At UFC 162, Chris Weidman's left hand ended an era. At UFC 168, his left leg likely ended a career.
After being dominated for much of the first round, Anderson Silva came out a man on fire. But his powerful legkicks—the longtime champion's best weapon in the first fight—proved to be his own undoing.
His left leg appeared to snap near the ankle after Weidman blocked a hard low kick, causing the UFC legend to drop to the mat in obvious pain. The fight was soon stopped, and Weidman remained champion.
Unfortunately, it's a victory that no one can possibly be happy about.
"It's a sh@tty way to see him go out," UFC President Dana White said in the post-fight press conference, calling Silva one of the greatest of all time. "But it's part of the game."
Weidman emerges no stronger in the eyes of UFC fans. All the questions that lingered after his first win remain. And Silva, at 38 and already hinting the end is near on a Hall of Fame career, seems likelier to retire than to attempt a comeback after such a devastating injury.
For seven years, Silva was undefeated inside the UFC Octagon. For seven years, he decimated almost everyone in his path, barely ever breaking a sweat. Fourteen men stepped into the cage to face him. Fourteen men fell to his lethal hands and feet.
Even as he aged, Silva seemed all but unbeatable—until his eyes rolled back and his head bounced off the mat. Just like that, in the seconds it took for his showboating to backfire in a major way, Weidman was suddenly the UFC middleweight champion.
After a crushing injury, he holds tight to his prize. Was it another fluke?
We'll likely never know.
In the co-main, Ronda Rousey continued her rise to the top of the sport. The blond bombshell may not have long in the fight game before the movie industry comes to claim her as one of its own. But while she's still competing in the cage, she seems determined to write her name in the history books in permanent ink.
Miesha Tate was a game opponent, but heart wasn't nearly enough. Rousey dominated throughout the three-round contest, eventually finishing the bout with her trademark armbar.
Of course, Weidman and Rousey weren't the night's only winners just as Tate and Silva were not the only losers. Bleacher Report looked at every main card fight to determine the real winners and losers as well as provide instant, heat-of-the-moment analysis.
Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva, TKO (Round 2, 1:16)
Everyone. No one was sure what to make of Chris Weidman's first win over Anderson Silva. The result was unexpected, the method even more so. A submission or ground-and-pound victory seemed vaguely possible. A knockout? That didn't even seem real.
This fight was Weidman's chance to prove his victory was no fluke. Instead, Silva lost the rematch by freak injury. He snapped his left leg near the ankle with a kick in the second round, dropping to the mat in immediate and obvious pain.
In the end, we still don't have a good answer about who was the better fighter. Weidman is more solidly ensconced as champion, but it's not something anyone can feel good about. Silva is likely gone forever. And the UFC is out another major drawing card. No one can possibly be happy about the way this played out.
"He's still known as the greatest of all time."
Chris Weidman was classy in victory. But no one wanted it this way. He's clearly a great fighter, a dynamic wrestler with heavy hands. I look forward to seeing him fight again—I just wish this fight had ended with the fighters, and not the frailty of the human body, making all the difference.
Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate, Submission (Round 3, 0:58)
Integrity. Ronda Rousey told us all along that she didn't have any love for Miesha Tate. The two exchanged lots of bad looks and even worse words during The Ultimate Fighter. So, true to her feelings, she didn't shake Tate's hand after the fight.
While the crowd didn't like that very much, I think it shows a certain amount of integrity. There's nothing worse than two fighters who pretend to be part of a blood feud, only to later reveal it was all an act. This was no act. Kudos to Ronda for proving it.
Tate lasted into the third round. That alone is something to be proud of. Of course, to make it that far, she paid a stiff price.
Rousey is the best fighter in women's MMA history. She battered Tate on the ground, from both top and bottom position. Standing, though still vulnerable, she showed serious improvement, especially with a blistering right hand.
I don't know who is going to beat Rousey. It may be no one. But it certainly won't be Tate. Miesha showed a lot of heart, but not quite enough skill and athleticism. She was dominated throughout. The greatest rivalry in women's MMA history can finally be put to bed. Rousey may not be the better woman, but she's certainly, definitively, the better fighter.
Travis Browne def. Josh Barnett, Knockout (Round 1, 1:00)
Rich Dudes. This fight wasn't for you rich dudes in the front rows. This fight, according to blue-collar Travis Browne, was for the working man up in the nosebleeds. And even they could see Browne's elbows to Barnett's dome, brutal blows that will make opponents pause before shooting for a double leg.
And, ultimately, the joke's on the rich dudes anyway. Floor seats are the worst at a UFC event. You want to be looking down into the cage if you go see a live show. Trust your Uncle Jonathan. He'd never steer you wrong.
