Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) successfully delivered on its year-end mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza with UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" last night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It was a horrific night for former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who lost to the current kingpin Chris Weidman for the second time in a row after the Brazilian broke his leg in the second round. Silva immediately fell down and grasped his leg in severe pain, perhaps signaling the end of a storied and accomplished career.
The women's Bantamweight championship match earned "Fight of the Night" honors, with Rousey banking another $75,000 for "Submission of the Night."
Before all the MMA action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to the Outback. Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But, as we've done before, let us look at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage on Saturday night.
"I'm fighting Anderson Silva. I expected the first time to be the underdog, and I expected this time to be the underdog. I don't want to be the guy who retires him. That's not my plan at all. I have a lot of respect for him. I want him to do great things after me. Even after I beat him again, I still want him to be known as the greatest of all-time. I don't think this fight changes anything."
-- Weidman kept it classy and respectful ahead of his main event showdown with Silva, however Weidman may have retired Silva unintentionally. Yes, it was Silva who threw the kick, but having checked the kick with his knee, Weidman left no doubt in the observer's minds that he is the man to beat at Middleweight, showing the world that he will probably will not be an under dog anymore against his next title challenges.
"Maybe ... maybe. I don't know. I have a great, great chance for stopping the fight."
-- Silva raised a few eyebrows with his pre-fight interview with Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting.com. And after last night's episode, all fingers point to retirement for the 38-year old legend. Walking to the Octagon, he paused a few times to crouch down and those views were met with optimism by onlookers. Only Silva knows how he truly felt on the inside, but after seeing his injury, the future looks incredibly bleak for "The Spider."
"Miesha has a nice ass and she has an ongoing rivalry with me and that's the only reason she was picked for this fight. The rivalry is why she is even around. It's not because of her athletic merit. She really has to play that part of it up (rivalry) because that's all she really has. She has to make it personal because you can't make it an athletic rivaly because there really is no comparison. I'm an Olympic athlete and she's a high school wrestler."
-- Rousey verbally unloaded on Tate, who found herself as an injury replacement not only on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18, but in this co-main event contest, too. Say what you must about looks, however, Tate did deserve the spot simply because this rivalry was too sweet to turn down. It was a match made in pro wrestling, and the back-and-forth fight did not disappoint, either.
"It's never too early to train and practice that gameplan over and over and over, I'm going to beat it into my skull if I have to. Swear to God, she's not going to armbar me if it's the last thing I do. I will seriously shoot myself in the face before I leave that cage if she armbars me again. It can't happen ... That's what I'm going to do from now until December 28, it's going to be an anti-judo camp."
-- You have to admire Tate's dedication and pre-fight mumbling, yet why did she initiate grappling sequences? If Tate really wanted to avoid the judo exhibitions, she should have kept her distance and made it a kickboxing match. Maybe it was an ego thing ... who knows.
"I'm going to use the same philosophy in that last fight against Mir and imagine his head is a giant maple bar and just go after it. I mean...I wouldn't let a doughnut run from me for nothing."
-- Despite his past, Barnett is seriously one of the funnest fighters in the world. His pre-fight interviews are golden and his demeanor is simply too entertaining. However, if we are to break down this quote, it was Travis Browne who imagined Barnett's head as a giant maple bar, decking him with elbows until Barnett went out cold. It was an unfortunate night for "The Warmaster," and hopefully, we can hear his words again sooner rather than later.
For complete UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" results and fight coverage, click here.