About an hour ago I was writing that Chris Weidman was too green for a title shot just yet.
Well, I'm putting my foot in my mouth after his Round 2 technical knockout over veteran Mark Munoz tonight. Weidman should be able to bring it against current middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
At 5-0 in the UFC and 9-0 overall, Weidman is still very young in his career. Despite his young career, he looks like a veteran. With the win tonight, and his unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia on just 11 days’ notice with over thirty pounds to cut, he's a clear cut contender in the division.
Munoz is no joke. Many had him getting a title shot if he beat Weidman tonight and fans were expecting a competitive fight. Instead, Weidman took down Munoz early in Round 1 and remained in dominant positions until the horn all the while attempting submission after submission.
Round 2 started off the same with Weidman nabbing the takedown. But Munoz, for better or for worse, was able to get back to his feet. Shortly after, Weidman landed a Jon Jones like elbow that spelled the beginning of the end for Munoz.
By the way, the referee let the fight go on way too long, and Munoz ate 8 or 9 unnecessary shots before the fight was called. Not the kind of image the UFC wants to put out there.
Anderson Silva—a living legend—will go down as the greatest of all time, but if there is one thing we know about the Brazilian it's that he's susceptible to wrestling as evidenced in his fights with Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter.
Weidman obviously has top notch wrestling in the middleweight division, but his training with Serra-Longo fight team has turned him into a very competent striker and an excellent grappler with some dangerous submissions.
His well-rounded game—which was on full display tonight—separates him from Anderson's former challengers. Sonnen is an excellent wrestler and fully controlled Silva in 6 of 7 rounds of fighting, but he simply doesn't have the submission game or punching power to get the finish. That's why Silva was able to beat him on two occasions. Against a guy like Weidman, Silva wouldn't be able to relax on the bottom and wait until the next round or he'd risk being submitted or pounded out.
Up until tonight, I was talking about guys like Hector Lombard, Mamed Khalidov, Weidman and Francis Carmont as being the tougher fights for Silva later on. I still believe this, the difference being that Weidman is a tough fight for Silva right now, not later.
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