Can the undefeated Chris Weidman bring an end to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's run at the top?
Once again, TSN Radio 1290's Jordan Cieciwa and TSN.ca's James Lynch are going head-to-head with their picks for this weekend's UFC 162.
Anderson Silva (c) vs. Chris Weidman
James Lynch, TSN.ca (@lynchonsports): Middleweight kingpin Silva defends his title for the first time since July 2012, as he squares off with the Serra-Longo Fight Team member Weidman. As expected, the buildup for this fight has focused solely on the resume of the New York native, receiving endorsements from Chael Sonnen and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
“The All-American” has looked nothing short of spectacular during his five-fight UFC tenure defeating the likes of Demian Maia and most recently Mark Munoz, whom he knocked out with elbows at UFC on FUEL 4. Weidman is also an interesting style matchup for Silva, being a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, which could pose problems for the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt.
Two big questions surround Weidman heading into this fight. Has he been impressive thus far in his career? Or is it a matter of easier opponents, considering the fact he hasn't had to face the likes of Vitor Belfort or Michael Bisping in earning this title shot at UFC 162. The second question is how will a year long layoff, injuries and the devastation he faced last fall with Hurricane Sandy in his native New York, affect his mental state going into this fight. Add this all up and it doesn't bode well for the Ring of Combat veteran.
Weidman no doubt has the style to beat Silva, but I think 38-year-old's superior striking and slick submission skills will be too much for the 29-year-old.
Silva via second round TKO
Jordan Cieciwa, TSN Radio 1290 (@Fitcityjordan): I have been watching a lot of video on Weidman. I don't see it. He's not showing anything that will give Silva any trouble.
Now the question becomes, does he surprise us all with a trick? Is there something that in Weidman's short career he hasn't put on display? Truth is, he could be a lot more dangerous than I give him credit for. His pedigree is outstanding, and the people pumping his tires know a thing or two about fighting.
The only thing that has given Silva any trouble is solid wrestling. Weidman spends a lot of time in the wrestling world. His only chance is to dominate the ground game, take Silva down, and stay absolutely mistake free. Silva is a robot. He will not get rattled and he will capitalize on any mistake.
This possibly could be the worst match up to date for Chris Weidman, and I truly believe he is in over his head.
Silva via third round TKO
Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira
Lynch: The former UFC lightweight champion looks for his first win at featherweight as he matches up against the once promising 23-year-old Oliveira.
While the UFC doesn't come close to boxing in regards to booking mismatches, this is really Edgar's fight to lose. Since Oliveira made an impressive UFC debut, submitting Darren Elkins at UFC LIVE 2, his career has been very lackluster. Losses to Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone and most recently Cub Swanson have proven that the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt's biggest struggle seems to be a step up in competition.
While the Southpaw does have a decent height and reach advantage over the New Jersey native in this fight, I don't think he'll be able to match the speed, power and wrestling prowess that Edgar will inflict.
After losing three straight fights I believe the 31-year-old will be able to stop his younger adversary, sometime in the second round for the win.
Edgar via second round TKO
JC: Edgar is one of the best in the business, and now he's I the weight class where he will be as big as his opponent. Charles Oliveira has yet to really impress consistently. He has been in the cage with some of the best in the business, but he hasn't won any of those fights.
Oliveira has two great weapons in his arsenal. He has a quality black belt in jujitsu, and he fights left handed. That south paw stance won't be too much for Edgar, and that will be the problem.
Oliveira isn't known for striking, Edgar is. Frankie can also wrestle and that is the kryptonite for most BJJ Blackbelts. Edgar's losing streak should come to an end with some excellent ground and pound.
Edgar via second round TKO
Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie
Lynch: Two Strikeforce imports faceoff for the first time, as jiu-jitsu wizard Gracie goes to war with former U.S Military Sergeant Kennedy.
