UFC: 168 Weidman v Silva preview

weidmansilvaAnderson Silva looking shaky – Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There were no events and no Ultimate Fighter this week, so I’m going to preview the most eagerly awaited card of the year. December 28 sees Chris Weidman take on Anderson Silva again to crown the undisputed champ. Ronda Rousey gets another go at actually breaking Miesha Tate’s arm. Barnet faces brown, Miller faces Camoes and Poirer takes on Brandao. These bouts make up the main card.

I’ll start from the very beginning of the card. First up is Peralta v Payan, followed by Volker v Macario. For the Facebook pre-lims, I’ll play it save and pick the guys I’ve heard off. They are Payan and Volker. I’m not expecting much from either of these fights but I expect them to both be decisions. In the pre-lims, first up is Howard v Bahadursda. Howard was a welterweight with mixed results until he got cut by UFC. He was brought back for a fight at short notice against Uriah Hall, who incidentally fights Chris Leben on this card. Howard won that one by decision. Bahardurza burst out of the blocks on the scene, but has been off for ages with injuries. He has two fights: a win against Paulo Thiago and a loss to the Stun Gun. I think that Howard is hungry. He will play this game wisely and get it to the ground. I’m predicting Howard to win by decision.

Gamburyan v Siver: Gamburyan is a stocky judo guy, and Siver kicks like a mule. I think the latter will try to use his kicking game and might catch Gamburyan with a liver shot for a TKO victory. Tibau v Johnson: decision decision decision. Tibau by decision. However, Johnson is coming off an exciting win over Joe Lauzon, but still I can’t see him being able to dictate the fight against the much bigger Tibau. Uriah hall takes on Chris Leben in a battle of two guys perpetually on the chopping block. Hall is still looking for that highlight reel performance that can match his TUF one. He seems to be a man with so much talent but he is potentially too nice for a career in the UFC.

Leben is still in the company because of the first Ultimate Fighter appearance. He still has that danger knockout power but his body and chin are giving up on him. This looks like it should be a young hungry matador against a dying incapacitated bull, but with Hall’s head and Leben’s fists, that’s a result that’s far from guaranteed. With that in mind, I’m going to do the unthinkable and predict that Leben will knock Hall out of the UFC and pick up KO of the night. I then expect him to hang up the gloves after an epic final performance.

On to the main card. Poirer v Brandao. This fight has the potential to be a bloody fight of the night. Poirer has fought the better competition and I expect him to win by decision. That being said, it won’t be easy. Brandao has that explosiveness and can hit him with a deluge of punches, kicks and flying knees. A ballet of beautiful violence it will surely be. Next up, Jim miller gets given the opportunity to win a fight. His opponent has one solitary UFC win in four attempts, and that was against a guy called Tommy Hayden. Jim Miller is going to be too much for him. He is better in every area. Miller isn’t much of a finisher and I expect that he will win this fight by decision, but depending on the ref he may secure a TKO victory.

Barnett v Browne: Browne has been looking good lately. Barnett has been around forever and is a former UFC Champion and a submission ace who is still improving his striking all the time. He put an absolute beating on Frank Mir in his UFC return. Can he do the same to the young lion? In my opinion, yes he can. Browne is capable of winning this fight by simply being bigger and using his nasty high kick, but Barnett just has way too much experience. Nothing will phase him. If he ends up in danger he has enough savvy to get out of it. He will use the clinch and just beat on Browne until Browne quits, gets TKO’d or the round ends. It’ll be rinse and repeat. One of them might even go for a crazy submission. Barnett should win by whatever means he chooses.

It’s time to look at the first main event between Rousey and Tate. The latter replaced Kat Zingano after she got injured. The obvious question is has Tate worked on her arm bar defence? She must have done, but what do you do against someone who can always see a way to get it and has the most perfect technique for it? I love both of these girls, but I’m really not sure about this. Has Rousey’s fame and movie making took her eyes off the prize? Is a person already talking about retirement really wanting to fight anymore? We will find out, but I pick Rousey by way of an arm-breaking arm bar.

As for the main event of the evening, we all know what happened in that last fight. We have all seen that video with the KO and the damage done. What we don’t know is which Anderson Silva is going to show up. We can all agree Silva took his clowning too far and if he himself was honest he would agree. I believe he was winning the round until he got caught. The biggest factor going into this fight is Chris Weidman. Before that KO, I truly felt he was flustered and it was only a matter of time until Anderson pulled the trigger. Was that Weidman putting on his poker face and was he actually in control of the fight the whole entire time? Those questions will be answered.

With a heavy heart, I’m picking Weidman to retain the title. I saw a video of Anderson training and he looked really slow. When decline comes in, it comes in hard and I think it’s coming for Silva. I was horrified to see Silva get KO’d but I can see it happening again here. He is a victim of his own tenacity and I think Weidman has his number. Whatever the outcome, I can’t wait for this fight.

Thanks for reading.

Arun Paul Smith