UFC 187 Fight Breakdown: Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort

Chris Weidman The co-main event of UFC 187 is a five-round middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Vitor Belfort. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Weidman is a -525 favorite (bet $525 to win $100) while Belfort is a +415 underdog (bet $100 to win $415). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Weidman at -475 and Belfort at +325, and so far the public is all over the champion Weidman. I believe Weidman will defend his title this weekend and agree with him being the odds-on favorite to win the fight. Here’s why. Weidman (12-0) is the UFC middleweight champion. The 30-year-old American is 8-0 in the UFC with wins over Anderson Silva (twice), Lyoto Machida, Mark Munoz and Demian Maia, among others. Weidman is one of the most special talents to ever compete in the sport of MMA. He has only been competing in the sport for just over five years but has quickly emerged as a pound-for-pound great. Weidman is extremely well rounded and highly skilled in every aspect of MMA. On the feet he has excellent striking with big power, his wrestling is elite, and he has an incredible ground game. He has a great chin, his cardio is solid, and he has not taken much damage in his career thus far because he has such good defence. In short, he’s one of the best in the world, and one day might go down as an all-time great. The one thing slowing the champ down is injuries. Weidman has not fought since last July, mainly due to injuries, and those may add up one day. But right now he’s healthy and ready to go, and with a win over arch-rival Belfort this weekend, it sets up a number of intriguing title defences for Weidman in the UFC middleweight division. Belfort (24-10) is the former UFC light heavyweight champion. The 38-year-old Brazilian is one of the all-time greats in the sport and somehow keeps getting better with age. In his UFC career Belfort has an overall record of 13-6, including a 3-1 mark as a middleweight. He is currently riding a three-fight win streak with victories over Michael Bisping, Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold — all by knockout. That’s what Belfort does best. He looks to knock you out in devastating fashion, and he often does just that. He has 17 career knockouts and overall has finished 20 opponents. He is one of the most dangerous fighters in the first round in the history of MMA. He has massive power in his hands and feet, making him one of the most dangerous standup fighters out there. He also is very skilled with his submissions on the floor. The problem with Belfort has historically been his cardio. He always comes out guns-a-blazin’, but he can’t keep up the pace for a full fight. That means if he can’t get you out of there early, he’ll slow down and tire and eventually get finished himself, which isn’t a good recipe when fighting a young stud like Weidman. Still, with the recent improvements he’s made and with the amount of knockout power he has, Belfort is certainly capable of beating anyone in the division, so while he is a big underdog this weekend, he’s still someone you can’t count completely out because he can knock out anyone in the world. I expect Belfort to come out of the gates early on guns-a-blazing, and he might land something on Weidman, but we’ve seen the champion get hit hard before and we know he has a good chin. I expect him to be able to eat whatever shots Belfort does land in the first round, and from then on take over the fight. We know the book on Belfort. He’s extremely dangerous for about 1.5 rounds and then he gasses out badly and fades, while Weidman tends to get stronger as his fights go on. I expect Weidman to survive the early onslaught of Belfort, and as the fight goes on pour on the offence, and eventually take this fight to the ground and tap Belfort out or pound him out. So overall I do favor Weidman to win. My concern is with the betting line. While Weidman should win, -525 is really high. It’s not like Belfort is some chump. He’s a great fighter in his own right with a ton of power in all of his limbs. However, he’s extremely old and off of TRT now, and overall most of the edges go to the champ, which is why I will pick him. But Belfort absolutely has a striker’s chance, and there’s no way I’d lay that kind of juice on the Weidman moneyline because of the threat of a Belfort KO. The champ should come through, but there’s no betting value in the current line as far as I’m concerned, so this is a pass.

Written by Adam Martin.

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