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UFC 194 Expert Pick - Chris Weidman to win

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  • camnadi
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    • Dec 2015
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    UFC 194 Expert Pick - Chris Weidman to win

    Get on the Chris Weidman wagon now!

    By Cameron Nadi

    For more of my expert tips, follow me on Instagram @camnadi.

    On Saturday December 12 live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, long time featherweight champion Jose Aldo (25-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) meets recently crowned interim titleholder Conor McGregor (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) in the headliner. The fight before, however, is what interests me the most. That is, the Middleweight Championship bout between the Champion, Chris Weidman (13-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC), and the Challenger, Luke Rockhold (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC)

    Chris Weidman is going to beat Luke Rockhold on December 12 and retain his Middleweight Title. Here are 9 reasons to prove my argument:

    1. Chris’ preparation for this fight is impeccable. Chris has completed an intense training camp where he heavily sparred, amongst many others, Max Tassy, a big southpaw cruiserweight boxer who is quick and sharp, as well as karate and kicking superstar Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (11-1, 6 KOs). Thompson has helped Chris prepare for his last four UFC fights and credits him greatly for his own rising star. “I literally have to go through a training camp to get ready for Chris because he’s such a monster.” Thompson said in a recent interview.

    Chris fights at the 185-pound Middleweight limit. He walks around at 205-210 pounds and always sheds the additional weight by severely dehydrating before the weigh-in. This time round, however, he weighed 192 pounds at the end of his training camp and thus will avoid the brutal task of weight draining.

    That’s a far cry from the 32-pound weight cut he made in 2012 to face Demian Maia on 2 weeks notice. His coach pleaded that Chris take the penalty to avoid killing himself after he passed out twice in the sauna. Chris refused and went on to make weight, barely, and to win that fight via unanimous decision, which set up the Anderson Silva title shot.

    2. Chris is injury free. Chris always battled through injuries as a middleweight prospect and as even as champion. He fought with a fractured rib when he submitted Jesse Bongfeldt and earned Submission of the Night honours, and defended his title with a broken hand against Lyoto Machida, whom he dominated in the 2014 ‘Fight of the Year’. Chris goes into this fight 100% healthy. This is bad news for Luke.

    3. Chris has a much better chin, heavier hands (punching power) and can check kicks. Weidman is undefeated with 6 Knockouts and has not so much as been ‘rocked’ or ‘wobbled’ in a fight. The Great Anderson Silva fought him twice and no matter how hard he tried, failed miserably to make Weidman look bad. In their first fight, Chris dominated Silva in the first round and then knocked him out in the second, whilst Anderson was mocking his punching power. Chris got the last laugh. In their rematch, Weidman again dominated Silva, dropping him in the first round and giving him a brutal ground and mound. In the second round, Silva decided to use his striking skills to keep range, throwing devastating leg kicks before he snapped his left leg on a knee check that Weidman knew was coming. Again, Chris made him look bad, real bad.

    Luke has been knocked out twice. His chin is cracked and fighters are never the same after a knockout. Additionally, Luke has only 3 knockout victories with all of them being over nobodies. He is feather fisted and scored all of those knockouts via leg kicks. Leg kicks won’t do anything to Weidman, just ask Anderson Silva.

    4. Chris has a better team and support unit. Chris is from Long Island, New York, living and training in the same neighbourhood where he began his mixed martial arts career. His team and family keep him grounded and support him through and through. Ray Longo, his head trainer, knows how to prepare him well. Longo trained Matt Sera to knock out the previously invincible welterweight king George St Pierre (‘GSP’). He then trained Chris to do the same against Anderson Silva. With Longo at the helm coupled with Matt Sera and Renzo Gracie filling the wrestling and Jui-Jitsu coaching slots, respectively, Weidman is equipped with the best team a fighter could ask for.
    Rockhold, on the other hand, doesn’t have the best support unit, exemplified by his poor excuse of a boxing coach, Javier Carvajal. In this clip you vividly see Luke demonstrate his frustration, cursing at his coach when he must direct him to do his job (@8.00 min:

    5. Chris has a greater spiritual and mental game. He has a warrior mentality and is focused on taking out the other man the entire time he is inside the caged octagon. He has tremendous will power and determination to win at all costs. He is focused 100% during the fight.

