The main event of UFC 183 is a five-round middleweight bout between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Silva is a -470 favorite (bet $470 to win $100) while Diaz is a +375 underdog (bet $100 to win $375). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Silva at -405 and Diaz at +285 and so far the public is all over Silva. I agree with Silva being a big favorite here and I’m picking him to win the fight. Here’s why. Silva (33-6) is one of the all-time greats in the sport of mixed martial arts. The 39-year-old Brazilian is 16-2 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Demian Maia, Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin, and his only two losses in the UFC have come to Chris Weidman in his last two bouts. In the first Weidman fight at UFC 162, Silva was doing well but he started to clown around and drop his hands and he paid for it with a knockout loss. Then in the rematch at UFC 168, he threw a sloppy low kick that Weidman blocked and Silva broke his leg. He hasn’t fought since then, so he enters this fight on a 13-month layoff, the longest of his UFC career by far. He will be facing numerous questions entering this fight, namely how is his chin, how is his leg, and how is he mentally? If he is OK mentally and physically, he should roll in this matchup, because he will have a huge size advantage over Diaz and also an edge in the power department. Silva had 20 career T/KO wins and with his power and accuracy — in all of his limbs — he can finish anyone in the sport, even someone with an iron chin like Diaz. This is a fight that will likely take place on the feet and if Silva can connect on Diaz’ chin, he will likely win by T/KO. He just needs to be careful because if he leaves his hands down and gets caught again he could get knocked out himself, and that’s the risk betting on him here. Diaz (26-9, 1 NC) is returning to the Octagon after a 22-month layoff. He is overall 7-6 in the Octagon including a 1-2 record in his most recent stint in the promotion with his lone recent win coming over BJ Penn and his recent losses coming to Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit. The 31-year-old American is dangerous everywhere, with an excellent high-volume boxing attack on the feet and a slick BJJ game on the ground. He has knockout power in his hands (13 career T/KO wins) and he is so good on the mat too (eight career submission wins). He has a great chin and hasn’t been knocked out in 13 years, and his cardio is some of the best in the business, making him a dangerous opponent for most fighters in the division. This is a tough matchup for him, though. He will be at a size and reach disadvantage, and he hasn’t fought in nearly two years. He is catching Silva at a good time in his career as “The Spider” has never been more vulnerable, but this is a very difficult matchup on paper for Diaz and unless he is able to connect with Silva’s chin, he is going to have a very difficult time getting his hand raised here, and that’s why he is such a big underdog going into this fight. At first I thought Diaz might have had some value as the dog, but the more I thought about this fight the more I think Silva wins in devastating fashion. Obviously the layoff and the leg injury are huge concerns, as is the state of Silva’s chin, but if he’s healthy he should win this fight easily. Don’t forget, Diaz is coming off of an even longer layoff and the last time he fought he looked terrible and uninspired. Silva will have a huge size advantage in this fight and he’ll also have an advantage in striking and wrestling, while submissions are relatively close. But I don’t expect this fight to go on the mat anyways. I think it stays standing, and I think we see a vintage Silva performance. Diaz hasn’t been knocked out in over a decade, but he hasn’t fought a striker with the accuracy and power of Silva in a long time. I think Silva can find Diaz’ chin and finish him in this fight for a statement win that earns him another shot at the UFC middleweight title. The line is high at -470, but Silva is a likely winner and I can’t fault anyone for playing him, even at this price.
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