UFC 194 Play: Chris Weidman (-140) vs Luke Rockhold (+120)

Chris WeidmanUFC 194 Date: December 12, 2015 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Middleweight title bout: Chris Weidman (-150) vs Luke Rockhold (+130) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC 194 will be a highly anticipated middleweight title-fight between defending UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and the challenger Luke Rockhold, with Weidman being a -150 ($150 to win $100) betting favorite and Rockhold being the underdog at +130 ($100 to win $130) at Several Bookmakerss. Chris Weidman (13-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) is coming off a first round TKO win over Vitor Belfort and will look to make his fourth successful UFC middleweight title defense heading into this five round co-main event contest against former Stikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. The 31-year old is a very talented wrestler who was a two-time Division I All-American at Hofstra University, defeating the likes of light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. He works great takedowns and does an excellent job of using his strikes to set-up said takedowns. Weidman is quite dominant on the mat and very effective from top position. He makes excellent transitions, advancing from position to position. He has a powerful ground and pound attack, from where he likes to use his heavy fists and vicious elbows. To compliment his wrestling, the Serra-Longo product also has an incredible Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, and is arguably one of the best submission artists in the UFC’s middleweight division. Weidman is, in general, a tremendous grappler, both offensively and defensively. He has a great sprawl and fantastic takedown defense, being capable of keeping his fights on the feet whenever preferring to do so. The Long-Island native is very aggressive inside the cage and likes to be the aggressor pushing the pace. He is an orthodox striker who has developed a solid boxing game and uses his hooks really well, especially his left, which he used to knockout Anderson Silva in their first fight when he won the title. Weidman has great footwork, a strong chin and packs serious power in his hands. He has a heavy right hand and likes to throw the over-hand right. He has a nice jab and is very good at working counters. The Ring of Combat veteran has a great uppercut and likes to implement his elbows on the feet, which he used to knock out Munoz in their outing. Weidman puts together some solid and effective combinations on the feet, and he has been developing his kicking game, doing a good job of working inside leg kicks and throwing high kicks. He generally has good cardio, but for this bout, I expect him to be in the best cardiovascular shape he’s ever been in, as he has been focusing on his health and conditioning. I except the Champ to be ready for a full five rounds of action next Saturday night, if necessary. Luke Rockhold (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) made his Octagon debut over two and a half years ago against Vitor Belfort and lost via head-kick knockout inside of the very first round of action. The loss snapped the former Strikeforce middleweight champion’s nine fight winning streak and immediately took him right out of title talks. He made his return to the Octagon nearly a year later againt Costa Philippou, defeating him via first round TKO. In his next outing, Rockhold took on veteran Tim Boetsch and continued his dominance with a very impressive, improvised inverted-triangle-kimura submission victory. He saw a step up in competition for his next bout, where he took on TUF 3 winner Michael “The Count” Bisping and defeated him via guillotine choke submission in the second round of action. The Strikeforce veteran’s next and most recent outing came at UFC on FOX 15 earlier this year, where he squared off against former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and defeated him via second round rear naked choke submission in a very dominant performance that earned him a title shot. The 31-year old is a very talented grappler, both offensively and defensively. He has solid wrestling and a great submission game. Rockhold is good at scoring takedowns, as well as defending them. He has a solid base heavy hips, thanks to his background in Judo, and needless to say, he is very hard to take down. To compliment his grappling, the California native is also tremendously talented on the feet. He is a very well-rounded fighter who excells in many areas of mixed martial arts. Rockhold generally dictates where his fights take place, and has Octagon control. His striking skills are excellent, especially the variety of kicks he dishes out. He has a nice flying knee, and works some beautiful spinning kicks. He throws some head kicks, but more-so likes to attack his opponents’ body with kicks and knees. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion works well against the cage, and he also likes to stand and trade with his opponents. He is always scoring points while looking for the finish. Rockhold is a fighter who competes with a lot of passion and heart, and he always carries it to the cage with him. Training out of the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, CA, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion is a very well-conditioned athlete who will be ready for 25-minutes of action, should this co-main event title fight hit the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Thoughts: I believe Rockhold is Weidman’s toughest test to date, but I think Weidman is the slightly better fighter of the two and don’t see any reason why I would go against him. I could see Weidman putting Rockhold away, but more often than not, I think this fight plays out for all five rounds en route to a judges’ decision, where Weidman gets his hand raised in his fourth successful title defense. Personally, the question I am asking is if Weidman will win by a slim margin or if it will be a little one-sided. Gabe’s Call: Weidman by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Weidman (-140) 4.9u to win 3.5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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