It is finally here. After nearly a year of waiting, former middleweight champion Anderson Silva is officially returning to the Octagon™ on Jan. 31 at UFC® 183 to face Nick Diaz.
Joining them as the co-main event are welterweight fighters Tyron Woodley and Kelvin Gastelum. An intense women’s bantamweight bout is also scheduled for the stocked night, featuring Sara McMann and Miesha Tate.
Middleweight: Silva vs. Diaz
To be honest, I am not sure if there is a way to predict this fight. I would be surprised if anyone could.
It is always hard to predict how a fighter will return after an injury such as the one Silva suffered.
His injury definitely could also have an affect on his fighting from a psychological standpoint.
It will be interesting to see if he is hesitant to make moves on Diaz, despite him formerly being a very proactive fighter.
Then, there is the simple matter of age. Silva is eight years Diaz’ senior. Diaz, a former Strikeforce welterweight champion, is a fast-paced fighter. He has always been able to stay energized throughout long, grueling fights.
While Silva has always worked in bursts, Diaz has drained a many fighter, able to wear them down with his consistency and endurance.
If the old Silva decides to show up, he will win ... but will he?
What do you think?
Welterweight: Woodley vs. Gastelum
The welterweight division has been in a strange spot lately. Between the controversial Lawler vs. Hendricks decision, and the impressive Rory Macdonald consistently being put on the backburner, the division is constantly evolving.
Although Woodley is ranked as third in the welterweight division and has some definite knockout power, he recently suffered a loss to Macdonald at UFC® 174.
Unless Woodley is able to knock his opponent out with his heavy hand, Gastelum could take this fight.
Gastelum, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17 in 2013, remains undefeated in his professional career.
He recently even took down Ellenberger at UFC® 180 by his now signature rear-naked choke.
Due to the unpredictability of the division, I actually believe this fight will surprise most fans.
Prediction: Gastelum, via Rear-naked Choke
Women’s Bantamweight: McMann vs. Tate
This one is somewhat of a toss-up. Although McMann has a nearly spotless record, her only blemish being against the powerhouse current champion Ronda Rousey, Tate has also shown enough fervor in fights in the past to be capable of a win.
Tate’s fighting style is a little all over the place, though. She has shown multiple sides. We have seen her as a pro-active submission fighter and as a slower, more hesitant fighter in the Octagon™.
The former Olympic silver medalist, McMann, has been more consistent in her fighting. Unless Tate is able to pull of one of her submissions, this fight will most likely come down to a decision.Prediction: McMann, via Decision
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