Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight scrappers Chris Weidman and Omari Akhmedov will collide this Sat. (Aug. 8, 2020) at UFC Vegas 6 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fall of Chris Weidman is current written into mixed martial arts (MMA) history books as one of the most dramatic in UFC history. From undefeated champion to losing five of six bouts via knockout, Weidman has largely fallen apart. Still, there have been moments where Weidman still looks sharp even in recent defeats, so perhaps the “All-American” really does just need a step back in competition to figure things out. Akhmedov is supposedly that “easier” opponent, which is technically true when looking at the list of former champions and top contenders who have handed Weidman his recent losses. However, Akhmedov is an International Master of Sports from Dagestan, and uhh, those guys don’t lose very often.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Anderson Silva (UFC 168, UFC 162), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC on FOX 25), Lyoto Machida (UFC 175), Vitor Belfort (UFC 187)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC 194), Yoel Romero (UFC 205), Ronaldo Souza (UFC 230), Dominick Reyes (UFC on ESPN 6)
Keys to Victory: Weidman still shows real skill in all his losses — he can still wrestle really well! Weidman’s top game and front chokes are still a serious threat, too. In his most recent Middleweight fight, Weidman’s hands never looked better than when he was touching up Ronaldo Souza … for the first half of the fight.
In a majority of Weidman’s recent defeats — barring the Reyes knockout, which was simply a bad idea from the start — he starts strong and fades badly. When a bit tired, Weidman grows more hittable, and the fighters he’s been trading with can really crack.
Akhmedov could present the same issues. He’s no technician, but Akhmedov is a physical Middleweight who can throw with power deep into the fight. So while Weidman may have skill advantages in all areas, that doesn’t matter if he gets tired and blasted late.
With that in mind, measuring the gas tank is absolutely key. Rather than try to wrestle with Sambo specialist, I’d like to see Weidman make the most of that reach advantage and jab his opponent up. That’s a less energy intensive style, and if Weidman is controlling the jab, he should be able to control the pace.
Key Wins: Ian Heinisch (UFC 245), Zak Cummings (UFC 242), Tim Boetsch (UFC Fight Night 147), Kyle Noke (UFC Fight Night 101)
Key Losses: Gunnar Nelson (UFC Fight Night 37), Sergio Moraes (UFC Fight Night 80), Elizeu Zaleski (UFC on FOX 19)
Keys to Victory: Akhmedov is a rough-and-tumble bruiser. Whether he’s looking to wrestle or throw hands, “Wolverine” does so with a real aggression and physicality.
Historically, Akhmedov’s problems came from fatigue. In fact, he was somewhat notorious for falling apart in the third round. Now that he’s moved up to Middleweight and made more of an effort to pace himself, however, Akhmedov seems to have solved that issue.
Opposite Weidman, I’d like to see Akhmedov attack the chin and gas tank. Don’t let Weidman use that reach advantage and look slick on the outside, not while trying to bully his foe into the clinch is an option. If Weidman is pressured, he’ll likely change levels and look to wrestle.
If the goal is to tire Weidman, forcing him to wrestle definitely helps. If Akhmedov is pushing the issue, punching the mid-section, and generally making the fight ugly, his chance of hurting Weidman late is pretty solid.
This may be Weidman’s last stand.
Can Weidman’s career survive another loss? If he loses a third consecutive bout (and more importantly, six of seven), he may receive one of those “It’s time to retire”-type chats from UFC brass. That’s not to say there are not men Weidman can still beat on the roster, but is UFC willing to pay his salary for him to battle unranked fighters on the “Prelims” undercard?
Fortunately, Weidman can put a halt to all these miserable “what ifs” should he win here. Beating Akhmedov does not put Weidman back in the title mix, but a ranked win is an accomplishment that buys him some security.
As for Akhmedov, he’s unbeaten since moving up to 185 pounds. Even in his diminished state, Weidman’s name is still valuable. Making it four wins in a row by dispatching the former champion would likely earn the Dagestani combatant a top 10 foe next, advancing his climb up the ladder.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 6 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 9 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Vegas 6, Chris Weidman and Omari Akhmedov will battle in the co-main event. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?