UFC 168 Preview

Will Weidman vs Silva 2 live up to the hype? Read on young grasshopper...
Will Weidman vs Silva 2 live up to the hype? Read on young grasshopper…

By Frank LaCosta

Chris “The All-American” Weidman (10-0-0) vs. Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-5-0)
This rematch for the middleweight title has payback written all over it for Anderson Silva. Hell he might even come out to the James Brown song to build up the hype. For the first time since 2006 somebody other than Silva possesses the belt when Weidman dethroned him. A little showboating by Silva left him exposed to a left hook. We’ll see if Silva is able to humble himself and refocus to regain the title from Weidman. Silva has some clear advantages: better striker, heavier hands and much better submission defense. Oh and infinitely more experience. Weidman isn’t completely inept. He’ll bring a stronger takedown offense and is known for his submission offense. Do not expect Silva to come into this fight with his usual taunts. He’ll be strictly business. They’ll stand and bang and won’t spend much time on the ground. My prediction: Silva will throw punches and connect. He’s faster. He’ll win by knockout in the second. Anderson won’t pull a GSP and ride off into the sunset just yet. He’ll dominate the middleweight class for a few more years before becoming a Hall of Famer.

Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey (7-0-0) vs. Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (13-4-0)
It looks like Dana White’s goal of expanding the female fighting side of the UFC is going to take off. He’s pushed this for awhile and it’s catching on. Rousey has become the face of this component. Plus she’s been featured in Maxim. She’s got confidence on her side coming into this one. “Fight of the Night” probably not. These two combatants are evenly matched when it comes to striking, reach and taking one on the button. Rousey though has the better takedown game and submission skills. Tate’s strengths are defending these. They’ll throw a few jabs but don’t expect a knockout here. Neither possesses the firepower to do so. My prediction: It’ll end up on the mat where Rousey will win via submission in the third round thus increasing her popularity and waiting for her next opponent.

Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett (33-6-0) vs. Travis “Hapa” Browne (15-1-1)
Battle of the big boys here. Both will come in weighing close to 250 pounds. Browne is the younger, taller fighter with a bit more reach. He also packs a little more punch. This will be his only hope. Barnett has the better all-around ground game from submission offense to takedown offense. With age comes experience and Barnett will not want to stand and exchange punches. A shot to the chin from either fighter could be the end of the match. Look for Barnett to get this one to the ground and to his advantage. My prediction: First round will be a feeling out process with a few punches, but in the second round Barnett takes Browne down and wins via submission. A bout with Cain Velazquez could be in order after this one which would generate some interest with their contrasting styles.

Disagree with me? Let me know via twitter @BlitzWeekly and we’ll see who has better picks the night of the fights.