over and over again. If Weidman can go the distance with Silva, take him down, and avoid being knocked out, he may be able to grind out a decision with points scored on takedowns, finally dethroning the undisputed ruler of the MMA world.