Without question, all 12,399 fight fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas got their money’s worth on Saturday night. So did everyone watching on pay-per-view, as Chris Weidman dethroned Anderson Silva in shocking fashion to become the new UFC middleweight champion.
This fight was over a year in the making, and no one can dispute that it surpassed all expectations and will be one of the most memorable battles to ever take place inside the Octagon.
It is perhaps the biggest upset in the sport’s history since Fabricio Werdum defeated Fedor Emelianenko by triangle choke back in February of 2011. Without a doubt, it was the biggest upset in the UFC since Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre by knockout in April of 2007 (both UFC upsets coming from Team Serra-Longo).
What made the upset even more shocking, is the fact that Weidman knocked Silva out, which is something even those who picked the Long Island middleweight never expected.
The recipe for Weidman to become the new middleweight champ was to get Silva to the ground and wear him down or look for a submission. In the first round Weidman did just that. He secured a takedown, landed some big punches and attempted a knee bar followed by a heel hook.
To stand with the most dangerous striker the sport has ever seen would’ve been foolish and led to an early evening. Except, after Silva got back to his feet, that’s what Weidman did. He entered into the world where many before him were lulled into before being knocked out in emphatic fashion.
Silva taunted him at the end of the first and before the second round even began. Weidman didn’t blink. He stayed on course, didn’t charge in with reckless abandon and didn’t lose his cool.
Weidman remained patient, and when Silva continued to show no respect by dropping his hands, he laid him out with a left hook, followed by a huge right hand to end his night for good at the 1:18 mark of the second round. Weidman would earn an additional $50,000 for “Knockout of the Night” honors.
Seeing Silva laid out on the floor of the Octagon is a sight that no one covering the sport thought they would ever see. The way in which Weidman’s upset victory unfolded will leave an indelible impression on the sports history.
If Silva had continued his antics and finished off Weidman, many would’ve looked back at Weidman only having five fights in the UFC. They would’ve said that he wasn’t ready and how he was pushed into the title bout too soon.
He made history, proved he belongs among the best and taught the lesson that you should never drop your defenses and take any opponent for granted.
Silva vs. Weidman definitely lived up to the hype. The question to ponder now is: If there is a rematch, can that fight surpass their first encounter?
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report