The former UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, returns this weekend at UFC 292 following a devastating injury last time out. Taking on Uriah Hall, Weidman broke his leg with the first kick landed, forcing him to sit out for over two years.
He returns this weekend, however, and we look at three ways his fight against the well-known, Brad Tavares.
Three Ways Chris Weidman’s Return Could Go
1 – Weidman can’t get over the psychological impact of the injury
After such a bad injury, it wouldn’t be a surprise if The All American‘s mindset is slightly altered. No one could blame him. He broke his leg in a terrible way, in a huge fight in his career, in front of thousands of people. The last time he was in the UFC octagon, he was wheeled out, unable to walk.
If he can’t get over the psychological impact of the injury itself, he could be hesitant in there and against a guy like Tavares, that won’t end well. Tavares can knock anyone out and do more than enough damage on his opponent to cruise to a stand-up victory if Weidman isn’t on it.
We hope that Weidman isn’t hesitant. We want to see him go in there and slam a leg kick in the first minute, proving his willingness to test out the strike in a real fight.
2 – Weidman is back to his best, out-wrestles Tavares and cruises to victory
The former champion is an NCAA Division One level wrestler and a man that has landed many a dominant takedown in his career. He’s also a black belt under Matt Serra and Renzo Gracie, so when the fight gets to the floor, he can dominate.
He averages 3.03 takedowns per 15 minutes, however, with Tavares’ defence being 80%, it won’t be easy. With that being said, if Weidman can get Tavares down, he’ll be confident on the floor.
When Weidman was at his most dominant, during his title run in 2013 and 2014, he mixed in his strikes with takedowns, constantly causing his opponents to keep guessing. In his two victories since dropping the title, he’s landed 12 takedowns, so we know that he still has it in his arsenal and he should be looking to utilise his wrestling on Saturday night.
3 – Tavares’ Activity pays dividends and he’s too sharp for Weidman
Since Weidman last competed, Tavares has had three fights, including a three round loss to top contender, Dricus du Plessis. He’s been far more active than the injured Weidman and without a doubt, this will lead to him finding his range and settling into his rhythm far quicker. This could lead to a long night for the former champion. We’ve seen Weidman be out-struck by strikers far less competent than Tavares. He was knocked out on the feet by Jacare Souza, for example.
We also have to ask how much he’s been able to learn and prepare for this fight, or whether he’s just been focused on rehabbing his leg injury. We know that Tavares has had three fight camps since Weidman last fought, with this being his fourth. How much will this make a difference and will it lead to Tavares coming away with the victory at UFC 292? Only time will tell!