UFC 173: WEIDMAN VS. MACHIDA Date: May 24, 2014 Location: Las Vegas, NV Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: PPV UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman (-150) Profile: The undisputed, defending middleweight champion of the world, Chris Weidman (11-0) is an absolute beast. After two freakishly odd, yet dominating wins over Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman is ready to leave the entire storyline of Silva killer behind to move on and justify further his holding of the middleweight title. Weidman is an incredibly talented grappler as he’s an NCAA All-American and pupil of Renzo Gracie’s BJJ academy. Weidman has fantastic submissions, crisp hands, and great size and ability. He’s also a smart fighter, and he has shown his relentless pursuit of finishing his opponent with powerful wins over Mark Munoz, Alessio Sakara, and of course Silva two times. Many have doubted his wins as flukes, considering Silva’s clowning and leg injury in their last two bouts, but you can’t deny that Weidman has the whole package in the terms of a prototypical MMA champion. He’s a tough test for anyone. UFC Middleweight Lyoto Machida (+110) Profile: Lyoto Machida (21-4) is now 35-years-old and three years removed from his short-lived light heavyweight title reign. Since losing to Mauricio Rua in 2010, Machida has gone 4-3 inside the Octagon, losing to Rampage Jackson in a controversial decision, getting put to sleep by Jon Jones and, most recently, losing to Phil Davis in another controversial unanimous decision in Brazil. He’s also looked spectacular in defeating Ryan Bader, and not so spectacular in defeating Dan Henderson, so he’s officially moved down to middleweight, a place where he has perhaps belonged for years. Machida was initially set to fight Tim Kennedy in his inaugural middleweight bout, but after Mike Bisping dropped out of his fight with Mark Munoz, Machida filled in against his training partner, and quickly knocked him out in the first round with a beautiful head kick. He then followed it up with a decision win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36. With Vitor Belfort pulling out of the fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 173, Machida is now the No. 1 contender and will look to become the third fighter in UFC history to win belts in two different weight classes. Opening UFC 173 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Weidman a -150 favorite (bet $150 to win $100) while Machida opened as a +110 underdog (bet $100 to win $110) at Several Bookmakers. This is an excellent middleweight title fight between two incredible mixed martial artists and it became official after Vitor Belfort pulled out of the fight following the ban on TRT. Weidman has shown in the fights with Silva that he is extremely well rounded with great wrestling, knockout power and solid submissions, while Machida has proven time and time again his striking and wrestling are elite. Therefore, this fight is extremely intriguing and a tough one to call. Weidman does deserve to be the favorite based on the fact he’s undefeated and is coming off two-straight wins over Silva, while Machida can’t be too far of a dog due to his hard-to-figure-out fighting style. So this opening line seems just about perfect, and now we’ll see where the betting public takes it.