This Saturday night on ESPN, the best fighter on the planet Anderson Silva will defend his UFC middleweight championship against the undefeated American wrestler, Chris Weidman.
Silva (33-4), who is on a legendary and unparalleled 15-fight win streak in the UFC, and unbeaten since January 2006, defends his title for the time since his second round TKO win over Chael Sonnen (27-13) back in July 2012. He has however since then gone up a weight class, beating a roided-up Stephan Bonnar (15-8) by TKO from a sickening knee to the sternum.
His opponent, New Jersey native Chris Weidman (9-0), hasn't fought since his huge second round TKO win over top contender Mark Munoz (12-3) in July of last year. All this points to another win for "The Spider" Silva, but there is a lot of hype behind Weidman, with many of the top fighters in the UFC, including welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, all backing Weidman to shock the world and take the belt back to New Jersey.
Also on the card is a featherweight bout in the co-main event between former lightweight champion Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (15-4) and Brazilian sensation Charles Oliveira (16-3). Edgar is coming off of a 3-fight losing streak, though all three losses were in championship fight (1x featherweight vs. Jose Aldo, 2x lightweight vs. Benson Henderson). His opponent Oliveira, is coming off his own loss, this to top contender Cub Swanson. Though at only 23 years old, a win for Oliveira here would be massive for him.
Before that, there is a middleweight bout between Strikeforce veterans Tim Kennedy (15-4) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Roger Gracie (6-1). Kennedy is coming off a submission win over Trevor Smith back in January, while Gracie has won his last two fights since a devastating knockout loss to "King Mo" Lawal back in September 2011.
In another middleweight contender's bout, Mark Munoz faces Tim Boetsch (16-5), and with both men coming off losses, it's a must-win fight for both if they are to avoid the slide into irrelevancy in the deep middleweight division.
And as the opening fight on the main card, there is another featherweight contender bout between Cub Swanson (19-5) and Dennis Siver (21-8) where a win for either would surely be enough to secure them a title shot against reigning champion Jose Aldo.
On the preliminary portion of the card the Irish are represented by The Ultimate Fighter winner Norman Parke (18-2) as he takes on the Japanese Kazuki Tokudome (12-3-1).
Now here's some predictions (of which I'll no doubt change my mind about as the week progresses):
Anderson Silva by TKO (3rd/4th RD)
Frankie Edgar by Decision
Roger Gracie by Submission (2nd RD)
Mark Munoz by Decision
Cub Swanson by Decision
UFC 162: SILVA vs WEIDMAN is LIVE from Las Vegas, Nevada on ESPN this Saturday night/Sunday morning at 3am.