UFC 184: WEIDMAN VS. BELFORT Date: February 28, 2014 Location: Los Angeles, California Venue: Staples Center Broadcast: PPV UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman (-475) 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 and keep defending his middleweight title. He started that at UFC 173 with a successful title defence over Lyoto Machida, and now he attempts to do it again against Vitor Belfort at UFC 184. 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 after the performance against Mahida you can’t deny that Weidman has the whole package in the terms of being a model MMA champion. He’s a tough test for anyone, for sure. UFC Middleweight Vitor Belfort (+325) The legendary Vitor Belfort (24-10) first made waves in the MMA world when the sport was still in its infancy. Making his UFC debut at 18 years old and in only his second career fight, Belfort went on to win the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament before his first loss was delivered to him by Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 15. Twenty fights later, including stints with Pride, Cage Rage, Affliction and Strikeforce, the 35-year-old Brazilian has come full circle and calls the UFC home once again. Belfort’s return fight was a memorable first-round TKO of Rich Franklin at UFC 103, which led to him earning a title shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126. Despite suffering a first-round knockout to Silva by front kick and punches, afterwards he strung together some good wins with a first-round KO of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 and a rear-naked choke submission victory against Anthony Johnson in front of the Brazilian crowd at UFC 142. He bounced back from a tough fourth-round submission loss to light heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 152 by scoring a second-round TKO of Michael Bisping and then followed that up somehow with an even more impressive knockout of former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8 in Brazil. Belfort’s incredible 2013 then culminated with him being the first man to stop Dan Henderson with strikes, avenging his Pride 32 loss with a first round knockout of Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32. Now, Belfort will challenge for the middleweight title once again, this time against Chris Weidman, but he will do so without TRT, which he was forced to stop using. And without TRT, who knows if he will be the same guy who was fighter of the year in 2013. Opening UFC 184 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Weidman a big -475 favorite (bet $475 to win $100) while Belfort opened as a +325 underdog (bet $100 to win $325) at Several Bookmakers. This is a fantastic fight between two incredible fighters and should be one of the best matches of the year when it goes down next February. Weidman has proven with his wins over Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida how good he is, but Belfort is one of the most dangerous strikers in the history of MMA and presents a real challenge to the champ. Without TRT there’s no telling what kind of shape he will be in, but this is a guy who has made a career of knocking cats out and who knows, if he connects with Weidman he could win by knockout. But odds are Weidman is going to be too big and too strong for him, and that’s why he is the favorite heading into the fight.