Aaaaand finally we have a UFC pay-per-view that we can truly get excited about. There’s been an awful lot of stuff coming from the UFC lately. Between double-header weekends and cards that just don’t get the MMA juices flowing, one could be forgiven for thinking it’s all just a little too much. Thankfully however, July is here and with it are some of the most exciting fights and stacked cards to reinvigorate even the most exhausted fan of this beautiful sport of ours.
It all begins this weekend at UFC 175 when middleweight champion Chris Weidman (11-0, 6-0 UFC) takes on #3 middleweight Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (21-4, 13-4 UFC) in one of the most anticipated championship matches of the year, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight sees Weidman defend his belt for the second time, after his first on December 28th of last year when he defeated the consensus greatest fighter in UFC history, Anderson Silva, after the Brazilian broke his leg in the second round of their fight. Before that, Weidman knocked out “The Spider” to hand him his first defeat ever inside the UFC’s Octagon. This bout will see him defend his belt against Silva’s on-and-off training partner Machida, after initial opponent Vitor Belfort was forced to withdraw after failing a drugs test.
For Machida, he is coming into this fight undefeated since dropping down to 185 where he has looked incredible. After a controversial loss to Phil Davis, Machida dropped down a division and took only three minutes to knock out Mark Munoz back in October of last year. His last bout was a five round domination over top contender and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night back in February.
This fight has many angles. We will either see Chris Weidman prove that his wins over Anderson Silva weren’t flukes and he’s the real deal and someone the UFC can sell PPVs with, or we’ll see Lyoto Machida become only the third man in UFC history to win a UFC championship in two difference weight classes (after B.J. Penn and Randy Couture). Here’s how both might look to win this epic.
Keys to Victory:
Chris Weidman – Weidman’s strategy is going to be very interesting to see. He is the prototypical elite wrestler who’s discovered that he has knockout power. The problem in this fight though is that Weidman will find it incredibly difficult finding a home for his punches against the most elusive fighter he’s ever fought in Lyoto Machida. The only reason he found Silva’s chin was because he was offered it on a Silva platter, let’s not kid ourselves.
He plain and simple has to get his arms around Machida and get this to the ground. I really cannot see any other way. If Weidman can get Machida down, and keep him down, which is in itself a big ask, then he could feasibly grind this one out or finish this with some ground and pound. On the other hand, he could of course use Ray Longo’s ‘knee destruction’ technique and check a Machida leg kick and hope for the same outcome as his last fight.
Lyoto Machida – Machida thrives against wrestlers, mostly. I mean, let’s be honest, he really should have gotten that decision against Phil Davis. He utterly decimated a man with a similar style to Weidman in Ryan Bader and also has wins over wrestlers like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. His strategy won’t defer much to previous fights where he will look to pop in and out with mach speed punches and kicks while his opponent wonders what just happened.
Machida handled and evaded the punching power of the likes of Henderson and “Rampage” well enough but Weidman is younger, faster and at the time of fighting Machida, a lot more effective. Machida has excellent takedown defence but a lot of ‘wrestlers’ he’s fought opted to stand and try to knock Machida out, so the Brazilian needs to stay characteristically patient and not get into any clinches with Weidman lest he be taken to the mat.
Betting on the Brawl:
Chris Weidman is the favourite in this fight, which of course makes sense considering he just beat the greatest fighter of all time, twice. The money lies with a Lyoto Machida win however, and you can get him outright at 6/4. Decent odds, but for me the 7/2 bet on Machida to win on points makes a lot of sense. I think Machida will be sensible and just outstrike Weidman and win similarly to the fight against Mousasi. The alternative is Chris Weidman to win on points, which is available at a decent 15/8.
Outright Betting: Chris Weidman (8/15 favourite); Lyoto Machida (6/4)
Keith’s Pick: Lyoto Machida to win on points (7/2).