UFC 168 and UFC 162 were similar ... yet so different: Why Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva deserves to be a 'trilogy'

USA TODAY Sports

UFC 168 is in the books. And even though Anderson Silva is a staggering 0-2 against current middleweight champion Chris Weidman, the saga between the two deserves a third encounter. And not for the reason(s) you might think.

UFC 168 and UFC 162 will forever be synonymous with the word "shocking," albeit Saturday's offering in the main event rematch between Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva was much different than its predecessor (watch full fight video highlights here).

The two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) cards, which were both headlined by Weidman and Silva, ended with the 30-year-old undefeated American besting the Brazilian mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran, who is widely regarded as the greatest of all time.

While the record books will show a victory for Weidman on both cards, the Hofstra University graduate might not be 100 percent content with how his story with "The Spider" came to an end.

That's because the first encounter between the two Middleweight superstars was widely regarded by some as a "fluke" or a "lucky punch." Regardless, the finish was decisive and left nothing open to interpretation (unlike the controversial UFC 167 main event between Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks for comparison). Indeed, Silva was knocked out cold after famously dropping his hands as he often has in the past.

UFC 168's ending was similarly decisive, but not nearly as conclusive.

After almost being finished in the first round by Weidman, Silva came out for the second frame looking to get himself back into the bout. He seemed to be doing so, but two seconds sooner than the UFC 162 stoppage (1:16), Silva broke his right shin after Weidman successfully checked a kick.

Naturally, it ended the fight because the 38-year-old obviously could not continue. But, will he continue his career?

That's the million-dollar question less than 48 hours removed from the freak accident. However, if he does -- and the New York native is able to hold onto his title against a plethora of challengers in the 185-pound division -- Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 3 should happen.

Not because both men have each won a bout as is usually the case with three-part trilogies. But rather because of the way the second chapter ended. Who knows what could have happened during the next 20 or more minutes inside the Octagon. Sure, Weidman won the first round, but to counter that rationale look no further than what occurred during Chael Sonnen's first attempt at dethroning Silva at UFC 117.

"The Spider" ended up victorious with a Hail Mary submission in round five.

No one wanted the pay-per-view (PPV) to end in that manner ... not even Weidman. UFC President Dana White has said that before signing the original contract to fight Silva, the current champ said "when he won" he wanted "an immediate" rematch to prove the first time was no fly-by-night result.

A broken shin doesn't exactly scream definitive.

Weidman deserved to win. Silva threw a kick and he was prepared to check it; however, it's a freak accident that rarely happens in combat sports. The third encounter needs to happen, not now, but someday, as there will always be lingering doubt, no matter how infinitesimal, that Silva had all the ability in the world -- and four rounds -- to right his ship at UFC 168 before the injury.

If nothing else, Silva has earned the opportunity ... if he wants it.

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