UFC 183 takes place in Las Vegas tomorrow night and we’ve got our full predictions for all the fights for you below.
Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
This is a fun fight for sure, but it feels like one that’s weighted significantly in Silva’s favor. Of course Silva’s leg break leaves a big question mark regarding how he’ll perform compared to the version of ‘The Spider’ we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the past and in his recent outings we’ve also seen signs that perhaps his chin isn’t quite what it once was either.
I think the latter could actually be a bigger deal than the former in this particular fight. Even if he’s somewhat gun-shy with kicks I still think he has the tools to beat Diaz with his punches, knees and elbows, and Diaz is a puncher rather than a kicker himself so is unlikely to target his previously damaged limb. On the other hand, if Silva continues to employ that hands-down stance, essentially inviting his opponent to take shots at him (and his training footage suggests that he will), then that’s a big risk.
Diaz doesn’t hit particularly hard, but he puts together the kind of combination work that could pose Silva problems. The Brazilian is adept at missing single, telegraphed shots, but if Diaz mixes things up well with plenty of volume he could catch him. When Chael Sonnen managed to connect a few times in their first meeting it threw Silva off his game and so could Diaz.
However, that aside Silva holds a lot of aces, not least that he’s clearly much bigger than Diaz and fighting in his natural weight class. He’s a master on the counter which should pay dividends against an offensive striker who lacks movement, he wields far more power, has more weapons at his disposal and still has that ability to produce magic moments out of thin air.
I’m not sure whether it ends inside the distance though. Diaz is a notoriously tough fighter and with Silva perhaps being more cautious than normal due to his leg break last time out it’s possible this one heads to a decision, but I still think Silva’s power advantage gives him a real chance to end this one at any given moment – let’s say sometime in the championship rounds.
Anderson Silva to win by TKO in Rd4.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tyron Woodley
Interesting fight here between the fast-rising Gastelum and the almost-but-not-quite title contender Woodley.
A big problem with Woodley is inconsistency – sometimes he looks very dangerous with knockout power and dominant wrestling, while other times he just doesn’t quite seem to show up. Gastelum on the other hand has been very consistent so far in his UFC run though generally hasn’t faced the same level of competition.
Part of Gastelum’s success is down to the way he fights – he’s always looking to push the pace and has the skills both on the feet and on the mat to ensure he’s comfortable whatever happens. Woodley also has the ability, but perhaps not the same application when it comes to taking the fight to his opponent.
It’s possible this is a fight where Woodley demonstrates that he’s the better fighter overall, but I favor Gastelum to push himself further to earn a close decision victory.
Kelvin Gastelum to win by decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Al Iaquinta
Both fighters here are coming off back-to-back wins in the Octagon and will be eager to add to that on Saturday night.
Lauzon is capable on the feet, but I believe Iaquinta is more effective there, particularly at this stage in their respective careers. Lauzon is still as crafty as ever on the mat though and while Iaquinta can generally hold his own there offensively, a submission finish is much more likely to come from his opponent.
I’m a bit torn on this one. Lauzon’s a true veteran, but perhaps at times nowadays shows signs of that catching up to him, while Iaquinta is less proven, but seems the fresher and hungrier of the two. Still, Iaquinta has had a weakness to submissions in the past and that’s Lauzon’s forte so I’m leaning towards him here.
Joe Lauzon to win by submission in Rd2.
Tim Boetsch vs. Thales Leites
A clear difference between these two middleweights is that Leites has shown marked signs of progress in recent times with a significantly improved striking game to go with his dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while Boetsch is pretty much the same fighter he’s always been, relying on the same solid, but not spectacular set of skills.
Nevertheless, Boetsch could find success here as regardless of his opponent’s improvements he should still be able to handle himself in the striking exchanges and his defensive wrestling could prevent Leites from getting the fight to the mat where he’s most dangerous.
Leites feels like the more exciting fighter at this moment in time and particularly if he’s able to get Boetsch on his back he’ll pose some serious problems, but nevertheless I can’t shake the feeling that without doing anything particularly memorable ‘The Barbarian’ might just do enough to shut him down and emerge with his hand raised.
Tim Boetsch to win by decision.
Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein
Two quality welterweight strikers on show here to get the main card off to an entertaining start.
Mein has always caught the eye with his technical striking even from early in his career, particularly in terms of his boxing, but in Alves he’s facing someone who perhaps even better on the feet with a highly accomplished muay thai game.
Mein will enjoy a reach advantage and fights well from range, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue for Alves who uses his kicks very effectively, has good movement both offensively and defensively and is quick with his counters and combinations.
Whichever way this one goes it should be a pleasure to watch, but I favor Alves to be the better man on the night.
Thiago Alves to win by decision.
Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann
Ian McCall vs. John Lineker
Ed Herman vs. Derek Brunson
Rafael Natal vs. Tom Watson
Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes
Richardson Moreira vs. Ildemar Alcantara
Thiago Santos vs. Andy Enz