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UFC 175: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida preview

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According to a July 3 report from CBS Sports, undefeated UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman (11-0) puts his title on the line against former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida (21-4) in the main event of UFC 175 in Las Vegas, Nev. Weidman vs. Machida has been hyped for months, and its expected to be one of the most-watched UFC fights of the year. Historically, the UFC reserves its best cards for July 4th weekend, and that's exactly what has happened with UFC 175.

Lately the UFC has featured some watered down pay-per-view cards, with just one or two fights to get excited about. UFC 175 is the first time in 2014 that the promotion has stepped it up with a main card filled with must-watch bouts. Besides Weidman vs. Machida, UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey puts her title on the line against Alexis Davis in the co-main. Elsewhere on the UFC 175 card, Urijah Faber takes on Alex Cacares.

As for the UFC 175 main event, there's a lot on the line for both men. Machida could put himself in extremely rare company by beating Weidman, as it would make him just one of three men to have held UFC belts in two different weight classes. So far, only B.J. Penn and Randy Couture have done so. For Weidman, the fight against Machida is a chance for him to prove he's a legit champion.

Weidman has faced some criticism from fight fans, because his only notable wins have been against Mark Munoz and an aging Anderson Silva. He hasn't beaten any other true legends of the sport, so some have questioned his status. A win over Machida wouldn't make Weidman an all-time great, but it would be a big name to put on his resume. If Weidman is able to beat Machida and then advance to defeat Vitor Belfort, he would undoubtedly quiet the critics for good.

Machida is on a nice little hot streak since moving down to middleweight. No longer is he frustratingly patient. He comes to fight every time, and now he goes for explosive finishes. Machida used to put some fans to sleep with his counter-punching style, but he has been super exciting to watch in recent years. Machida is riding a two-fight win streak.

In all likelihood, the opening round of Machida vs. Weidman will be a feeling out process. Weidman will likely shoot for a few takedowns, while Machida probably will look to figure out his range on the feet. As the fight progresses, Weidman's wrestling could play a factor, as he'll look to put Machida on his back. Machida might want to keep the fight standing, but Weidman has proven he can also be dangerous with his striking game.

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