The UFC is back in Las Vegas on January 31st, and there is no place as fitting for the potential circus of a bout between former middlewight champion Anderson Silva and one of the most polarizing fighters in MMA history, Nick Diaz. The bout marks a pair of returns, as Silva returns 13 months after a gruesome leg break against Chris Weidman at UFC 168. Diaz has been absent even longer, his last appearance also being a loss in a title fight to Georges St-Pierre back in March 2013. Those absences are amongst the factors that make this one of the hardest fights to read in ages. Will Silva return to his former glory, or will the volume attack of Diaz have him showing his age? For Diaz, how will he navigate fighting at middleweight for the first time in his career? He’s previously had a pair of bouts at 180lb catchweights, but Scott Smith and the 2009 version of Frank Shamrock are miles away from Anderson Silva. Between Silva’s popularity, Diaz’ cult following, and the circumstances surrounding this fight, it is sure to be a big night for the UFC. The card has some impressive depth as well. A welterweight contenders bout between Tyron Woodley and Kelvin Gastelum is the co-main event, while entertaining lightweights Joe Lauzon and Al Iaquinta square off. The PPV kicks off with a welterweight striker’s delight between Thiago Alves and Jordan Mein. Even the “weak” bout on the PPV has top 15 middleweights Thales Leites and Tim Boetsch doing battle. The prelims are equally entertaining, with a possible flyweight title challenger being determined between Ian McCall and John Lineker. The same could be said of the women’s bantamweight bout between Sara McMann and Miesha Tate, given the dearth of challengers in that division. The lines for the top eight bouts at UFC 183 have been released previously at 5Dimes Sportsbook, and today MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas rounded out the entire card, adding the final four preliminary contests. Take a look below: ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) Anderson Silva -405 Nick Diaz +285 Kelvin Gastelum -150 Tyron Woodley +110 Al Iaquinta -135 Joe Lauzon -105 Thales Leites -270 Tim Boetsch +190 Jordan Mein -145 Thiago Alves +105 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET) Sara McMann -175 Miesha Tate +135 Derek Brunson -475 Ed Herman +325 Ian McCall -185 John Lineker +145 Rafael Natal -155 Tom Watson +115 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET) Diego Brandao -165 Jimy Hettes +125 Ildemar Alcantara -210 Richardson Moreira +160 Andy Enz -125 Thiago Santos -115 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Another Rafael Natal fight, and another close line. It’s hard for his fights not to be close given the fact that he normally fades in the third round of his bouts, but has solid skills early in contests. He’s almost a lesser version of Gleison Tibau in that sense. I see Tom Watson’s style exposing those cardio issues a bit earlier than normal though, given the high volume of strikes the Brit throws. Of course Watson’s problem is that he can’t wrestle, so he’s likely going to lose the first round from that alone. As Natal slows however, his wrestling become far less effective, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Watson pull out a late stoppage in this one. To me, it’s a pick em type of fight, so if Watson starts to creep up in price, he may be worth a small play, but I can’t recommend anything decently sized on him because of his own deficiencies. Speaking of fighters with cardio problems… Diego Brandao is fighting on this card guys. Luckily for Brandao, his cardio deficits really show up when his opponent starts putting strikes on him, and that’s not Jimy Hettes’ style. Brandao has a big advantage on the feet here, but I still believe that his best skills are in the grappling realm. He should be able to get takedowns on Hettes — even as he starts to tire — and avoid any submissions from the guard. It could be an issue if Hettes gets on top in round two or three, as Brandao could wilt, but as of right now I slightly lean to him to get back on track. He’s not the type of fighter I’m too interested in betting given the matchup however. Apparently Joe Silva is bad at geography, as he now thinks Las Vegas is somewhere in Brazil. I understand there will be plenty of Brazilians in attendance for Anderson Silva, but there’s no reason for this bout to take place anywhere but in Brazil. Since we’re on the topic of Brazil, Moreira has never fought outside the country, and he’s making his debut at middleweight in this bout after fighting at heavyweight in his UFC debut. Interestingly, Alcantara also dropped two weight classes following his UFC debut. And that’s about all that’s interesting in this one. Moreira is dangerous with leglocks, but still lacks in his striking. Alcantara is more well-rounded, but not particularly impressive in any one area. I’ll lean to Alcantara to keep range a bit and survive any grappling exchanges, but it’s hard to see myself placing money on this one in any way, shape, or form. I think there’s potential for Andy Enz to win this fight. I think he’s got a better gas tank than Santos, and neither of these fighters is particularly accurate on the feet. While Santos is definitely more dangerous standing, we’ve seen how judges can overvalue volume. Also, Enz has a significant edge on the ground if the fight should find its way there. I think Santos has been fortunate the way his UFC career has played out following his debut, getting the most out-of-shape Ronny Markes possible, and then having Uriah Hall break his toe early in their bout. It’s not a huge lean, but I could see Enz getting the job done here, and it could be another spot for a small dog play.