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UFC 210 fight card: Chris Weidman vs Gegard Mousasi preview

MMA: UFC 204-Belfort vs Mousasi Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contenders Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi will collide this Saturday (April 8, 2017) at UFC 210 inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

A little less than 18 months ago, Chris Weidman was the undefeated and undisputed champion of the world. Since then, he’s appeared on the wrong end of two particularly brutal knockouts, which puts some real pressure on him heading into this match up. On the other hand, Mousasi is on a serious hot streak. He’s won his last four fights opposite tough-but-not-elite competition, meaning he’s earned another chance to step up opposite a Top 5-ranked athlete and former champion.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for both men:

Chris Weidman
Record: 13-2
Key Wins: Anderson Silva (UFC 168, UFC 162), Lyoto Machida (UFC 175), Vitor Belfort (UFC 187)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC 194), Yoel Romero (UFC 205)
Keys to Victory: Despite his recent losses, Weidman remains one of the most skilled fighters around. He’s a highly decorated wrestler with nasty Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he did flatten Anderson Silva with a left hook.

This has the potential to be a very competitive fight, as both men are experienced and comfortable in all areas. Perhaps the biggest advantage, though, is Weidman’s extensive wrestling background, as the “All-American” has been able to take down each and every one of his opponents at least once.

Opposite Mousasi, Weidman will want to pressure. Thanks to his fights with Silva and Machida, Weidman really developed into one of the sport’s premier pressure fighters. He’s not helpless at range, but that’s Mousasi’s best area, so walking him down would be wise. Weidman is one of the few men around who use kicks well to cut off the cage. If he can use kicks to plant Mousasi and raise his guard, Weidman will find an opening for the takedown.

In a close fight, several key takedowns can make the difference.


Gegard Mousasi
Record: 41-6-2
Key Wins: Vitor Belfort (UFC 204), Thales Leites (UFC Fight Night 84), Uriah Hall (UFC Fight Night 99), Dan Henderson (UFC on FOX 14)
Key Losses: Ronaldo Souza (UFC Fight Night 50), Uriah Hall (UFC Fight Night 75), Lyoto Machida (UFC Fight Night 36)
Keys to Victory: Mousasi is one of the most impressive technicians in the sport. He’s been guilty of being lazy in training camp — or simply not training at all — in the past, but Mousasi has been remarkably consistent in the last few years.

Most of the fighters who fight Weidman are not willingly to lead. Weidman is an intimidating fighter — both his wrestling and power punches are a definite threat if his opponent walks forward without their guards high. As such, most chose to work from the outside.

Mousasi is not most fighters.

Mousasi is at his best when he’s methodically picking his opponent apart and walking them down. That should be his exact strategy here, as Mousasi’s sharp jab could really interrupt Weidman’s combinations and takedown attempts. In addition, Weidman has slowed down after the first round in his last two fights. That’s not to say his cardio is poor, but Weidman has proven to tire when he’s unable to dominate his opponent. If Mousasi puts the pressure on, starts landed that snapping jab, and denies some takedown attempts, he could suddenly find himself dominating this fight.

Bottom Line: This is a pivotal fight at 185 pounds.

Weidman is down, but not out. Disregarding the Bisping anomaly, he’s essentially lost to the top two fighters in the world, and he definitely had some success in both those fights.

Simply put, he’s still very much an elite contender.

With a win, Weidman is back in the immediate title mix. A rematch with Rockhold is distinctly possible in the near future. Plus, the Middleweight title picture is bizarre, so there could be a sudden opportunity for him to step up. If Weidman comes up short, he’s instead dropped out of the top five and will need to put some wins together.

As for Mousasi, he needs to prove that he can beat a top five fighter before he earns a title shot. It’s a little odd that a man with 50 pro fights still has something to prove, but he’s come up short in his last two big opportunities.

Each time that happens, it will be harder for Mousasi to earn a similar chance to step up.

That said, a win puts Mousasi on the cusp of a title shot. There’s no guarantees in this bizarre division, but Mousasi would definitely be closer than ever before.

At UFC 210, Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi will compete in an excellent co-main event. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?

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