In fact, Weidman is opening with the best betting line against Silva in years.
As relayed by betting aggregate website BestFightOdds, Silva has been pegged as a -215 favorite by 5Dimes, while Weidman is rated as a strong +165 underdog.
When you look at Silva's history on the betting books, that's actually kind of remarkable.
To break it down further, here's the list of opening odds (via BestFightOdds) given to Silva's opponents over the last seven years or so:
• UFC 162: Anderson Silva -215 / Chris Weidman +165
• UFC 153: Anderson Silva -1350 / Stephan Bonnar +850
• UFC 148: Anderson Silva -235 / Chael Sonnen +175
• UFC 134: Anderson Silva -425 / Yushin Okami +325
• UFC 126: Anderson Silva -325 / Vitor Belfort +250
• UFC 117: Anderson Silva -450 / Chael Sonnen +300
• UFC 112: Anderson Silva -425 / Demian Maia +325
• UFC 101: Anderson Silva -240 / Forrest Griffin +190
• UFC 97: Anderson Silva -275 / Thales Leites +215
• UFC 90: Anderson Silva -370 / Patrick Cote +300
• UFC Fight Night 14: Anderson Silva -600 / James Irvin +400
• UFC 82: Anderson Silva -140 / Dan Henderson +100
• UFC 77: Anderson Silva -300 / Rich Franklin +220
• UFC 73: Anderson Silva -190 / Nate Marquardt +155
[Note: BestFightOdds does not have fighter data or odds for UFC 67, UFC 64 or UFC Fight Night 5.]
Historically, this means that Weidman has opened with the best odds against Silva since the champion's UFC & Pride FC middleweight title unification bout against former Pride champion, Dan Henderson.
Incidentally, Weidman's +165 underdog status gives him better odds against Silva than even welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
Naturally, the betting line will shift in the lead up to the fight, especially in the last couple of weeks.
Although Silva is widely recognized as the No. 1 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the sport, his major weakness is known to be strong wrestling, a trait exploited by takedown specialists like Henderson and Chael Sonnen.
Weidman's strong odds likely come from both his undefeated 9-0 career fighting record, in addition to his credentials as a multi-time NCAA All-American wrestler.
Not only did Weidman earn two All-American honors in junior college, but he also repeated the feat in Hofstra University at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Additionally, the relatively close opening odds could also be a matter of a strong young talent against an aging champion—Weidman is in his athletic prime at 28 years old, while Silva will turn 38 on April 14 this year.
But the talented Silva has proven capable of dealing with all kinds of fighting styles, including elite wrestling, which has led to his current 16-0 record in the UFC and 10 consecutive title defenses. To put it mildly, Weidman has a tough task ahead of him, even if the early odds aren't against him yet.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and tech writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, PC World, 1UP, NVision, The Los Angeles Times, FightFans Radio, MMA Mania and Bleacher Report. Talk with him on Twitter.
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