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UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida


Expect the holiday fireworks to continue this weekend as the Ultimate Fighting Championship hosts a pair of events in the Fight Capital of the World.

On Sunday night, the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas will host the live finale of season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Coaches B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar will go at it in a five-round featherweight clash, while Corey Anderson, Matt Van Buren, Eddie Gordon and Dhiego Lima will be looking to win a lucrative contract with the premier MMA promotion.

Before that though, there’re bigger fish to fry.

UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida comes live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday night, with early prelims broadcasting on UFC Fight Pass (7:00 p.m. ET), prelims broadcasting on Fox Sports 1 (8:00 p.m. ET), and the main card on pay-per-view from 10:00 p.m. ET.

The main card will be co-headlined by the following pair of championship bouts.

Weidman vs. Machida

Saturday’s main event sees “The All American” Chris Weidman make a second defense of his UFC Middleweight Championship as he takes on UFC mainstay Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.

It’s safe to say that Weidman (11-0-0), through no fault of his own, hasn’t exactly been lauded by everybody in the Mixed Martial Arts world.

The fashion in which the 30-year-old won the championship from Anderson Silva, and the subsequent rematch that saw Silva break his leg delivering a kick, have hardly bestowed the air of an undisputed champion upon Weidman, but he can go a long way to changing that with Saturday’s bout against Machida.

What Weidman needs now is to come out of a stern test in a comfortable fashion. He needs to prove he can conquer an elite combatant.

Machida (21-4-0) certainly represents an elite combatant. The Brazilian may be new to the middleweight division – Saturday’s fight will be just his third at 185lbs – but he has the skillset, pedigree and history to represent a serious threat.

The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – currently ranked No. 3 in the middleweight division – enters the bout on the back of a Fight of the Night performance against Gegard Mousasi in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil, in February, and a Knockout of the Night performance before that in October.

The list of fighters Machida has defeated is a virtual who’s who of UFC legends, including Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Mauricio Rua, and Dan Henderson. The last time 36-year-old fought in Las Vegas, he knocked out Rashad Evans and took home the Light Heavyweight Championship. Could that be an omen of what’s to come on Saturday?

Weidman will know exactly what he’s up against and, as always, will come prepared. Undefeated in his professional career, the “All American” has finished five of his last six fights (3 KOs, 2 subs). He also successfully defended his belt the last time he was paired with Ronda Rousey as headliners.

Odds: Weidman (-185) is favored over Machida (+150) according to online sportsbook Bovada.

Rousey vs. Davies

While Weidman, rightfully or wrongfully, needs to prove himself, it’s hard to imagine how UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey could do anything more to stake her claim as the best in the world.

Last time out, Rousey (9-0-0) dismantled Sara McMann in 1:09 of the first round, recording a TKO victory thanks to a debilitating knee to the body. The victory marked the first time the “Rowdy” one hadn’t finished a bout with her patented armbar submission.

The victory also saw the 27-year-old collect another first round finish. Only Meisha Tate has managed to last more than five minutes with Rousey.

Heading into Saturday’s title bout, much of the same is expected, as demonstrated by the moneyline. But this is the UFC and anything can happen.

Alexis Davis (16-5-0) – ranked No. 2 contender in the division – will have her sights set on dethroning the champ, by any means possible.

Like Rousey, Davis is undefeated since joining the UFC, and will ride a five-fight win streak into the bout.

Known as a submission specialist during spells with Strikeforce and Invicta FC, Davis has won all three UFC bouts by decision, most recently edging out Jessica Eye via split decision.

A decision victory may be the most plausible way of Davis taking the title from Rousey, but the way judges have called close title fights recently suggests it’s a dangerous route to take. Davis would do better to try and win outright, although that will see her play right into Rousey’s hands.

Ultimately, few expect Davis to succeed and regard this bout as another stepping stone before we get to a much anticipated matchup between Rousey and No. 1 contender, Cat Zingano. Zingano remains sidelined following knee surgery.

Odds: Rousey (-900) is a heavy favorite to defeat Davis (+550).

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