Welcome to the first of my new Showdown articles. In today's article I'm going to be pitting UFC standout and soon to be title challenger Chris Weidman against Pride FC legend and 'Gracie Hunter' Kazushi Sakuraba.
The point of Showdown is to suggest that both fighters involved are in their prime at the time of the matchup and to analyze their styles , records, strengths and weaknesses and histories against similar opponents to decide who would win the 'Showdown' fight. So lets take a look at the fighters:
A man who truly made himself a legend during his time in Pride FC and earned the nickname 'The Gracie Hunter'. Sakuraba, in his prime, was known for his amazing wrestling talent and adverse striking methods which led him to noted victories over Royce Gracie, Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Renzo Gracie,Randleman and Rampage Jackson to name a few.
The southpaw catch wrestler is well known for his awesome trilogy of fights with, one of my all time favorites, Wanderlei Silva. Saku's aggressive ground and pound as well as his versatile submission game saw him compile a record of 26 wins (4 by KO/TKO and 19 by submission)with 12 losses. >
Weidman is a fast rising UFC star who is currently in line for a shot against long time middleweight champion and p4p great Anderson Silva. A collegiate wrestler, he also holds a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and trains out of the Serra-Longo fight team.
He is credited for being an incredible athlete who holds notable victories over Uriah Hall, Damien Maia, Mark Munoz, Alessio Sakara and Tom Lawlor. His record stands at a perfect 9-0 with 3 wins by KO/TKO and 3 by submission.
How the styles matchup
Both fighters hold strong wrestling backgrounds, I would give the edge to Saku in submission grappling and I think Weidman would take the nod in the striking department as the more athletic of the two. So I think we would see a back and forth wrestling battle for position with Sakuraba looking to keep on the ground where as I feel Weidman might want to neutralize Saku's ground game with crisp striking.
My Showdown prediction
Considering all of the above as well as the fact that Sakuraba has had somewhat of a hard time against strikers, being knocked out 9 times during his MMA career I do feel like the striking would be the clear difference in this match.
Finding a weakness for Weidman in this match is pretty hard. We established he is a great wrestler, athlete and all rounder. He is yet to lose up to now and it is unclear yet if he is even in his prime, I think he is not.
So to the match-up: I think that the first round would involve Sakuraba trying to take down and smother Weidman, and also trying to show some adverse striking, but I think he would be stuffed, and dominated on the ground.
Weidman would use well timed striking and takedown defense to negate Sakuraba's style and eventually earn a TKO victory early in the second round in dominating fashion.
As always these types of article are formed purely from my own opinion, and I would love to hear yours in the comment section, Lowkick community. So let me know who you think would win and why. I hope you've enjoyed reading!!