Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman: Big fight preview

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Chris Weidman has already shattered the aura of invincibility surrounding UFC living legend Anderson Silva once in 2013, but must put his middleweight title on the line on Saturday night in a rematch at the top of a Las Vegas card that has mixed martial arts fans salivating.

Silva went into the first fight against Weidman last July riding a 16-fight win streak in the UFC but was sent sprawling to the canvas by a huge left hook, made to pay the ultimate price by a punch that sent shockwaves spinning around the fight capital of the world.

At 38 years old Silva's hunger, desire and ability to chase down a rematch were all quickly called into question, but any fears of retirement for the Brazilian were put to bed by the swift signing of a rematch, which leads the year-ending UFC 168 card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

In what promises to be one of the most intriguing rematches in UFC history Silva is once again bookies' favourite to reclaim gold, but Weidman is the same phenomenal wrestler, puncher and athlete that stepped into the cage as number one contender the first time around.

The challenge now for Weidman is to underline his credentials by dispelling any notion that his famous win was a fluke, with Silva keeping his hands down and not paying the challenger respect by showboating in the decisive second round fatefully during their inaugural meeting. 

Weidman has just 10 fights on his professional record but has wasted no time advancing right to the top of the sport, with a tenacious style that includes strong takedowns, submission skills and as Silva found out to his cost one-punch knockout power.

Silva's mission meanwhile is simple, prove he still deserves to be called the greatest middleweight to ever step foot in the Octagon one more time by laying to rest the most painful defeat of his career.

There is little question that the 'Spider' has the skills to beat Weidman on paper, but can his mesmerising mix of slick jiu-jitsu and sensational striking come together on the night to stop a veritable beast in Weidman?

A truly fascinating mix of styles, personalities and psychology will come to a head on Saturday night over a maximum of 25 minutes, but perhaps Weidman's time to shine has come as the younger, fresher combatant.

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