If you thought 2013 was insane, wait until 2014. Whether you are a fan of the new UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman (11-0) or not, you are undoubtedly curious to see a collision of the undefeated champ with long running knockout artist Vitor Belfort. The question is not if the two will fight, but when. We may not have a confirmed date yet, but we do know that the UFC is targeting their Las Vegas backyard for the headline title fight (problem Vitor?). Lets take a look at the numbers, facts and break it all down with the help of FightMetrics.
Chris Weidman, no doubt has the advantage in grappling, but it isn’t by a mile, as you’d imagine. The “All-American” is a Division I collegiate wrestler, holding a 65% success rate of his 22 takedown attempts in the UFC. “The Phenom” on the other hand, isn’t known for his takedown attempts, only shooting eight times in his long running career. But from those eight he has been successful 75% of the time.
advantage: Chris Wiedman
These men are both brawlers by nature, but when it hits the ground, they are no slouch in the submission game. Belfort, coming from the land of submission specialist (Brazil); it comes as no surprise that he holds a BJJ black belt. He was last seen submitting his now Blackzillian training partner Anthony Johnson at UFC 142, via rear-naked choke. He also notably, almost pulled off an armbar upset over dominant UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones at UFC 152.
Weidman may only have a Brown Belt under former UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra, but he’s already pulled off the technical and rarely seen d’arce choke submission in the octagon over Tom Lawlor at UFC 139. I wouldn’t expect a submission finish from either unless there is success in the stand-up first, leaving one susceptible to a submission.
Now it’s getting interesting. This is both mens area of expertise. Belfort holds the edge in experience of striking with over 17 knockouts out of his 34 fights. Weidman impressively holds 5 out of his 11 victories by knockout. Standing, Weidman holds a 42% successful landing rate out of his 418 strikes in the UFC. Belfort holds an even higher percentage landing with 49% success out of his 415 strikes in the UFC. Most intriguing to me is that Weidman not only rocked the greatest striker of all time (Anderson Silva) once, but twice.
Slight edge: Vitor Belfort
If the fight is in Las Vegas as UFC president Dana White has predicted, Vitor Belfort may have an issue with the commission. We’ve heard Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Executive Director Keith Kizer adamantly say that he would not allow Vitor Belfort a TRT exemption. Much controversy has come from Belfort’s public TRT use, as he’s looked to have improved dramatically in his career, as other fighters from his generation begin to descend. Kizer’s argument of denial stems from Belfort’s past trouble with the NSAC. He had been suspended for steroid use after his loss to Dan Henderson in 2006. Despite all this, you should keep in mind that Belfort holds 17 years experience in the cage when compared to Weidman’s short four years in the sport.
This is stacking up to be an exciting stand-up war for the ages. Of course we thought the same of Silva vs. Belfort. It’s a fight and anything can happen — especially in striking showdowns. If I were a betting man (which I may become), I’d still have to give the wrestler the advantage. Statistics clearly show that wrestling is the dominating factor in overall MMA victories. Just ask Ben Askren. Belfort could always pull off an early first round knockout, but the probability of victory will drop with every round for the more muscular “Phenom.”
Winner: Chris Weidman defeats Vitor Belfort via fourth round TKO.
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