Who said you can't have a card that revolves around your champions?
UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida" took place last night (Sat., July 5, 2014) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and despite the slow start on pay-per-view (PPV), the headlining fights were batshit crazy.
In the main event, Chris Weidman defended his middleweight championship against Lyoto Machida in a five-round war, proving he's indeed the real deal.
It looked as if the "All American" laid down the blueprint to beat his foe in the first round, and he simply had to rinse and repeat. Machida had nothing for the champion, and things were looking a little grim for the Brazilian.
In the last two rounds, the "Dragon" surprised Weidman by finding his range, clocking him with some severe blows and had the champ in trouble. The last round was full of nail-biting action that had observers on the edge of their seats, as both competitors left it all in the cage in a "fight of the year" performance.
Ronda Rousey took care of business in the co-main event, stopping Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds.
"Rowdy" came out swinging, decking the Canadian with a solid punch and then kneed "Ally-Gator" before completing a beautiful Judo throw, and proceeded to punch her in the face multiple times.
Davis was out of it, and tried to fight Yves Lavigne for several seconds after the bout was over.
Also on the main card, Uriah Hall defeated Thiago Santos by unanimous decision, suffering from a broken toe. The doctors somehow let "Prime Time" continue, and he showed immense heart, despite fighter safety being throw out the window.
Speaking of which, Stefan Struve had to be turned over to medical personnel after fainting backstage, and his fight against Matt Mitrione was waived off. "Skyscraper" was making his return after 16 months of inactivity, suffering from heart issues.
That said, it's time to name UFC 175's biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups):
Biggest Winner -- Ronda Rousey
If there was one thing we still weren't 100-percent sure about, it was Rousey's striking. Sure, she finished Sara McMann with a body shot, but exactly how good was her boxing?
Well, that pretty much summed it up for us.
Rousey clocked Davis with a right hand, then landed a knee before throwing her straight to hell with her Judo skills. The champ then blasted the Canadian with unanswered shots, defending her bantamweight title in just 16 seconds.
And she did it with a bum knee.
It was the second fastest finish in a UFC title fight, and whether you believed it or not beforehand, "Rowdy" is undoubtedly the organization's biggest star.
I'd still say Jon Jones is the best fighter on the planet, yet Rousey is simply a rock star who gets paid to compete professionally in a sport called MMA.
It was pretty awful for UFC to ask Rousey to headline UFC 176, but don't fool yourself, either. She said she was down, and if the right opponent comes through (who would have to be either Cat Zingano or Holly Holm), the promotion would love nothing more than for that card to be salvaged. In spite of that, before the broadcast went off air, the cameras showed Rousey with stitches on her right hand, which basically rules out any possibility of fighting that soon.
On the flip side, who in God's name is going to defeat her?
Runner Up -- Chris Weidman
Since Weidman was in arguably the "fight of the year" at UFC 175, he's going to be included on this list and trumps Uriah Hall for this tag, even if the latter won with a broken toe.
Last night was validation for the "All American," who needed to prove he belonged as a champion. Those wins over Anderson Silva didn't convince everyone, but his war against Machida should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that he's the best middleweight on the planet.
Apart from dominating the Brazilian in the first three rounds, the American had to show great adversity in order to continue fighting, since he was gassing and took the most damage he's ever endured in his UFC career.
However, the New Yorker finished strong (apart from Machida's Hail Mary attempt at the end), defending his middleweight title for the second time in what was his most difficult battle.
He also holds the second longest active win streak in UFC right now, clocking in at eight.
Long live America.
Biggest Loser -- Alexis Davis
Hey, at least she tried.
It took "Rowdy" just over a quarter of a minute to throw Davis out like the trash, and it's sad since UFC's marketing is an incredibly flawed system. After watching the co-main event obliteration, how could you say "Ally-Gator" was the toughest test of the champion's career?
Davis looked mad shook in the opening seconds, hesitant to beat Rousey to the punch (literally).
The challenger had her three-fight winning streak snapped, but this loss isn't the death of her. That doesn't mean she'll get a title shot again, but she could most probably beat three quarters of the other bantamweights in her division.
In spite of that, maybe that says something more about the current competition than her skills.
Runner Up -- Lyoto Machida
He came close, but no cigar.
Machida started the fight poorly, and he was getting dominated pretty badly. The Brazilian wasn't able to find his range, and despite finding a little more success in the later rounds, Weidman kept pressuring him and took him down at will.
He was even cut open and busted up; something we don't often see happen to the former UFC light heavyweight champion. You have to give him credit for almost accomplishing a massive comeback, but Machida was simply too late.
It wasn't his worst defeat ever, since he was knocked out by Mauricio Rua at UFC 113 and submitted by Jon Jones at UFC 140 a few years back, yet the "Dragon" clearly lost the scrap.
The Brazilian fails to become only the third guy to hold titles in multiple weight classes, although don't be surprised if the dude gets another title fight in the near future.
That's a wrap.
For extensive coverage of UFC 175, including post-fight recaps, video highlights, and more, click here.