Like many who have transitioned from submission wrestling to MMA, Gracie has found success amassing an impressive 6-1 record, with his only blemish coming at 205 pounds to former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion King Mo back 2011. While he doesn't have the experience of his American opponent, he does possess a five-inch height and reach advantage over the Jackson Winklejohn product.
No doubt the 31-year-old will look to take this fight to the canvas and aim to submit the Texas native, but that's easier said than done. Kennedy has never lost via submission during his 21-fight career, even in losses to submission aces Jacare Souza and Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Despite the size advantage and Gracie's decorated ground game, I think Kennedy's wrestling and superior standup will be enough for him to earn a unanimous decision victory.
Kennedy via unanimous decision
JC: I'm a huge Tim Kennedy fan, and I don't know why. It's definitely not because he is out of the Jackson MMA camp, I don't like how they train their fighters. Strictly from the sports growth perspective.
I think it's the fact that he is Military through and through, he speaks his mind, and backs it up on a regular basis. The problem I see with Kennedy winning this fight in a knockout fashion or ending this at all is that Gracie has the ability to get this to the mat and start to dominate there. If not dominate, at least escape the danger of having a very aggressive Kennedy gunning for the KO.
The fact the Gracie has a five-inch height advantage will also play into this. It will be difficult to close the distance. Kennedy will be the aggressor and that will get him the win.
Kennedy via unanimous decision
Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch
Lynch: Two fighters coming off losses look to legitimize their relevance in the middleweight division, as Kings MMA wrestling coach Munoz matches up with “The Barbarian” Boetsch.
Aside from Swanson vs. Siver, this may be the most competitive matchup on the main card with both fighters being high-level, decorated wrestlers. After being brutalized by Weidman in his last fight and having a long layoff due to injury, no doubt Munoz has a disadvantage heading into this contest.
Boetsch meanwhile looked uninspired in loss to Costa Philippou and in his victory over Hector Lombard. This time around, I see Boetsch coming out strong, similar to the fighter we saw take out Yushin Okami back in 2012 in what many called the comeback fight of the year.
Boetsch via unanimous decision
JC: If you have been following Munoz as of late you will know he has been battling some demons. The elbow injury took him to a place he has never been mentally. Having had the pleasure of working with a few guys up at Team Reign I can tell you that Munoz has a team around him that has rallied to support their boss.
Weidman definitely picked him apart, as a fan of Munoz I chose to believe that's because of injury and mental state. Both these fighters have looked a lot better in their careers than their last fights would suggest. My hope for this fight is to see the old “Barbarian” take on the “Filipino Wrecking Machine” we used to know.
If these two show up at their best, we will see an excellent fight.
Munoz via split decision
Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver
Lynch: One thing you can bank on, it's doubtful this fight will go to a decision as both fighters have 28 finishes between the two of them.
A string of bad luck and injuries have kept Silver on the sidelines since December, and “The Menace” knows a win over Swanson, who is currently riding a four-fight win streak, will certainly propel him up the featherweight rankings.
The Jackson-Winklejohn product Swanson knows an impressive showing against the German fighter will inch him closer to a title shot with Jose Aldo. Physically these two fighters match up very similarly, however if Swanson can avoid the power of his adversary and take this fight to the mat, the 29-year-old should have his hand raised at the end of this fight.
Swanson via third round submission
JC: Swanson has been impressive and growing as a fighter in his last four appearances. Jackson-Winklejohn aren't always the best thing for fighters, in the case of Cub, they have been improving him as a well-rounded fighter.
With that said, I really believe that Dennis Siver has what it takes to stop Cub Swanson. Cub has a very unique striking style. I'm sure Dennis Sever will be ready for it, and pick him apart.
Siver via second round TKO
Lynch: Leben, Parke, Gonzaga, Barboza, Baczynski, Pierce
JC: : Leben, Parke, Herman, Barboza, Baczynski, Mitchell
Agree or Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comment section or hit us up on twitter with your own #UFC162 picks.