It’s the biggest UFC event of 2014 so far, this Saturday live from Las Vegas the UFC presents UFC 175 – Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida. The main event has middleweight champion Weidman defending his title against former UFC light-heavyweight champion Machida.
This will be Chris Weidman’s first title defense against an opponent not named Anderson Silva and he has a lot of prove in this tilt against Machida. When he won the title from Silva, Wiedman didn’t get the respect he deserved because people chalked the victory up to luck after Weidman caught Silva with a “lucky” punch while Silva was clowning his opponent. In their rematch, Silva suffered a gruesome leg injury. Sure, Wiedman has the title but it seems unsatisfying considering each of his past wins have built in excuses for Silva.
UFC Odds makers have Weidman as the -200 favorite meaning bettors will need to risk $200 for every $100 they want to risk on the champion. Bettors who back the Dragon will earn $160 for every $100 they risk on Machida.
UFC Middleweight Title Odds
Lyoto Machida +160
Chris Weidman -200
Despite the weirdness surrounding Weidman’s fights with Silva, there is no denying he’s an incredible talent worthy of respect as a champion. But he needs to earn a victory against Machida to help silence the critics still pining for the Anderson Silva era.
Weidman has been hyped as a potential champion since emerging on the UFC scene with his guillotine choke victory over Jesse Bongfeldt back at a UFC live event back in 2011. Since then, he’s crushed all opponents in his way including the wins over Silva and a devastating KO of Mark Munoz.
I’d argue he’s facing his toughest opponent to date in Machida. The Silva fights were weird, and he didn’t face the best Silva. Machida is a dangerous fighter, a former champion at a heavier division. His off angle striking could give Weidman fits.
Since losing his title to Shogun Rua, Machida has lost to Rampage Jackson in a controversial decision, lost a title fight to Jon Jones (but so have everyone) and another controversial decision to Phil Davis. But he’s also beat legends Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, and a vicious head kick KO of Mark Munoz and a fight of the night performance over Gegard Mousasi.
Machida is elusive and accurate striker. He’ll need to keep Weidman from putting him on the ground and use his angles to strike Weidman. It’s hard to say the 36-year-old Machida can pull off the upset but he has the tools to do it. If he doesn’t, it will give Weidman a title defense over a respected opponent and hopefully silence some of the remaining critics.