3 keys to victory for Chris Weidman

Will Chris Wiedman be able to utilize these skills to get his first win since 2020?
UFC 292: Sterling v O'Malley
UFC 292: Sterling v O'Malley / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

At first glance, fans might think Chris Weidman could be in trouble against Bruno Silva, a fighter who has finished 20 of his 23 wins via knockout. However, aspects of Weidman's game should make this UFC Atlantic City bout more competitive than people think

Weidman, who is currently the underdog, is being counted by fans out primarily because of his age and recency bias. He's coming off two losses, one being the leg injury against Uriah Hall in 2021 and most recently a decision loss to Brad Tavares at UFC 292. Tavares took the decision, but Weidman can still go a strong three rounds and had his moments.

Silva is coming off two losses as well. After finishing Tavares, Silva fought top-level fighters Brendan Allen and Sharabutdin Magomedov. He was finished via submission against Allen and lost a close decision to Magomedov. In both fights, there are obvious paths to victory for his opponent, and the biggest hole in his game is his submission defense. In 10 career losses, Silva has lost seven via submission.

Here are three things Weidman need to do versus Silva if he hopes to get his first win since 2020

1. Distance management

Physically, Weidman will have a solid four-inch reach advantage and should have an overall size advantage, too. Statistically, his 50 percent striking defense against top competition versus Silva's 43 percent against middle-of-the-pack fighters should be a huge plus for Weidman.

Weidman has always shown solid skills on the feet, but the decision-making has gotten the best of him. The Luke Rockhold fight at UFC 194 comes to mind. He was doing well but making one wrong move cost him the UFC title.

Against Souza, Weidman showed how well he can cut angles, counter punches, and use his arm and leg reach to maintain a safe distance. Silva will lunge forward as a brawler, but Weidman should be able to avoid those moments if he maintains distance and picks his shots well.

2. Survive the first round

Jordan Wright, Andrew Sanchez, and Wellington Turman are universally known for their questionable chins. Silva finished Tavares with a knee, and that's also how Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi got the best of Weidman.

Staying disciplined and using his footwork should help Weidman turn up the pace later in the fight. Gerald Meerschaert finished Silva in the third round via submission. Meerschaert has been known to get caught, but his toughness is always at play and his late submission game keeps him in every fight.

Weidman could use a similar game plan to take advantage of Silva's energy as the fight hits the second and third rounds. He is a much better wrestler and grappler, and his submission game should help him secure a finish if the chance arises.

3. Use the wrestling and grappling

Weidman is an elite wrestler. Silva's biggest hole is on the ground. He's never been finished on the feet, has two losses via decision, but a whopping seven via submission. Weidman has always been a solid all-around fighter, with six finishes via knockout and four via submission. This would be the perfect fight to avoid deadly striking exchanges and force Silva into deep waters. If Weidman can get this done early in the fight, he'll be in a solid place to dominate the entire fight.

if Silva decides to give up his back at any point or go for a desperate takedown, there's a good chance Weidman will take that opportunity to lock up a quick submission. There is a massive gap in skill and experience here, which is probably the best way for Weidman to finish the fight.

On top of everything, Weidman is undefeated in Atlantic City.


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