Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contenders Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi collided last night (April 8, 2017) at UFC 210 inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Weidman’s fall in the last couple years has been rough. He moved from an undefeated champion to a man with consecutive knockout losses, admittedly to an incredible level of talent. Nevertheless, this was a huge, must-win fight for the former kingpin. As for Mousasi, this was his big chance to step into the title mix. Mousasi has been in the rankings pretty much since his UFC debut, but he’s never been able to make the final step to potentially earn a title shot.
Mousasi opened with some sharp counter punches, but Weidman landed a slick single leg takedown. However, Mousasi was able to return to his feet quickly, and he went back on the offensive. Another single leg brought him to the mat, but Mousasi again scrambled quickly to his feet.
Weidman was relentless with his wrestling assault. He was unable to truly finish and control any takedowns, but he kept the pressure on. Both fighters were slowing due to the exhausting wrestling, which allowed the two to land hard shots.
It was a close, back-and-forth round, but Weidman likely earned the nod due to his control.
The two fighters wasted no time in starting the second round. Mousasi immediately controlled range with a sharp jab, but he then exploded into a big combination that stunned his opponent. Nevertheless, Weidman hung tough and eventually landed a big single leg of his own.
This time, Weidman was able to secure back mount. However, Mousasi then scrambled back to his feet, and the two went back to trading. A couple knees from Mousasi landed, and they led to some real controversy.
At the time, it was very difficult to determine whether the knees were legal. The ref at first called a break, indicating that it was an illegal knee. However, on replay, it was revealed that Mousasi lifted his opponent’s hands off the mat, meaning the strikes were allowed. Since Weidman was already given a lot of time to recover from legal blows, it was ultimately called a knockout in Mousasi’s favor.
It’s unfortunate that they weren’t allowed to simply restart.
It’s not ultimately relevant, but in this analyst’s opinion, the momentum was clearly in Mousasi’s corner at the time of the stoppage. Both men exhausted themselves in the grappling exchanges early, which led to lots of — somewhat sloppy at times — striking exchanges.
That’s Mousasi’s wheelhouse. He had already rocked Weidman once in the second, and the knees of questioning legality did real damage as well.
The fight was definitely still up for grabs, but if someone must be awarded the victory, Mousasi was more deserving.
Moving forward, a rematch is possible. If not, Mousasi is at most one fight away from a title shot. Any other top five opponent would be a reasonable challenge.
As for Weidman, this is a devastating result. Controversy aside, he’s now lost three straight fights via knockout, and the blueprint to defeating him is being established. Weidman is at his most dangerous early, but he tends to fade if he’s not able to dominate the early portion of the fight.
If you make him work — which Rockhold, Romero, and now Mousasi successfully did — things will only get easier.
Whether Weidman receives a rematch or not, he needs to make some kind of adjustment to fix this flaw. Otherwise, he’s going to continue to eat shots in the second half of fights opposite elite competition.
Last night, Gegard Mousasi scored a very controversial knockout. Will there be a rematch, or will Mousasi move onto bigger things?
For complete UFC 210: “Cormier vs. Johnson” results and play-by-play, click HERE!