UFC 210 is co-headlined by a pretty important middleweight affair as former champion Chris Weidman will look to get back on track against Gegard Mousasi. The fight is certainly high stakes to say the least as both men are at a crossroads in their career. For Gegard Mousasi it’s a chance to prove his worth to the masses as one of the greatest fighters in the game. For Chris Weidman, it’s potential a final chance to prove that he can hang with the best of the best in the division.
Gegard Mousasi feels disrespected and he doesn’t care who knows it. These days he’s become more vocal in his opinions about the UFC and what the promotion stands for. He’s been vocal because, really, that’s the only way to generate buzz in this day and age (he has Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor to thank for that). Nevertheless, the one thing that has always been certain about Gegard Mousasi is his ability to fight. If anyone ever had any doubts, the man is truly one of the best middleweights on the UFC’s roster today.
His overall striking is strong, but what makes him so dangerous is his jab and the ability to play aggressor and counter fighter all at once. Mousasi likes to employ intelligent pressure and keep his opponents on the back foot with his jabs. When he does choose to counter, he leans his head over his leg to give the appearance of being there to be hit. He pop his head back and counter with straights and hooks as well as some powerful kicks. He’ll be smart to use the pressure game against Weidman, flicking jabs and forcing the former champion to shoot for takedowns. Anticipating the rush from Weidman is the biggest factor for Mousasi to overcome and if he can handle that, stringing off combinations of multiple combinations, and the occasional kick, will lead Mousasi to victory.
For the former middleweight king, being on a two fight skid is something pretty uncommon. Chris Weidman has the distinction of beating some of the best Brazilian mixed martial artists in the game, including arguable the greatest to have ever done it, Anderson Silva. It’s a sexy feather to have in his cap, but he can’t rest on his laurels. Getting back to title contention will mean busting up Mousasi badly to begin a new streak. Weidman has some deceptively intricate footwork that pushes his opponent’s backs to the fence and forces them to react to his strikes and feints. Weidman isn’t the most polished striker but he’s very effective in understanding range which has carried him far. He stays busy with strikes up top and down below, giving his opponent something to constantly think about.
Chris Weidman also has that dangerous wrestling to fall back on as he has taken down all of his UFC opponents. The problem he faced in his bout with Yoel Romero is giving the his opponent too much space to react to the shot. Weidman will want to mitigate this by giving Mousasi no space against the cage, firing off a combination, and getting in on the hips. While he’s effective at getting the takedown in space, giving Mousasi less real estate to work with will be essential to grasping victory in this fight.
It’s a battle between a middleweight who believes he deserves more respect and another chomping at the bit to once again be the man. Who will come out on top at UFC 210 this weekend, Chris Weidman or Gegard Mousasi?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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