    In contrast, Vitor Belfort knocked out Luke with a spinning heel kick in May 2013. To throw a spinning heel kick, the kicker takes his eyes off his opponent for a split second so that he can turn his body to swing the leg upwards. All elite fighters focused on their opponent can see this type of kick coming from a mile away and will move to avoid it. In fact, no champion in the history of the UFC has ever fallen victim to a spinning heel kick. Luke lacks focus and has a deeply flawed mental game.

    6. Chris has achieved greater success and has fought much better opponents. Chris has defeated the former pound for pound king Anderson Silva twice; dominated Lyoto Machida who was coming off impressive back to back wins; and most recently, Vitor Belfort, coming off three impressive knock out wins including one over Luke Rockhold. Chris has decimated more experienced fighters and UFC veterans such as Uriah Hall, Damian Maia, and Mark Munoz.

    Luke Rockhold’s greatest achievement is his most recent fight on April 18 of this year beating Lyoto Machida (view the full fight here: Machida tagged Luke with some excellent unanswered shots that rocked him. Rockhold had luck on his side that night, however, when according to UFC announcer Mike Goldberg, it really came down to a ‘push and a slip’ that caused Machida to fall on his back. Luke was able to use his greatest strength, his ground game, against Machida’s greatest weakness, purely due to luck. He won’t get so lucky against Weidman.

    7. Chris has greater motivation to win and retain his title. Chris is a family man with three children, with the youngest born four months ago. Having a family motivates him greatly to win. Further, Chris has set such high goals for himself and wants to retire as the greatest of all time. He has also shared his goal to move up in weight to fight the unconquerable Jon ‘Bones’ Jones in a “super fight” after he has run through everyone in the Middleweight division.
    Luke is motivated by his next pay cheque. In UFC 194 Embedded, you see Luke point to his calendar where he has written ‘Pay Day’ on the date of December 12. Surely, a fighter motivated to dethrone the Champion would write something more compelling along the lines of ‘a New Champion is born’ or ‘I will defeat Chris Weidman’ if they had a burning conviction to win.

    8. Chris is fighting at home – The MGM Grand Garden Arena. Chris has called Las Vegas his home away from home. It was here where he fought Anderson Silva for the Middleweight Championship and he defended his title three times in Las Vegas (twice at the MGM). He is accustomed to the arena, the crowd and to winning at the MGM.

    In contrast, Luke has never fought in Las Vegas let alone the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This is the Mecca for fighting and all the biggest UFC and Boxing matches are held in this arena. When Luke makes that long walk from the dressing room and steps into the cage, awaiting the champion, there is no doubt that his nerves may get the best of him. After all, when he last fought in uncharted territory, it was in Santa Catarina, Brazil, and he was knocked out in less than three minutes.

    9. Chris is a ‘special’ fighter, a ‘boss’ and Luke knows this. Chris is the undefeated and undisputed Middleweight champ. He trains the way a champion should train and is dedicated to constant improvement. He understands that mixed martial arts is always evolving and strives for perfection in every facet. He most recently received his black belt in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie in May of 2015 before knocking out Belfort. Further, he is a family man and a humble champion who never talks smack about his opponent, letting his actions do the talking. He is a bona fide boss.

    Luke is the happy go lucky type, a chilled Californian who loves to surf and lives a carefree life. Deep down, Luke knows that Chris is better than him, attested to in this interview with Ariel Helwani where he calls Chris ‘a friend’ and ‘a boss’ - @ 01.15

    Moreover, check out this clip of Luke discussing his favourite bong pipe in the opening scene, juxtaposed with Chris attending the baptism of his daughter. Instant classic!

    Luke is not a special fighter. He is a good fighter that was the beneficiary of enormous luck in his last fight that paved the way for this title shot that he will inevitably lose.

    Prediction: I believe Chris will dominate the fight from the opening bell. He is on a mission to prove to the world that he is the greatest of all time. He operates on a different level to Luke Rockhold and this will be made abundantly clear on December 12. I believe Chris will go down as the most underrated Middleweight Champion in the history of the UFC and retire undefeated.

    The Bet: Take Chris Weidman to win head to head (straight up). Although I believe Chris will knock out or submit Luke inside 3 rounds, the head to head is the smartest bet considering the ridiculous value on offer.