UFC Futures: Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold Date: June TBD Location: N/A Venue: N/A Broadcast: PPV UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold The undisputed, defending middleweight champion of the world Luke Rockhold (14-2) came into the UFC as the final Strikeforce middleweight champion. He was a force in the San Jose-based promotion, winning nine of his 10 fights there, including defeating Jacare Souza for the middleweight title, and defending it against Tim Kennedy and Keith Jardine. Rockhold has sharp hands and a deep gas tank, which has allowed the 31-year-old surfer to overwhelm his opponents until they give up the rear-naked choke, a submission he’s won with five times in his career. When Strikeforce folded back in January of 2013, Rockhold anxiously awaited his opportunity to compete in the UFC, but his welcoming party was a spinning heel kick to the face courtesy of Vitor Belfort. Using that loss as motivation, Rockhold took out his frustrations against Tim Boetsch and Costas Philippou in his next two fights, finishing both men in the first round. With a two-fight win streak in his back pocket, Rockhold called out top contender Michael Bisping, and he submitted him with a guillotine choke and then followed that up by defeating Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15. He gets a chance to fight for the UFC middleweight crown against Chris Weidman and took full advantage, brutalizing the champ in both the third and fourth rounds to pick up a TKO victory via ground and pound to become the new UFC titleholder. UFC Middleweight Contender Chris Weidman After two freakishly odd, yet dominating wins over Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman (13-1) left the storyline of “Silva killer” behind by defending his middleweight title against former champions Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort in impressive fashion. 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 defeating Machida and Belfort, he looked to be a potential P4P great. That all changed after a failed spinning kick at UFC 194, which allowed opponent Luke Rockhold to get top position and batter him en route to taking his title. Opening UFC Futures Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Rockhold a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Weidman opened as a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is going to be an incredible rematch between the UFC middleweight champion, Rockhold, and the No. 1 contender and former champion, Weidman. Weidman is 9-1 in the UFC while Rockhold is 5-1. Both fighters are extremely well rounded, with great wrestling, striking, submissions, cardio, and the ability to mix in all elements of MMA together to win fights. Rockhold is the champion, so he deserves the respect to be favored heading into this rematch, especially after his performance this past December to gain the crown, but Weidman is an incredible fighter and with his skillset, he very well could gain his title back. We’ll find out this June.