Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman believes he can recapture past magic, even as Father Time appears to be growing increasingly hostile toward him.
The Serra-Longo Fight Team standout will attempt to put a two-fight losing streak behind him when he meets Omari Akhmedov in the UFC Fight Night 174 co-main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The three-round confrontation carries profound implications for two men who are trending in opposite directions.
Weidman has suffered five defeats—all by knockout—across his past six outings after starting his career 11-0. He last competed at UFC on ESPN 6 in October, when an ill-fated move to the light heavyweight division resulted in his being stopped by Dominick Reyes in just 103 seconds. Weidman has now gone more than three years between victories, his July 2017 arm-triangle choke submission of Kelvin Gastelum looking more like an anomaly with each passing day.
Akhmedov, meanwhile, finds himself on a three-fight winning streak. The American Top Team rep enjoyed a perfect 2019 campaign, which culminated with his unanimous decision over former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Ian Heinisch at UFC 245 on Dec. 14. Akhmedov’s surge has him knocking on the door to the Top 10 at 185 pounds.
As Weidman and Akhmedov approach their encounter, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
36: Years of age for Weidman, who was born in Baldwin, New York, on June 17, 1984.
889: Days spent as middleweight champion for Weidman, the second-longest reign of all-time at 185 pounds. Anderson Silva, the man he dethroned, holds the record at 2,457 days.
2: All-America selections as a collegiate wrestler at Hofstra University, where Weidman placed sixth nationally in 2006 and third in 2007. He was also a two-time All-American at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York.
4: Weidman wins over former UFC champions, all inside a two-year window. He has defeated Silva (twice), Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida.
95: Seconds needed for Weidman to submit Reubem Lopes with a kimura in his professional debut at Ring of Combat 23 on Feb. 20, 2009. It remains the fastest finish of his 16-fight career.
32: Years of age for Akhmedov, who was born on Oct. 12, 1987 in Kizlyar, Russia—a town of less than 50,000 in the Republic of Dagestan.
8: Countries in which Akhmedov has competed as a professional mixed martial artist. He has gone 11-1 in Russia, 4-2-1 in the United States, 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates, 1-0 in Sweden, 1-0 in Australia, 1-0 in Brazil, 1-0 in Ukraine and 0-1 in England.
5: Akhmedov wins by submission, accounting for 25 percent of his career total. The accomplished sambo practitioner tapped Ishkhan Zakharian with a rear-naked choke on Jan. 30, 2010, dismissed Mikhail Istomin with an armbar on Oct. 1, 2011, subdued Aleksander Boyko with a triangle choke on May 9, 2012, put away Sergey Karpov with a guillotine choke on Oct. 21, 2012 and dropped a guillotine on Fabricio Nascimento on May 11, 2013.
1: Draw on the Akhmedov ledger. He fought Marvin Vettori to a three-round stalemate at UFC 219 after surrounding a 10-8 third round on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
12: First-round finishes to Akhmedov’s credit. They include two sub-minute stoppages: a 20-second technical knockout of Talekh Nadzhafzade under the Governors Cup banner in 2012 and his 53-second submission of Nascimento at a Nord Desant event a little more than a year later.