It's no secret that I am a fan of Chris Weidman. I'm confident that he will beat Anderson Silva in the rematch, and I believe he has one of the best skill sets in MMA. That being said, what really get's me excited about Chris is what we haven't seen from him. He seems to have endless potential, which is what I'd like to highlight. In this post, I would like to discuss a few tactics that I believe would vastly improve his chances of winning the fight with Anderson Silva.
Establishing leg kicks early.
What is Anderson Silva's most valuable physical asset? His speed and mobility. You don't have to know much about Anderson to know that the man is fast. His fists are like lighting bolts and he darts around the octagon with unparalleled agility and grace. It only makes sense to hinder that advantage as much as possible. By chopping Anderson down with leg kicks, Chris will be making it harder for Silva to avoid strikes and stuff take downs. He'll also be laying the framework for success, as Anderson's legs get heavier with each round.
Pushing Silva into the cage.
This tactic may actually be fairly easy to implement, as Silva will often willingly put his back to the cage in an attempt to stop the take down. However, this technique also proved detrimental to Silva in the first fight with Weidman, as Chris was able to pin Silva along the fence and uncork a few combos. By corralling Silva into the fence, Chris will be denying him the room avoid strikes or return fire. For Weidman, it would be a simple process of pursuing the take down until he has Silva against the fence and then teeing off. More specifically, this would be a great place to punish Silva with body shots.
Faking shots into powerful strikes.
If there is a decided advantage that Chris has over Anderson in the striking department, it is his ability to exploit the defense holes Silva presents in his attempt to stop the take down. As such, I think a powerful tool he could use against Anderson would be to fake a take down, and then follow it up with a strike while Anderson's hands are down. Something along the lines of a leaping left hook, or uppercut would be the perfect strike to utilize for this strategy.
Keep Anderson guessing.
Weidman's well rounded skill set means that he is a threat to Anderson in every area of the fight. His most definite advantage is the ability to keep Anderson unsure of what he is going to do next. It's the oldest trick of martial arts: make your opponent think you're going to do one thing, while doing something else. By mixing up his striking and wrestling, he can prevent Anderson from adjusting and picking him apart. He should feint strikes and go for take downs, feint and throw real strikes' fake take down's to land strikes, and drive straight into real shots. That way Anderson never knows whether he's about to get taken down or punched in the face.
I think that Weidman is at his best on the ground, but I don't believe he should concede the standup to Silva. He has the skill to win this fight anywhere. His goal should be to disable Silva early; to take his weapons away from him and prevent him from ever getting into the fight. Whether that occurs on the feet or the ground is irrelevant. It's more important that he prevent Silva from establishing his range or getting into his riddum. Weidman has the tools to keep Silva unsure and unable to attack, and that was what won him the first fight.