UFC 183 Predictions to Win
When: Saturday, January 31, 2015
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
by Scott of Predictem.com
UFC 183 features the return of perhaps MMAs greatest-ever champion, Anderson Silva. The former longtime UFC Middleweight Champion is a few months shy of his 40th birthday and after consecutive losses to Chris Weidman, his viability as a big-time threat in the sport is under question. This is his first fight since snapping his leg in a rematch with Weidman. We will get some answers as he faces Nate Diaz, a longtime standout in his own right. Also on the card is a fascinating welterweight encounter between up-and-coming Kelvin Gastelum and contender Tyron Woodley.
Anderson Silva, 33-6 (20 KOs, 6 Submissions), (-400) vs. Nick Diaz, 26-9 (13 KOs, 8 Submissions), (+325)
In a middleweight bout, Anderson Silva looks to snap a two-fight losing streak when he takes on Nick Diaz in a bout that is huge for both fighters. For Silva, its a chance to breathe some life into a once-soaring career that hit the skids in two defeats to Weidman. And Diaz can also badly use a win after also suffering two losses in a row.
Silva is pushing 40 and at some point, a fighter just doesnt have it anymore. It happens to the greatest of all fighters. And not every fighter is able to thrive at this age. Getting flattened by Weidman and his body failing him in the rematch could all be attributed to age to some degree. But in looking for the silver lining, he lost to one man in Weidman who is in fact a superior fighter. And both losses were something less than outright butt-whippings. Not to in any way discredit Weidmans wins, but he caught a clowning Silva in their first fight and laid him out, before Silva snapped his leg on a checked leg-kick in the rematch.
Diaz, 31, is unquestionably a top fighter. Hes a natural at what he does and possesses skills beyond what most fighters can claim. But perhaps his star as an MMA celebrity outshines his actual merit as a fighter. And now, hes moving up in weight to face the divisions most-decorated fighter in history. Not to impugn his ability, which he has loads of, but he never really made it to the top of the 170-pound division, despite once holding the Strikeforce title.
With Silva, its time to start asking some tough questions. Betting on 40-year old fighters with -400 odds isnt something that pays off well over the long haul. But after providing so much to the UFC organization, perhaps theyre trying to ease him back into the win column, while also driving another nail into the coffin of the perennially-troublemaking Diaz. Thats more of the political angle. From a fighting perspective, its a bit more unclear.
Anything resembling a prime version of Silva should be able to handle the different things Diaz brings to the table–namely great boxing and an educated ground game. Diaz striking is more a steady stream of blows that chip away at an opponent, whereas Silvas strikes can bring down buildings. And on the ground, you have to give the edge to Silva, especially with his size advantage. Again, all this is rendered moot if Silva is not Silva. If his body breaks down in some way or if hes just a shadow of his former self, Diaz is more than capable of exploiting the situation.
Again, taking an aging fighter at long odds can make a betting man feel a bit anxious. But I cant get away from the fact that this is a piece of clever matchmaking in an effort to restore Silvas image for one last run. He gets to take on a big-name, but a fighter who should be outgunned in most areas. Im taking Silva.
My Pick to Win: Im betting on Anderson Silva at -400. Hes too big for Diaz, who has never really beaten a truly elite fighter. Silva is more explosive, accomplished, and is desperate for a win. Hes worked hard to get back to this spot and should put forth a good effort on the 31st.
Tyron Woodley, 14-3 (5 KOs, 5 Submissions), (+120) vs. Kelvin Gastelum, 10-0 (3 KOs, 4 Submissions), (-140)
Unbeaten Kelvin Gastelum will attempt to climb up another rung on the ladder as he takes on tough 170-pound contender Tyron Woodley. Gastelum, 23, parlayed a win on The Ultimate Fighter into a rising MMA career that is now kicking into another gear. In November, he scored a first-round submission win over Jake Ellenberger in a win where he earned Performance of the Night honors. Woodley, 32, is coming off a one-minute August KO over Dong-Hyun Kim in China, which also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
Woodley moved into contention with a huge KO over Josh Koscheck and especially with a win over top contender Carlos Condit. A unanimous decision loss to Rory MacDonald slowed him some, but the win over Kim restored some of the luster. Make no mistake, hes a dangerous fighter who on the right night against the right opponent can do serious damage.
Gastelum might be one of those guys who sneaks up on people. Hes not really flashy or compelling, but his results speak for themselves. He scored some big upsets to win TUF, including a big win over the bigger Uriah Hall. And since climbing the ladder, hes been incredibly effective. This is a measured step up, but it is a step up nonetheless. He gets full credit for the big win over Ellenberger, but old Jake may have lost a step and was in losing form. Woodley is a winning fighter with some good recent work on his resume. In a lot of ways, this will be a litmus-test for Gastelum.
So far, Gastelum has managed to defy the odds, overcome adversity and all the naysayers, and remain undefeated. Woodley is not only dangerous, but super-urgent heading into this fight. Not that his career is on the endangered species list, but hes running out of chances to make an iron-clad case as a fighter who is truly a top 170-pounder in the UFC. I see the better overall game of Gastelum getting the job done. Woodley is the more explosive of the two, but I prefer the better conditioning and versatility of Gastelum.
My Pick to Win: Im betting on Kelvin Gastelum. He has better cardio and more overall attributes. While Woodley is explosive, Gastelum is very rugged and has more tools.