The greatest fighter in MMA history, Anderson Silva, will step inside the Octagon for the first time since a horrific leg injury when he takes on Nate Diaz at UFC 183.
The event is set for Jan. 31 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Here are my UFC 183 predictions:
Anderson Silva vs. Nate Diaz
Undefeated Chris Weidman became the first man to defeat Silva (33-6-0, 20 KOs) inside the Octagon at UFC 162, and a leg injury brought their rematch to an early end. Without a doubt, Silva will be highly motivated to prove to his fans that he still has a little bit left in his tank.
It’s a high reward fight for Silva as well. If he wins, he’s guaranteed a shot at the winner of the Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort middleweight title bout.
While ring rust might be an issue for Silva given the long period of inactivity and the lengthy rehab he had to undergo for his leg, the same can be said about his opponent, Nick Diaz (26-9-0, 13 KOs). Diaz hasn’t suited up since his March 2013 UFC 158 loss to Georges St. Pierre.
Of course, Nick is a dangerous striker that is capable of putting anyone away, but his style seems tailor-made for “The Spider.” If his rehabbed leg doesn’t hamper Silva, this should be a rather easy fight for him.
Both men are somewhat even grappling wise, even though Diaz is a bit trickier with his submissions while Silva is the better wrestler. It’s hard to see this fight hitting the canvas though.
Diaz’ aggressive boxing style should leave the Stockton native open to Silva’s counter strikes, and there’s also a solid chance he has a hard time checking Silva’s low kicks, if the Brazilian is actually still willing to throw them.
Diaz also has rather slow reflexes compared to most MMA fighters, meaning he’ll have a hard time reacting properly to Silva’s many unorthodox strikes, significantly increasing the odds of the Stockton native running into something nasty.
Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Only a handful of The Ultimate Fighter alumni have been as impressive as Gastelum (10-0-0, 4 submissions). The 23-year-old remains undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist, and he’s added a few recognizable names like Rick Story and Jake Ellenberger to his list of victims.
He’s never quite faced anyone like Woodley (14-3-0, 5 KOs) though.
Woodley has established himself as a serious contender for the welterweight title with brutal knockout victories against the like of Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck, and Dong Hyun Kim.
We’re talking about the same guy who couldn’t crack an egg during his Strikeforce days, viciously finishing some of the best guys in the division, and a former interim champion.
A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Woodley has the tools needed to neutralize Gastelum’s grappling, which has been a big part of Kelvin’s success in the UFC, and he should dominate the striking exchanges.
Gastelum’s “0” is in serious jeopardy.
Prediction: Tyron Woodley wins via TKO.
Remaining UFC 183 predictions:
Al Iaquinta defeats Joe Lauzon
Thales Leites defeats Tim Boetsch
Jordan Mein defeats Thiago Alves
Miesha Tate defeats Sara McMann
Derek Brunson defeats Ed Herman
Ian McCall defeats John Lineker
Tom Watson defeats Rafael Natal
Jimy Hettes defeats Diego Brandão
Ildemar Alcântara defeats Richardson Moreira
Andy Enz defeats Thiago Santos
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC 183 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Finished 2014 up +20.27 units.