Chris Weidman steps into the cage, replacing the injured Court McGee, to fight Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 131 on June 11th at the Rogers Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Injuries and cancellations plague the UFC

The recent spate of injuries is wreaking havoc with the UFC. The main event for UFC 130 between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar had to be scrapped and in its stead the rather ho-hum affair between Rampage Jackson and Matt Hamill had to be elevated to main event status. In addition to some preliminary fights being effected at UFC 130 the injury bug has now started biting UFC 131. 

The iconic Brock Lesnar has withdrawn from the UFC 131 main event, replaced by Shane Carwin, and now we have yet another casualty in Court McGee who succumbed to a knee injury in preparation for his showdown with Jesse Bongfeldt. Enter Chris Weidman who came to Dana White’s rescue in March when he replaced an injured Rafael Natal and made the most of his UFC debut by defeating Alessio Sakara by unanimous decision. 

Jesse Bongfeldt UFC 131

Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Chris Weidman

Jesse Bongfeldt (15-4-1) saw his 7 fight win streak snapped with a draw to Rafael Natal at UFC 124. That’s what happens when you start fighting in MMA’s premier organization. Bongfeldt had never fought in the UFC until he found himself in the same position as Weidman, replacing an injured Jason MacDonald, to battle Natal. Amazingly Bongfeldt had never had a fight go to the judges’ scorecards until his UFC debut. It was ruled a majority draw and Bongfeldt saw his win streak come to an end. 

Bongfeldt has won 15 times in his career with six by KO and nine by submission. He has lost 4 times in his career getting knocked out twice and submitted twice. Most of Bongfeldt’s fights don’t go beyond two rounds and up until his last fight, none of them had made it to the judge’s table.

His pedigree is grounded in judo and Isshin-Ryu karate but it strikes me as a bit curious that a man who has been training since he was young, has not attained a black belt in either discipline. Nevertheless, his lack of rank has not precluded him from dispatching his opponents with lethal precision. He has a penchant for subduing his opponents via rear naked choke and possesses knockout power if given the opportunity.

Chris Weidman UFC 131Chris Weidman (5-0) is a rising star on the UFC horizon. He has been ranked as the number one MMA prospect by a variety of panels and astonished the grappling world by qualifying and competing in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, with only a year of formal Jiu-Jitsu training under his belt, and bowing in the finals to world class Jiu-Jitsu master Andre Galvao by a razor thin margin.

Weidman is a former Division 1 All-American wrestler and his amateur resume is impressive to say the least. He was the Grappler’s Quest champion with all 13 of his matches ended by submission while also being crowned the 2009 United States BJJ champion. 

He then went on to train under former UFC Welterweight champion Matt Serra and captured the Ring of Combat Middleweight title in only his third professional match. In his last fight, he was summoned as a replacement to debut in the UFC on only two weeks’ notice and defeated the well traveled UFC veteran Alessio Sakara by decision.  

This will be an interesting match as Bongfeldt is an all or nothing cage fighter with 8 years experience under his belt while Weidman is five years his junior and at the age of 26, is just coming into his own. Of his 5 fights, two have come by KO, one by submission and two by decision. 

Weidman, with a two inch height advantage will have to stay away from the thunderous hands of Bongfeldt but if he can take the fight to the floor, he will dominate despite Bongfeldt’s impressive submission game. I believe Weidman has too much athleticism and is fundamentally sounder than Bongfeldt therefore I will take Weidman by submission.

Bodog has already released their UFC odds for 132, and Weidman is listed as a -500 favorite here. Betting options also include a -200 pick that the fight will not go further than 2 rounds.

My Pick: Weidman by submission