For the TL/DR crowd: In my opinion, Machida has advantages in stamina, in the stand-up, and in experience, that will be instrumental in a narrow but uncontestable UD victory against Weidman. __________________ I'm leaning towards Machida, but I'm not sure if my analysis is pure from emotional bias or not. Weidman has looked incredible in securing 2 back-to-back finishes against the UFC GOAT, managing to get the better of a fighter some consider to be the greatest striker in MMA history at his own game, as well as in the wrestling and grappling departments. He effortlessly steamrolled Munoz, dominating him in the stand-up and the wrestling game. If we are to form conclusions from Weidman's last 3 performances in the Octagon, it would be understandable for some to regard him as an excellent, well-rounded champion with an impressive grappling toolkit and stand-up skills that are up to par with Machida's arsenal, if not superior. The only possible weakness one could justifiably suspect Weidman to have is poor stamina. He appeared to have lowered his output against Maia in a 3 round fight and didn't look as spectacular against Anderson in two second-rounds. If he does possess this weakness, it would be a very strong disadvantage against a title-challenger believed to be well-conditioned and is battle-tested in two 25-minute fights against very formidable opponents. It is my baseless suspicion that Weidman's conditioning is somewhere between championship-quality and that of what is often suspected by some of his most vocal skeptics. If this is true, then Weidman will have a serious disadvantage against a former champion proven to have elite-level cardiovascular conditioning as recently as his last fight. An assessment of skill possessed by both fighters indicates that Weidman is far superior, but both fighters may possess a similar level of athleticism beyond stamina considerations. Machida's defensive wrestling is respectable, but penetrable considering his performances against Jones, Davis, and Rampage. If Weidman scores at least 1 takedown against Machida (very likely) with enough time left in the round, the challenger would be in peril if we are to consider the champion's impressive grappling talent. Weidman has effortlessly pounded through Anderson Silva's defensive guard in two fights (however, it should be noted that this has been accomplished before against Anderson) and looked competent against Demian Maia (who as we know, is a very distinguished and accomplished jiu-jitsu black belt). Although Machida's wrestling is sound, his overall grappling game is suspect. Machida has been swept by Mousasi, choked out by Jones, forced out of a dominant position by Shogun's threatening leg-lock attempts, and caught in a triangle choke by Tito Ortiz (who only lost it out of what seemed to be a lack of lack of will-power). Weidman has a very dangerous top-game and poses a very serious threat to Machida in any type of positional battle on the ground. It's also possible that Weidman is the superior striker, if we are to trust the most optimistic expectations one could hold for him as an elite fighter from his performances against Anderson beyond suspected absences of 'flukes' or favorable circumstances. But if Machida is the superior striker (more likely), even by a slight margin, then he could win by following a strong game-plan based on distance-control and point-striking to take advantage of (supposedly) superior conditioning and greater experience. I believe that this scenario is most likely in their upcoming title-fight- that if Machida follows a smart game-plan, he will beat Chris Weidman via UD. Machida's unique style is puzzling even for the most experienced fighters in MMA (as Rampage and Couture could potentially attest to). Even Mousasi was almost overwhelmed by Machida's karate-style kickboxing despite having an impressive K-1 run. With these considerations noted, what are we to think of Chis Weidman's chances? Weidman has yet to be tested in a 5-round match. He is generally inexperienced despite being champion of the 185 lb. division and has already suffered several serious injuries. There is also a very valid suspicion that his 2 victories against Anderson were given way by what could have been a favorable (for Weidman) point of the legend's pivotal decline and that the "All-American" is undeserving of his most encouraging praises. If I was forced to bet $100 on the fight, I would be eager to wager on Machida for a potential $200 return.