UFC 183 features the return of two of MMA’s biggest stars, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz. Silva returns after a layoff of over a year after suffering a devastating injury against Chris Weidman. Silva shattered both his tibia and fibula after Weidman checked one of Silva’s powerful leg kicks. Nick Diaz returns after an even longer layoff. Diaz retired after losing to Georges St. Pierre in March of 2013. Both fighters are surrounded by question marks which will make for quite the spectacle when they finally step into the octagon.
Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
The mystique of Anderson Silva has faded significantly over the past few years. Chris Weidman has proven twice in a row that the fighter who is considered by many to be the greatest in MMA history is in fact human. Silva will look to get back to his winning ways Saturday night and it will be interesting to see if the Silva of old can make a return.
Stylistically speaking, Nick Diaz is a very interesting matchup for Silva. Diaz’s pressure based boxing will be an interesting counter to Silva’s defensive style. Silva likes to roll with his opponents punches, dodge, and counter. Silva has had a great deal of success evading strikes in the past, but Diaz throws too many punches per combination for Silva to be able to dodge them all and Diaz has the cardio to go after him for 5 rounds.
Silva’s confidence in throwing leg kicks after his recent injury may be the deciding factor in this fight. Throwing leg kicks will go a long way towards slowing down Diaz’s attack. Both Nick and his brother Nate have shown in the past that they will not check any leg kicks. The path to victory against the Diaz brothers has been shown clearly in the past. Look at Nate Diaz’s last fight against Rafael Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos battered Diaz’s leg for 3 straight rounds and Diaz refused to make any adjustments. Diaz could barely stand by the end of the fight. If Silva takes a similar approach to this fight, then Diaz is in for a long night.
The size difference also has to be taken into account when picking on this fight. Diaz wasn’t considered a large fighter at welterweight and he’s now moving up to middleweight for this fight with Silva. Silva has even made the move up to fight at light heavyweight in the past. Silva will have a significant size advantage in the fight. Adding the size advantage on to the fact that Silva is the much more explosive fighter doesn’t bode well for Diaz. This fight appears to have been handpicked to get Silva back on track and restore his confidence after two horrible defeats.