UFC 162: July 6, 2013 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (-215) Profile: The top pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet today is UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (33-4). “The Spider” holds UFC records for the most consecutive title defenses (10) and most consecutive wins (16) while earning multiple Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night awards during his career. The 37-year-old Brazilian can and will do anything in the cage, although he has been criticized in the past for not putting on enough of a show for the fans. That has changed in his past few bouts though, starting with his remarkable comeback win against top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen in their epic fight at UFC 117. He followed that up by destroying Vitor Belfort in the first round with a front kick knockout and then dominating Sonnen’s training partner Yushin Okami in Brazil at UFC 134 with a second-round TKO. Silva then welcomed Sonnen for a highly-anticipated rematch with a chip on his shoulder after his narrow escape in the first meeting, ending their fight at UFC 148 in the second round via TKO. He followed that impressive performance up by becoming the first fighter to stop Stephen Bonnar via strikes with a first-round knockout in his third light heavyweight bout at UFC 153. UFC Middleweight Contender Chris Weidman (+165) 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 TUF 17 contestant Uriah Hall on September 24, 2010. The 28-year-old New York native is viewed as one of the future stars of MMA and was originally scheduled to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 at the end of 2012. However, he suffered a shoulder injury during training that required surgery and was forced to withdraw. That may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Weidman ended up getting the fight he really wanted against Silva, who really has no other challengers for his belt at this time. Opening UFC 162 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made the champ Silva a solid -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100) while the challenger Weidman opened as a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. Some MMA bettors may be a bit surprised by the relatively small price on Silva, who has not been a favorite of less than -220 since he submitted Dan Henderson more than five years ago at UFC 82. Credit UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva with making this fight happen, as many fans wanted to see it while critics did not think Weidman was ready for this opportunity. Michael Bisping also helped them out by losing to Belfort back in January, costing himself a title shot. Weidman provides Silva with a unique challenge because he is an equally dangerous striker and wrestler who may lack experience but makes up for it by showing off glimpses of his limitless future. If anybody looks to be the future UFC middleweight champ, it’s Weidman. The question nobody knows at this point is whether or not Silva is beatable right now since he has shown virtually no signs of weakness for a fighter nearing the age of 40. Sonnen tested him in their first fight, but that near-loss only made him stronger. Weidman has so much potential, and he will need to be very careful and smart yet must also take some risks if he hopes to dethrone the champ. Current TUF viewers who witnessed Hall destroy Adam Cella earlier this season with a vicious spinning head kick – one that White himself called one of the nastiest knockouts ever – might not realize that Weidman crushed the show favorite for the ROC middleweight title. That happened before the UFC signed him and proves just how good he really is. It will be interesting to see if there is much trash talk leading up to this championship bout because Weidman is no Sonnen. Silva may not get the extra boost of adrenaline from truly disliking his opponent like he has in the past. Then again, he may not need it since he is already the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. All that awaits him is a possible superfight against either UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones or welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre later in the year. Maybe that talk will distract him, maybe not. What we do know is Silva will be facing the UFC’s top middleweight contender first.