HIGHLIGHTS! To watch Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold full fight video highlights from UFC 194 last night click here.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight studs Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold squared off last night (Dec. 12, 2015) at UFC 194 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Having already defended his title successfully a number of times, Weidman was approaching legendary status. By turning away one of the biggest threats to his title, Weidman would really solidify his already iron hold on the crown.
Rockhold entered this bout with plenty of momentum himself. One of the most devastating finishers in the division, Rockhold was planning to dominate the champion.
After a brief exchange of kicks, Weidman shot in for a takedown and took his opponent's back standing. After some excellent grappling from both men, Rockhold escaped and found himself pressuring Weidman into the clinch.
Weidman landed a brief takedown, but Rockhold again worked back to his feet. After the two stalled out on the ground from a guillotine position, the fighters returned to their fight with about 40 seconds remaining. Rockhold immediately landed a vicious body kick and countered a takedown with a guillotine choke, finishing the round in top position.
On the whole, this was an extremely close round, and an argument could be made for either man
Rockhold started the next round strong, stunning his opponent with his usual right hook then landing some hard left kicks. Next, Rockhold defended a deep clinch attempt and returned to the center of the cage.
For the rest of the round, Weidman tried to walk his opponent down, but he absorbed a ton of kicks from his opponent. In addition, Rockhold's counter punching game was on point, as he caught Weidman clean a number of times.
Though both men were starting to slow down a bit, this was a huge round for Rockhold.
Weidman opened the third round with pressure and kicks, eventually opening up a takedown. Rockhold worked back to his feet quickly, moving back to distance and trading shots with the champion.
Weidman picked up some momentum, but Rockhold capitalized on one of his opponent's kicks by taking his opponent down into the back mount. Weidman flattened into mount, where Rockhold absolutely battered his opponent until the end of the round.
For the last 30 seconds of the round, Weidman absorbed a hellacious beating and barely survived. The fight was very nearly called off, and Rockhold undoubtedly earned a 10-8 round.
Rockhold pressed his opponent with some punches and went for a takedown, but Weidman blatantly grabbed the fence to stay standing. However, Rockhold kept the deep clinch and eventually succeeded in completing the takedown.
This time around, Weidman managed to get back to full guard, but Rockhold kept heavy top pressure and landed some powerful ground strikes. Before long, Rockhold was standing above his opponent and dropping bombs, which forced his opponent to open the guard.
Once that happened, Rockhold quickly passed into mount. From there, he hammered away at Weidman, who was barely moving at this point. Before long, Herb Dean called a stop to the fight, as Weidman simply had nothing left.
This was a great performance by the new champion, as he handed an incredible tough fighter his first ever loss. On the whole, this was a case of Rockhold simply being more effective with his strikes. Both men landed a ton of shots, but Weidman's body broke down first.
And don't let anyone tell you different: Weidman did not quit, break, or give up.
Though Rockhold did a number of things extremely well, his jiu-jitsu impressed me most. Rockhold used the guillotine to defend his opponent's takedown and reverse position, and once he got on top, Rockhold was -- to quote the champion -- "on another level." He was simply dominant from top position and did a ridiculous amount of damage in a short amount of time.
Next up for Rockhold? Yoel Romero.
I can't fault Weidman too much, as the man fought his heart out. He landed plenty of hard shots, and they definitely took their toll on his opponent.
However, I think that trying to take Rockhold down was poor game planning. Considering Rockhold's stellar takedown defense, scrambling, and jiu-jitsu, the takedown was not likely to result in any major damage for Weidman. Instead, he exhausted himself against a man known for his impeccable conditioning, and it didn't even allow him to do any damage.
Instead, Weidman should've been trying to knock Rockhold out from the beginning. Rockhold -- even after overcoming a nasty infection, according to his post-fight interview -- had the deeper gas tank, and that means Weidman either needed to finish early or at least do a ton of damage while he was fresh.
After this loss, Weidman will undoubtedly need some time to recover. He doesn't need a major step back in competition on his return, as Weidman will surely want to jump right back into the swing of things. For example, a fighter with either Michael Bisping or Gegard Mousasi would make sense.
Last night, Luke Rockhold demolished Chris Weidman at the end of an incredible battle. How long can the former Strikeforce kingpin hold onto his new belt?
For complete UFC 194: "Aldo vs McGregor" results and play-by-play, click HERE!