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Silva to meet Diaz at UFC 183

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Anderson 'The Spider' Silva will make his return to the Octagon on Jan. 31 when he'll face Nick Diaz in the main event at UFC 183. The promotion announced the bout on July 29.

Bovada.lv opened Silva as a -240 favorite, while Diaz was a +190 underdog (risk $100 to win $190). But those numbers didn't last long. As of early this afternoon (July 30), Bovada had adjusted Silva to -350 against Diaz (+265). 5Dimes.eu has 'The Spider' at -405 with Diaz at +285 on the comeback.

Silva will make his comeback 13 months after sustaining one of the most gruesome injuries in mixed martial arts history. During the second round of his rematch with Chris Weidman on Dec. 28 of 2013, a legkick from Silva was checked by Weidman and the result was horrifying.

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Think of all the wild leg injuries we've seen in football, from Joe Theismann to Marcus Lattimore, Tyrone Prothro and Willis McGahee. Silva's injury was similar, as he suffered a fractured tibia and fibula.

The future of the 39-year-old Silva, who many consider to the be the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, was left in serious doubt. However, his recovery has gone remarkably well.

Silva will try to avoid a three-fight losing streak in his matchup with Diaz. The Brazilian won his first 16 UFC fights, shattering just about every record in the promotion's history, before dropping back-to-back fights to Weidman.

Diaz hasn't fought since getting dominated by Georges St. Pierre in a unanimous-decision loss at UFC 153 on March 16 of 2013. His layoff has been self-induced due to a lack of interest in fighting for anything but a title or against a huge name like Silva.

Alas, Diaz has the fight he wants and Dana White indicated yesterday that he could get a title shot with a win over Silva. Diaz signed a three-fight contract extension with the UFC last week.

Diaz, the former Strikeforce middleweight kingpin, had won 11 consecutive fights before dropping a UD to Carlos Condit in his second fight upon returning to the UFC. Diaz's first bout since Zuffa purchased Strikeforce was a dominant win over B.J. Penn.

After the loss to Condit, Diaz finally got his shot at GSP. But Diaz couldn't defend the former welterweight champ's takedowns, nor could he mount any offense from off of his back.

Although Diaz's layoff would seem disconcerting, I'm not sure bettors should be as concerned about Diaz compared to other fighters. That's because this guy stays in unbelievable shape 365 days a year. Even though he hasn't fought, he's been sparring and training consistently with the likes of Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez and his brother, Nate Diaz.

Even though Silva and Diaz are both sporting two-fight losing streaks, their exciting and similar styles, in addition to the curiosity about how they'll respond to their long absences from the Octagon, will make this one of the most anticipated fights in 2015.

  
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