Coveted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight gold was on the line when champion Chris Weidman took on Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 175 last night (Sat., July 5, 2014) from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To watch full fight video highlights of Weidman vs. Machida right now click here.
Weidman came in off a dramatic feud with all-time great Anderson Silva. He knocked out "The Spider" with a shocking left hook at UFC 162, and followed it up with a gruesome technical knockout win when Silva broke his leg at UFC 168.
There were questions about the legitimacy of the undefeated champion's reign, and he sought to answer them by defeating the surging No. 3-ranked Machida.
The former light heavyweight champion had looked unstoppable after cutting down to middleweight, picking apart Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36 after he finished Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30.
It promised to be war, and it delivered. When the anticipated bout was over with, Weidman emerged as the clear-cut king of one of the most talented divisions in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). Let's take a look back at Weidman's latest defining win.
Weidman came out with a couple kicks that missed. He landed an inside leg kick and had a body kick blocked. Machida was expectedly patient, and Weidman surprisingly kept up a high volume of kicks. Weidman grabbed a kick to go for a takedown, but Machida fought it off to clinch briefly.
Weidman snapped another low kick and landed a knee. A flurry ensued with Weidman landed a Superman punch, cutting off "The Dragon's" angles with a kick.
He stayed aggressive as planned with more kicks. Machida ate a low kick to snap a counter left hand, following with a high kick attempt. Weidman landed a kick to the ribs and a front kick to the solar plexus. The champ continued to confidently press the pace as the exciting first round came to a close.
Machida landed a low kick to start the second. Weidman continued to cut off Machida's angles, refusing to platy "The Dragon's" game. Weidman snapped a counter, rushing forward with a combo that Machida barely got out of the way of. Machida landed a big left hand, but Weidman responded with a shot of his own.
Machida appeared to be finding his rhythm a bit as Weidman slowed down. Machida missed with an uppercut before Weidman scored with a jumping front kick. Machida had a high kick blocked and landed a hard left. Weidman rushed forward to drag down Machida with a double leg, scoring with ground and pound. He stood up to land some knees at the conclusion of the second.
The third began with Weidman pouring on the pressure as "The Dragon" missed another head kick. Weidman couldn't secure two takedown attempts but persevered to transition some strikes into a successful slam. Weidman took Machida's back but Machida escaped. The fighters traded, with Weidman landing some big shots that opened up Machida.
An exchange ensued, and Machida landed a big knee before he was taken down. He landed some ground and pound and picked up Machida in a huge suplex. Machida got up to throw a kick to end a strong third round for the champion.
Machida snapped some kicks in the fourth frame, but Weidman found a home for more punches. Weidman got a brief single leg takedown that Machida quickly broke free of.
Then it was finally time for "The Dragon" to spring to life.
He snapped a huge counter left, following with another. Weidman was in trouble, backing up and eating shots as he was legitimately damaged for the first time in UFC. Machida scored with body kicks and a left hand. Weidman landed some shots of his own, but it was suddenly a dogfight. Weidman had a takedown stuffed and ate some punches to close out a huge round for Machida.
Weidman got dropped with an inside leg kick to start the final round. Machida landed a body kick and pressed forward with a combo.
Weidman's body was battered and bruised. He ate two hard left hands and failed with a takedown. Machida swarmed on the fence as Weidman looked tired.
However, Weidman scored a right hand and a left, never backing down and wobbling Machida. "The Dragon" ate a low kick, a knee, and a huge elbow.
The sluggers traded as Weidman rushed forward with a power double leg. He went to work to mount Machida, taking his back to land some elbows. Weidman flattened out "The Dragon," but he somehow got back to his feet. Machida landed huge shots and knees to land batter Weidman as the insane fight came to a close.
Weidman took home a hard-fought unanimous decision, and a date with Vitor Belfort should be up next for him. He found himself in danger when Machida poured on the damage in the fourth, and he persevered like a true champion to land some huge shots in the fifth round.
The sky's the limit for the undefeated titleholder, and he could be the huge star that the promotion is starving for.
Machida fought valiantly yet clearly lost. He had Weidman on the ropes, but like the knock on Machida goes, he simply failed to get his momentum going early enough. When his counterstriking scores him a huge knockout, it's called some of the best ever. When it doesn't work, he's criticized for being too timid.
Regardless, he'll rebound strong against another top-level opponent. Perhaps he could fight Luke Rockhold when the former Strikeforce champ returns from the broken toe he suffered demolishing Tim Boetsch at UFC 172.
Chris Weidman picked up a huge win by defeating a game Lyoto Machida in UFC 175's headliner. We saw the champion in danger for a first time, but he showed the heart of a lion. Will he do the same thing against Vitor Belfort?