Last night (Dec. 28, 2013) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and former champ Anderson Silva faced off in their long-awaited rematch in the main event of UFC 168 from MGM Grand Garden Arena.
To watch full fight video highlights for Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva right now click here.
The bout was a critical showdown that was set to either solidify Weidman's reign or prove that Silva's prior loss to "All-American" at UFC 162 was a fluke. After showboating his way to getting knocked out in July, many picked Silva to return with a much more serious demeanor and regain the belt.
And he did take the fight more seriously.
He just couldn't get the belt back. In the end, Weidman took home another second round stoppage over a reeling "Spider," but it wasn't in expected fashion. Silva ultimately succumbed to a broken leg (see pic here) that will go down as one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Let's take a look back at the fight and the bizarre ending to one of the most heated feuds UFC has ever seen.
The bout began tentatively with Weidman scoring the first points on an early takedown. Silva got back up rather easily to land a few knees to the body of "All-American." An exchange followed and Weidman dropped Silva with a sharp right hand behind the temple.
Weidman rushed in to rain down effective ground and pound, finding a home for a plethora of hard punches and elbows. For a moment, it looked like Silva would be finished in the first. "Spider" weathered the storm and threw several strikes from bottom position but they didn't have much on them. Weidman continued to dominate as the opening stanza wore down.
Silva threw a good leg kick to open the second frame. "Spider" moved forward to throw a few punches that missed. Weidman responded with a good body kick. Silva fought back with a kick of his own. Weidman checked it and Silva fell to the ground in obvious pain. Referee Herb Dean stepped in to call the fight off and replays showed that Silva had snapped his leg in two with the kick.
It was a wholly anticlimactic conclusion to one of the most hyped and followed rivalries in UFC history. There's not a lot of doubt that Weidman is the cream of the middleweight crop, but once again there's going to be a ton of discussion as to the circumstances surrounding his win. He was the better man tonight despite winning by way of an extremely unfortunate accident.
But, none of that matters at this point.
Weidman will move on to face to surging contender Vitor Belfort, who Dana White has declared the next title contender in a division that has quickly become crowded near the top. There are a ton of interesting bouts for "All-American." If he gets past "Phenom," bouts with Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza await.
The future is bright for "All-American," but his work is far from over.
For Silva the loss will most likely spell the end of his illustrious career. His cringe-inducing broken leg required immediate surgery according to White. At 38-years-old, it's both unlikely and unfortunate that Silva probably won't ever return to championship level. It's an undeserving ending for a fighter who will still go down as a legend in MMA. Some will always argue that Silva lost the first bout for himself and the second one by accident, but the fact remains that Weidman earned both victories regardless of any controversy. Silva may return to the Octagon one day but it's hard to imagine that he'll be the same "Spider" we've grown accustomed to.
Last night was a sad one for MMA. All champions fade eventually and 2013 turned out to be a time of transition for the young sport.
Chris Weidman retained his belt with his second win over Anderson Silva at UFC 168. It came when "Spider" unfortunately broke his leg with a kick. Did you think Weidman would have won anyway?