UFC 168 is one of the biggest fight cards in UFC history. Not only will the rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva main event this card, but bitter rivals and TUF 18 coaches, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey will square off for the women’s bantamweight strap. The fights are almost 4 weeks away still, but the odds for the main and co-main event have been out for a little while and we thought, what better time than this to get our early picks out? The actual date of the fights is Saturday, December 28 and the broadcast will be available only on pay-per-view.
In the main event, Silva currently sits at 1.76 to 1 while the champ Weidman sits at 2.20 to 1. Weidman vs Silva I was one of the most hotly debated fights of 2013. It seemed the betting public was mostly on Silva’s side, while most of the UFC’s roster (at least those that were interviewed), felt Weidman possessed exactly what it would take to defeat Silva. As we all know (especially if you have been bombarded with that annoying promo that has been constantly playing during the last couple UFC broadcasts), Weidman defeated Silva to win the title back at UFC 162. There’s no denying that Silva has a speed advantage. The man likely has a speed advantage over 99% of the human population! One interesting thing from the first fight, and a major reason we are sticking with Weidman again is the fact that even though Silva had the speed advantage, he wasn’t really able to utilize it to land significant strikes. He landed several hard leg kicks which were mostly checked by Weidman. Weidman showed early on though, that he wasn’t intimidated to be fighting one of the best mixed martial artists of all time as he immediately landed a takedown and spent significant minutes on his feet with Silva.
Weidman is one of few middleweights who have a longer reach than Silva. Both Silva and Weidman stand 6’2″ tall, but Weidman has the greater reach at 78″ compared to Silva’s 77.5″. A big advantage for Weidman though is his age and lack of fight damage absorbed. Silva is now 39 years old with 28 career fights while Weidman is 29 with just 10 career fights (and no defeats). Both fighters land approximately the same number of strikes (3.15 per minute), but Silva lands 67% of his strikes attempted while Weidman lands 42%. In addition, Weidman absorbs far more strikes at 1.98 per minute compared to Silva’s 1.43. Weidman has a distinct advantage in the grappling game, landing 4.21 takedowns per 15 minutes compared to Silva’s 0.71 (why take anyone down when you’re the world’s best striker though, right?). Weidman has also defended every takedown attempted against him while Silva has defended 70%.
The way we see the fight playing out is Weidman will be smart and stick to a great game plan designed by the Serra-Longo camp which involves taking down and pounding Silva into the ground. Should he be unable to take Silva down, he will do his best to avoid damage from Silva, taking advantage of the opportunities a frustrated Silva will afford him. Our model has Weidman tasting victory almost 65% of the time. Based on this, we placed a 3 unit bet on Weidman at 2.20 to 1. The one caveat we should note is if Anderson comes back more focused than ever and executes a perfect game plan. IF this happens (and we feel its a big If), Silva could dominate and quickly dispose of Weidman.
In the co-main event, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey will fight fellow coach on TUF 18 Miesha Tate. The odds on this fight are border line laughable with Rousey sitting at 1.14 to 1 and Tate sitting at 8.02 to 1. Rousey is unquestionably the better fighter of the two and very likely will pull off a quick victory, but 1.14 to 1?!? That’s ludacris. In order to break even, a bet on Tate would only have to win 13% of the time. While we feel those odds are crazy, there’s little value in placing the bet on Tate unless you think she will win 30-40% of the time which we don’t. In the first fight between the two it took Rousey almost a full round to finally lock up the arm bar and get the finish. Both fighters likely enter this fight even more prepared than the first, but there is not a lot of reason to believe Tate can overcome the long odds. In another crazy odds twist, the over 1.5 rounds on this fight sits at 2.85 to 1. While we won’t lay down a very high percentage of our bank roll on that, we will bet 1.5 units on the over 1.5 rounds at 2.85 to 1.
Weidman over Silva. 3 units at 2.2 to 1
Over 1.5 rounds Rousey vs Tate. 1.5 units at 2.85 to 1
Here are the best odds for UFC 168: