In one of the most anticipated fights of 2013, boy are we ready for more fireworks. The GOAT, Anderson Silva looks to defend his belt for the 11th consecutive time, and extend his UFC record to 17-0. An unremarkable feat to say the least, but his opponent is an incredibly tough one in Chris Weidman. Weidman has been a beast since gracing the octagon, proving to be an excellent grappler with a lethal submission game. Weidman is an improving striker, but no where near the striker Anderson Silva is. Silva has some of the best head movement, and technical and crisp boxing I’ve ever seen. And although Chael Sonnen had his way with Anderson Silva in the first fight, it was pretty evident come the second fight that Anderson Silva was suffering from an injury. Nothing against Sonnen either, but everyone uses that fight, and thinks that Anderson Silva can easily be taken down. Silva’s takedown defense is at 81%, and come round two of the second fight against Sonnen, Silva shrugged off every takedown attempt like nothing. Did I also mention that Silva’s striking accuracy is 68%, and he has 11 knockouts, the most in the UFC ahead of Liddell. And not to continue to gloat about Anderson Silva, I should add that I believe that Weidman is one of the better grapplers in the middleweight division, and is a finisher as well. His striking has improved every fight, and the KO of Mark Munoz was set up with a perfectly times elbow that dropped him. I hate to do this, but I’m a Weidman believer, and a fan. It’s hard to pick against a hometown boy as well, but I think he has the right ingredients within his mix martial arts abilities to dethrone Silva. I don’t think he can finish Silva, and his cardio will certainly be tested, as he enters new territory in this five round fight. It’s almost easier to go with Silva here, given his credentials, but I’m sticking to Weidman, and picking him to win via decision
Frankie Edgar vs Charles Oliveira
While I believe Oliveira is a young and talented prospect, there is little chance he wins this fight. Every time the UFC has given him a big fight, he has crumbled in the first round of each of those fights. Edgar is on another level, and keep in mind, this is a three round fight only. Edgar hasn’t been in a three round fight since 2009 (yes 2009) against Mat Veach. Edgar is noted for having the one best gas tanks, and the ability to constantly keep a pace for all five rounds. Edgar is going to work over Oliveira, and easily control the fight wherever it goes. And although Edgar hasn’t had a finish since 2011, he will have one come this night, as I expect Edgar to finish Oliveira in the third round by knockout.
Roger Gracie vs Tim Kennedy
The last Gracie’s to enter the Octagon were Rolles and Renzo in 2010, and both were defeated by TKO, thus ending their time in the UFC. Now, Roger Gracie looks put the iconic name back in the spotlight, and prove he is UFC caliber. Kennedy, will look to build off his submission victory over Trevor Smith at the final Strikeforce card in January. Kennedy, recently made waves, talking about the touchy subject of fighter pay. And the first question of the press conference was to Tim about the comments, boss and all right there. Keep in mind, Tim hasn’t even fought yet in the UFC, and is already stirring the pot. Regardless, this fight is an interesting one as both men are grapplers, Kennedy being the better wrestler, Gracie being the better ground specialist, and both having decent striking abilities at best. Although Gracie has a considerable height, and reach advantage, his sub par striking isn’t going to overwhelm Kennedy. I think Kennedy is going to work Gracie up against the cage, try to get to his suspect chin, or get the takedown and work a smothering top game in route to a decision victory. The one element that is big in my decision is cardio, and Kennedy who has already fought in two 5 round championship fights, has proven to have the ability to continue the pace. Gracie on the other hand, has suspect cardio, and I’ve seen him gas before, ala the Jardine fight. Kennedy will be too much for Gracie, especially come the later stages of the fight when he is fresher.
Mark Munoz vs Tim Boetsch
An all important fight in the middleweight division as both fighters look to rebound from losses that set them back from being next in line for a title shot. If Munoz had beaten Chris Weidman, he would probably of had his moment against Anderson Silva already, but he lost, battled depression, and is back nearly a year later. Boetsch, who once was undefeated at middleweight, recently had his four fight win streak snapped that included big wins over Yushin Okami, and Hector Lombard. Costa Phillipou proved to be to much for Boetsch, and controlled the entire fight. This fight will come down to who has the better wrestling, as I envision it taking place either against the cage or on the ground. Although, it’s been a nearly a year since Munoz stepped in the cage, and although I think his wrestling is slightly overrated, I liked his overall game better. If he can somehow bring this fight to the mat, his top game, and ground and pound will overwhelm Boetsch. With that, I do believe Munoz can put Boetsch on his back, and finish him.
Cub Swanson vs Dennis Siver
An exciting fight to open the main card as Cub Swanson looks to extend his winning streak to five, and prove that he should be next in line for a title shot. Dennis Siver looks to stay undefeated at featherweight, extend his winning streak to three, and add his name to the hat of contenders in the 145 pound division. Swanson who is riding on a four fight win streak, has won three by KO/TKO before the fight could reach round 3. A killer to say the least, Swanson’s improving striking combined with his athleticism, and quickness has proved to given him the edge over his recent opponents. Swanson is a fighter, and what I mean by that is that he comes to fight, and put on a show. He doesn’t be back down, he’s in your face and has a killed or be killed mentality. Siver on the hand, or I like to call him “The German Tank” has an impressive, and dynamic striking game. Recently as well, he has shown an improved wrestling, adding it to his mixed martial arts arsenal. Siver’s last fight, was one of the more dominant decisions I’ve seen recently, as Nam Phan had no answer to anything Siver did. Nam Phan though, is not comparable to Cub Swanson at all. As for the result of the fight, I’m going to give the edge to Siver who’s striking is more technical, and dynamic. Swanson can sometimes be a wild man, going for the kill, but in doing so leaves himself open to being tagged. Expect a few spinning back kicks by Siver, and to edge out a fun fight, and early contender to be the fight of the night.