UFC 155: December 29, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Middleweight Contender Chris Weidman (-355) Profile: Chris Weidman (9-0) is 5-0 in the UFC and earned an impressive knockout victory over Mark Munoz in his last fight at UFC on FUEL TV 4. His other bouts in the UFC resulted in first-round submissions of Tom Lawlor at UFC 139 and Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 131 along with unanimous decision wins against Alessio Sakara in his debut at UFC on Versus 3 and Demian Maia at UFC on FOX 2. Before that, Weidman competed in the Ring of Combat, where he registered the first four wins of his pro MMA career. He won the ROC middleweight title in just his third fight there with a first-round TKO of Uriah Hall on September 24, 2010. The 28-year-old New York native is viewed as one of the future stars of MMA and arguably the top contender for champion Anderson Silva’s UFC middleweight title belt. UFC Middleweight Contender Tim Boetsch (+265) Profile: Tim Boetsch (16-4) is in his second stint in the UFC and has been much more successful than the first, posting a 5-1 mark, including 4-0 at middleweight. The 31-year-old made his UFC debut at UFC 81 back in 2008 and beat David Heath via first-round TKO but lost two of his next three fights. He then bounced around three different organizations for his next three bouts before returning to the UFC in 2010, when he defeated Todd Brown by unanimous decision at UFC 117 at light heavyweight. “The Barbarian” proceeded to lose to Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis via submission at UFC 123 before moving down to middleweight. He won his first two UFC fights at middleweight by unanimous decision against Kendall Grove at UFC 130 and Nick Ring at UFC 135 before knocking out Yushin Okami at UFC 144 and following that up with a controversial split-decision victory against Hector Lombard at UFC 149. Opening UFC 155 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Weidman a solid -355 favorite (bet $355 to win $100) against Boetsch, who opened as a +265 underdog (bet $100 to win $265) according to the MMA odds. Most MMA bettors realize Weidman is the best middleweight prospect the division has to offer as a top challenger for champion Anderson Silva, but UFC president Dana White seems content on letting him continue to prove himself against other elite contenders such as Boetsch to help build his legend. Not to take anything away from Boetsch – who may have gotten a title shot had he not suffered a broken foot in his last fight against Lombard – but Weidman is a star in the making and simply needs to grow his legend more and make White more money en route to earning that same opportunity. White is still hoping to make a superfight happen between Silva and welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, so the winner of this matchup could face the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann from UFC 152 to buy him some more time and determine the undisputed No. 1 middleweight title contender. Boetsch has shown he can be a warrior inside the Octagon during his rise toward the top of the division’s rankings. However, he will need to be much more aggressive against Weidman than he was vs. Lombard while also protecting himself against one of the most dangerous fighters in MMA. That will be a very tough task.