Brad Tavares got back in the win column at UFC 257 (Zuffa LLC)

Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman makes his long-awaited UFC return after a gruesome leg injury and 2.5 years out of the octagon. Looking to spoil the return of the All-American is Kailua’s Brad Tavares.

Tavares himself will be looking to snap a two-fight losing skid to Bruno Silva and Dricus du Plessis by adding his first victory over a former champion in Weidman.

Before these latest losses, however, Tavres did have hard-fought wins over Omari Akhmedov and Antonio Carlos Junior, notably the former being Weidman’s latest win as well.

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Betting Odds

Oddsmakers are seemingly betting against a successful comeback for the former champion

  • Chris Weidman: +215 (BetUS)
  • Brad Tavares: -270 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Chris Weidman has always been and still is a very well-rounded fighter. However, his bread and butter is his high-level wrestling, having been a two-time NJCAA All-American and a two-time NCAA Division 1 All-American in College. His background has since been shaped by the duo of Serra-Longo to create a mixed martial arts style where his heavy wrestling base leads to knockouts and submissions in any area.

In recent years, Weidman has also spent extensive time training with his brother-in-law, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, integrating some of his karate-style footwork, although Weidman tends to open with this bouncy movement early on before fatigue and the chaos of the fight leaves it forgotten later on. Weidman loves the single-leg entries for his takedowns, cutting the angle to finish, or chaining it to a double leg on the fence or a high crotch. He is very good at spreading his base and pinning his opponent with his head, while trying to pass to a side control cradle which allows him to take the back or re-enter on a takedown as they try to scramble up. He has a heavy mount with a very solid arm triangle and very good front chokes from the sprawl or snap-down positions.

Brad Tavares would much rather keep this fight on the feet. He has very sharp fundamental Muay Thai, sticking to the fundamentals in the most effective way possible. He is excellent at defending a strike and countering immediately, but those who are able to attack in aggressive combinations have a better chance of tagging him on the end of an exchange. He is very good in a clean one-shot-at-a-time scenario, for example, consistently fading away from a stepping cross to land a check left hook, but when his opponents can eat the hook and barrel through with another shot he gets hit.

What is most impressive about Tavares is his takedown defense, especially Weidman’s favorite – the single leg. Tavares, in a combination of athleticism, dexterity and technical know-how, is almost always able to stay on one leg, threatening the neck and shucking his leg free when he turns away. The level of balance is unique.


For Weidman to win, he has to mix up his style of takedown, Tavares is uniquely equipped to deal with his single-leg entries, but if Weidman can somehow chain those entries to the back and work him against the cage instead of shoot cleanly he has a a chance.

On top Weidman is the better pure grappler. It is notable that since his final title defence in 2015, Weidman has either won by taking his opponent down or lost by some form of TKO. Tavares does not have the innate KO ability of some of Weidman’s previous opponents but he may be in the best position he could be to spoil Weidman’s return. He can defend Weidman’s most consistent takedown better than anyone, and because Weidman does tend to sometimes throw one shot at a time, it sets Tavares up to counter more safely.

Add two years of recovery and inactivity in the cage on top of a major injury, and if Weidman has to shake off some rust, it only bodes even better for the Hawaiian.

Prediction: Brad Tavares to win (-270 at BetUS)

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