UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida" is in the books, and it turned out to be quite the spectacle.
There were calls for concerns when looking at the fight card on paper, but the main and co-main events did more than just deliver, as Chris Weidman defended his title against Lyoto Machida in a five-round battle worthy of "Fight of the Year" honors (highlights here).
In the co-headliner, Ronda Rousey dismantled Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds, defending her women's bantamweight championship and making the Canadian look like an unworthy challenger.
We get to all the juicy stuff below, with our "Great Expectations," fresh off the stands:
What We Expected: For Chris Weidman to have a tough test on his hands in a competitive fight that he would eventually win dominantly or by way of finish.
What We Learned: There's no way of guaranteeing the "All American" would have finished Machida, but the majority of observers thought he would beat him emphatically.
It definitely was starting to look that way, until Machida decided to show up for the last two rounds. Seriously, if the "Dragon" was able to show that ferociousness towards the end of the bout, why on earth didn't he start fighting like that to begin with?
Also, this isn't to say Machida didn't stand a chance. Many believed he would win. But if you had to put money down on the scrap, a lot of pundits felt as if the American -- who was undefeated at 11-0 with no real trouble thus far in UFC -- was going to get the job done.
We also learned a lot about Weidman.
We found out he can trade against anybody, and that he's the best middleweight walking the planet today. We also noticed he gasses as the battle progresses, and that he isn't too experienced when it comes to the championship rounds.
He's definitely going to be working on a few things later this week in the gym, yet it was important to prove his wins over Anderson Silva were legit. Some still call them a fluke, and to be honest, some will still feel as if Weidman has more to prove as a champion after his commanding win over Machida.
Yes, he took damage, but to call the challenger forward in the last few seconds meant that the champion was game to keep going. We learned about his heart, even though there's still plenty of work to do at 185 pounds.
In spite of that, who would have predicted their contest to be a "Fight of the Year" candidate?
What We Expected: For Rousey to obliterate Alexis Davis in a one-sided beatdown
What We Learned: Still, it was somewhat shocking to watch.
There were concerns about Rousey's striking, and if she would be able to stand against an opponent for a round or two.
She definitely didn't have to, but hearing how her coach Edmond Tarverdyan talked about her dropping boxing champions in the past (guessing it was Vic Darchinyan), it piqued our curiosity quite a bit.
Anyhow, to say "Rowdy" isn't the best female fighter in the world after that demolition is ludicrous. It looked as if she knocked out "Ally-Gator" six times in 10 seconds, and winning in that fashion was insane.
Fireworks were expected, but when the explosion is louder than you expect it to be, it still leaves you stunned.
We also learned that the champion would maul Cat Zingano, Holly Holm, or even Cristiane Justino -- although that last one is still questionable, for some.
Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione Cancellation
Thank the heavens Stefan Struve's fainting spell happened backstage before his contest, because if something like that were to happen inside the cage, it would have been downright horrifying.
"Skyscraper" showed a lot of guts to come back after his health issues, and it was sad to see something like that happen to him.
This writer is the furthest thing from a doctor, so he's not going to pretend like he knows how the situation should have been handled last Sat. night, or if the Dutchman should ever continue fighting. The most important part is that the gifted youngster feels fine today, and hopefully continues to feel good.
Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos
He didn't look like the dominant fighter who was blitzing a number of unfortunate souls on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, and who knows if we'll ever see that guy again.
You have to credit Hall for being a warrior, continuing his bout after his toe was one angle away from looking like a pretzel. Still, it was odd to see him continue, because if we learned anything about fighter safety prior to his bout, it's that when someone suffers an injury inside the cage, the bout is almost guaranteed to be over.
For goodness sake, Jon Jones was a minute away from losing his light heavyweight title to Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 because of his gnarly toe.
Again... not a doctor.
Maybe you can throw that out the window because "Prime Time" fought through it and won, yet just because Joe Rogan is warping your mind to believe the doctors should have left Hall alone, it doesn't mean he was right.
In conclusion, UFC 175 was beginning to look like a clusterfuck leading up to the event, since three of the card's major players were exiled because of drugs.
Last Saturday night reminded us why we still love MMA, alongside the fresh memories we still have regarding T.J. Dillashaw's upset over Renan Barao at UFC 173.
I can't disagree, but I will say this: we put up with a lot of crap to follow the sport these days. Apart from incredibly shady drug issues which convinced one top star to leave, we're bombarded with cruel main events, a burgeoning roster full of people who aren't exactly deserving of their place, and constant lies from promoters who feel like their product is the best thing since sliced bread -- while refusing to pay some of the most popular fighters their deserved dollars.
Goddammit, we deserved that. On second note, we can't be too demanding, but weren't nights like Saturday what brought us all here in the first place, at one time or another?
For extensive coverage of UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida," including highlights, post-fight recaps, and more, click here.