UFC Fight Night: Blanchfield vs. Fiorot sets the stage for possibly one of the most anticipated middleweight fights this year: Chris Weidman vs Bruno Silva. While both fighters have their strengths and weaknesses, this analysis suggests that Bruno Silva more than likely will have the upper hand based more so on recent form and overall momentum.

Chris Weidman, former UFC middleweight champion, has had a difficult transition in recent years after previously dominating the division. Weidman, who has a record of 15 wins and 5 losses, earned his place at the top of the division by defeating MMA legends Anderson Silva (twice), Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort.

Nonetheless, Weidman has been struggling in the octagon lately, showing signs of the punishing impact this sport can have on a fighter over time. Since losing his title to Luke Rockhold in 2015, he has managed only two wins in his last seven bouts, suffering five defeats, four of which have been finishes.

Coming off a horrific leg injury that he suffered during his fight against Uriah Hall at UFC 261, there is plenty of speculation on Weidman’s readiness for this fight. The All-American recovered remarkably quickly, with videos of him already walking without crutches just weeks after his injury. Despite his resolve, it is reasonable to question whether he can regain his peak form.

On the other hand, Bruno Silva is a rising name in the middleweight division. The Brazilian fighter is undefeated in the UFC with a record of 20 wins, 6 losses, and a draw. He strikes fear in his opponents with his vicious striking skills. Silva is a ferocious fighter, especially with his ground and pound, making him a legitimate threat in the division.

The stark contrast in recent form and momentum augurs well for Silva. He has been merciless in his recent fights, finishing his last five opponents with 4 TKOs and one submission. Silva’s fights often don’t last long. He pounces on his opponents, punishing them with heavyweight blows before they get the chance to find their rhythm.

Weidman, who is a four-time All-American and two-time Division I NCAA wrestler, will undoubtedly rely on his wrestling basis to control the fight. Taking Silva to the mat could mitigate the striking power of the Brazilian. However, Silva is also known for his BJJ black belt skills, which he can expertly use to his advantage if taken down, bringing an intriguing element to the grappling aspect of their match-up.

One of Weidman’s tasks will be to avoid Silva’s ferocity in the opening minutes. Silva’s game plan typically involves him bursting out of the gate, looking to get an early knockout. If Weidman can weather the early storm and carry the fight into the later rounds, he may reap the benefits as Silva’s initial intensity tends to dwindle.

However, considering the devastating leg injury and his previous performances, Weidman faces an uphill battle. Silva will likely take advantage of any hint of hesitancy or lack of mobility coming from Weidman. Also, having Weidman worry about protecting his leg could serve as a distraction, potentially lowering his guard and leaving him more open to Silva’s powerful punches and kicks.

There is also the aspect of age and fight mileage to consider. At 37, Weidman is in the twilight of his career. The physical stresses from years of high-level competitive fighting are not easily shrugged off. Silva, on the other hand, despite being only three years younger, has spent notably less time in the limelight, which might contribute to an overall better physical condition benefiting him in this contest.

While Chris Weidman certainly comes with credentials and a reputation, it seems as though his prime may have passed him. The former champion is hungry for a victory to break his turbulent streak and prove those questioning his career wrong.

However, on the basis of recent performances, readiness levels, and the potential impact of Weidman’s injury, the prediction this time leans towards Bruno Silva. Despite his relative inexperience in the UFC, Silva’s merciless ground and pound, relentless pace, and KO power present a daunting challenge.

To conclude, the applicability of the phrase “it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish” relates to this fight. The hope for Weidman fans is that the All-American shows up with the spirit and determination that led him to the middleweight title, while Bruno Silva backers will anticipate another explosive performance from the Brazilian.

While it’s never wise to count out a former champion, if Weidman won, it would be an uphill battle and a significant upset given the circumstances. Predicted winner: Bruno Silva.