In what would be the main event on any other pay-per-view (PPV) card, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman and No. 1 contender Luke Rockhold battled back-and-forth at UFC 194 last night (Sat., Dec. 12, 2015), until one man could no longer endure any more punishment.
To check out a full Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold fight recap click here here.
Rockhold came into their meeting inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, confident he had the skill-set to beat Weidman. Well, the 31-year-old proved his point last night ... and then some.
Not only did Rockhold outwork "All-American" on the feet, he also ravaged him on the ground.
The champion started off strong, following the feeling out process, capitalizing on a big swing and a miss from Rockhold. Weidman obtained the back of the former Strikeforce champion, but was unable to get hooks in and nearly fell off.
Rockhold took control from that point and put pressure on Weidman in the clinch, avoiding a triangle choke attempt. The Long Islander retaliated with a knee and later shot in for his first double-leg takedown of the fight.
There wasn't much doing for Weidman on the mat as the jiu-jitsu specialist Rockhold nullified his top control and got back to his feet. Weidman landed one more takedown in the first frame, but Rockhold pulled away by reversing out off of his back and settling into the champ's full guard.
Rockhold, 31, carried his success over into round two and outstruck the Serra-Longo Fight Team leader, Weidman. He tagged the collegiate wrestling standout with a big right hand that had the latter in trouble.
The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product, Rockhold, was tactical in his striking approach and utilized an array of kicks to stifle the incoming Weidman. Rockhold also displayed very good takedown defense and didn't allow Weidman to manhandle him in the clinch.
He closed out what was a significant round for him by mixing in his left hand to go with his body kicks.
Weidman, 31, came out with a sense of urgency in the third round, scoring with a solid body kick, as well as a right-left combination. Just as he seemed to be finding his groove, finding the mark with a couple of more body kicks, Weidman threw an errant wheel kick, which allowed Rockhold to grab a hold of him and drag him down to the mat.
Rockhold shined on the ground, first taking the back of Weidman, before transitioning to full mount. He rode out the round and nearly finished the fight by landing vicious elbows that cut up the face of Weidman.
Weidman came out in round four dazed and confused, essentially gift-wrapping the clinch to Rockhold, who notched the body-lock takedown and then poured on the ground and pound. Weidman had nowhere to go and was pinned up against the fence.
Rockhold stepped over into side control and blasted Weidman with elbows until referee Herb Dean saw enough, calling the tussle at the 3:12 mark of the fourth round.
He runs his win streak up to five and becomes the seventh new champion crowned in 2015. Weidman suffers his first career loss and will have to go back to the drawing board.
What a time to be a UFC fan ... Whoa!
For complete coverage of the entire UFC 194: "Aldo vs. McGregor" fight card, including post-fight recaps and analysis, click here.