Yes, even though Chael already has a headlining fight scheduled with Mauricio Rua at “Fight Night” in August — his last at light-heavyweight for the time being — he’s being called out by Belfort, specifically at a catchweight. It is…odd to say the least. Belfort(‘s wife) stated that he would only be accepting a title fight at middleweight next, yet he is preemptively calling out a guy (albeit at catchweight) who could potentially be on a three-fight losing streak?
In any case, Belfort’s wife/manager, Joana Prado, recently spoke on his behalf, telling Combate that the Kennedy matchup “didn’t make sense.” Which in today’sMMA landscape, means “give him a week to come around.”
It doesn’t make sense that Vitor, who is No. 1 in the rankings, should fight against No. 2, No. 6 or No. 10 in his weight class. His next fight in the middleweight class will be against the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva. If the UFC wishes him to fight in any class above middleweight, we are at their disposal. It can be anyone, Tim Kennedy, even Roy Nelson, but it has to be at 205 pounds or heavyweight – he’ll even fight as a heavyweight. Vitor wants to fight, but in his weight class, only if for the belt.
As oddly as that was worded, we kind of understand Belfort’s logic here.
We’re not saying that the UFC is reckless and stupid enough to endanger their hard-earned standing in the sports world as a legitimate sports promotion by booking Belfort in places where he can do things he couldn’t do elsewhere, but they are certainly fortunate that they have other marquee locale options other than Vegas to promote a star of his caliber. In any case, the fight will be a big opportunity for Kennedy to break into the top 5 or so of UFC middleweights.
Belfort is on a tear of late, with three straight knock out wins at middleweight, a submission win over Anthony Johnson at a fatcatchweight. The only guy who has beaten Belfort lately is Jon Jones – and Vitor almost broke that kid’s arm before losing.
What do you think, nation? Does Kennedy have what it takes to beat Belfort and move ahead in the middleweight division or will he get starched quickly like his former Strikeforce stablemate and foe, Luke Rockhold?
Surreal. That’s a pretty apt description of most Anderson Silva fights, for better or worse. Dodging Forrest Griffin’s strikes like he was in the Matrix, standing on the cage against Stephan Bonnar, front-kicking Vitor Belfort in the face? Surreal. Dancing around Thales Leites and shouting “where’s your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?” at Demian Maia? Surreal.
But those pale in comparison to what happened last night. What happened last night, when Silva lost for the first time in seventeen fights because he pushed the envelope too far, was the definition of surreal. For the sake of trying to comprehend what happened, let’s recapitulate for a moment. The first round saw Chris Weidman, the new middleweight kingpin of the UFC, take Silva down. Faced with the area in which he was most vulnerable, Silva deftly rolled with what ground and pound Weidman offered and defended any submission attempts before getting back to his feet. The rest of the round was spent taunting Weidman and stuffing any attempts at taking the fight to the ground. At the end of the round, Silva inexplicably hugged Weidman before returning to his corner.
When the second round began, Silva was in complete control, mocking Weidman’s attempts to hurt him. It was a performance unlike any other. But Silva strayed too far to the edge; caught with his chin up in the middle of a Weidman combination, he was felled by a left hook. His eyes rolled back; he was out before he hit the ground, where Weidman followed with a salvo of ground and pound that was merely a formality. Somehow, Silva had lost his title even more than Weidman had won it.
They’ve smushed chins. They’ve mushed lips. But tonight at UFC 162 in Las Vegas, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman will let their fists do the love-making, and the only bodily fluids being exchanged will be BLOOD. [Ed. note: Look, I'm doing my best here.] Whether the Brazilian G.O.A.T. makes his 11th middleweight title defense, or the “All-American” lives up to his Rocky-esque underdog hype, I think we’re in for a hell of a battle.
Handling our liveblog for the “Silva vs. Weidman” main card is Alex Giardini, who will be slingin’ live results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for the latest updates, and feel free to mouth off in the comments section.
Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?
JJ: Now,I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.
If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.
BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.
The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.
Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype?
Looks like someone got a call from their boss. Former Strikeforce fighter Tim Kennedy is set to make his UFC debut July 6th against Roger Gracie but made news yesterday for an interview he recently gave in which he criticized UFC fighter pay.
“It’s a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn’t pay very well,” he told GrappleTalk Podcast.
“Anybody who accepts [fighters being underpaid] as a reality of the sport is sad and pathetic,” Kennedy went on. “I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport. If it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trash cans. I’d make more money than I do now.”
It didn’t take the middleweight long to regret his words, however, and he issued an apology to UFC brass for the interview through his facebook fan page yesterday. “I recently made comments regarding fighter pay. The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports,” Kennedy began.
Although the matchup was hinted at a few weeks ago, both Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold vehemently denied that a bout between them was anywhere near a done deal. In fact, the final Strikeforce middleweight champ even went as far as to call out Costa Philippou for his promotional debut, a move that seems like a classic bait and switch in hindsight. In either case, it has been announced that Belfort and Rockhold will indeed be facing off next at a yet-to-be-named event in Brazil, go figure.