Not only did Browne officially announce a heavyweight changing of the guard, he did it in style. With three consecutive wins, all by impressive knockout, Browne is now a single victory away from a title shot. He'll fight Fabricio Werdum for a chance to fight Cain Velasquez sometime in 2014.
Jim Miller def. Fabricio Camoes, Armbar (Round 1, 3:42)
Ring rust. Fabricio Camoes has been fighting for 16 years. But even an experienced professional can't always overcome the power of ring rust. Camoes was out 18 months with a knee injury. That much time away from the sport is a tough hurdle to leap, especially when in with a killer like Jim Miller.
"I tried to bring Dr. Jekyll out today. And he's a killer too."
To Miller, this was a victory for technique. But before the scientific finish, this fight was all about bombs, each man throwing every strike like he needed to stop an elephant in its tracks.
Miller remains a crowd favorite with his nonstop commitment to violence as a means of problem resolution. Whenever he's fighting, you can count on me to be there.
Dustin Poirier def. Diego Brandao, TKO (Round 1, 4:54)
Body shots. Strikes against the cage are often just for show, blows designed to convince the referee you're working more than anything else. They do less damage than strikes from distance, if only because they have less opportunity to build momentum, speed and power.
But that's certainly not the case when your name is Dustin Poirier. The American Top Team product pounded Diego Brandao's midsection with brutal body shots, draining the life from the overweight and undersized grappler before finishing him on the ground.
Poirier has an aggressive striking style, coming forward at all times, looking for a finish rather than to rack up points. His ground game is developing as well. Brandao is a very solid grappler. But when put on his back, Poirier was able to easily scramble back to his feet.
Still just 24 years old, Poirier has built an impressive 7-2 record inside the Octagon. Now training full time at one of the best camps in the world, it's time to start considering him a serious contender at featherweight again.
Uriah Hall def. Chris Leben, TKO (Round 1, 5:00)
Chris Leben. "I'm done." Leben has always led with his chin, a real-life Rocky Balboa. But when he knew he couldn't win, one of the UFC's living and breathing rock-em, sock-em robots decided to call it quits.
The stereotypical "tough guy" goes back out for Round 2 despite being decimated at the end of Round 1. Leben made the harder call, recognizing that he didn't have anything to prove.
Although Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar get all the credit for The Ultimate Fighter's success, it was Chris Leben who initially carried the reality show to ratings glory. A flawed and scarred yet brave hero, Leben wore his heart on his sleeve. He might not have been lovable, but he was real.
For eight years, he's been the gatekeeper for the UFC's middleweight division. But after four consecutive losses, it may be time for him to call it a career. If so, Leben goes out on his own terms. Here's hoping he can find happiness in his life outside the cage.
As for Hall, this win doesn't tell us much. UFC 168 was about closing the chapter on Leben's UFC story. Whether Hall has what it takes to fill his shoes will remain a mystery until he fights stiffer competition than the 2013 Leben.
Michael Johnson def. Gleison Tibau, Knockout (Round 2, 1:32)
Comic books. Gleison Tibau has a comic book character's musculature. Too bad he didn't do more chin lifts. Get it? Chin lifts?
Pecs, delts and traps look good on the beach. In the cage, however, give me a lanky guy every time. Reach, more than musculature, wins fights. Look no further than Anderson Silva and Jon Jones for two pertinent examples.
People who train with him have told me for years that Johnson has the tools to succeed at the highest level. He's just had a hard time proving it in the cage.
In his last two performances, he's put it all together to win in impressive fashion. His next fight should be against someone who can propel him into title contention.
Dennis Siver def. Manny Gamburyan, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Germany. OK, technically he may be a Russian. After all, he didn't arrive with his family in Germany until he was already 17 years old. But Dennis Siver claims Mannheim as his own. That's more than enough to make him the most successful German fighter in UFC history.
In his last three fights as a UFC lightweight, Siver was 2-1. In his first three fights since dropping down to featherweight? Also 2-1.
It's unclear how much Siver has gained in the process of dropping 10 pounds. He seems destined to be a gatekeeper in either division, a fighter sticking around mostly for perceived value in the UFC's upcoming European expansion.
John Howard def. Siyar Bahadurzada, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The Farter. "Superfoot" Bill Wallace opened the very first UFC broadcast with a belch. Several fighters, separated from consciousness, have defecated themselves while knocked out cold. But as far as I know at least, this Fox Sports 1 opener featured the very first televised fart in UFC history.
Someone needs to fess up and accept responsibility for this important moment. Otherwise, I'm blaming referee Steve Mazzagatti. He just looks like a dude who would let one slip and then try to pass the blame to another guy. Admit what you did, Steve. It's the first step on the road to forgiveness.
Let's be honest with each other: No one will remember anything about this fight other than the fart. Congratulations, though, to John Howard. After a two-year exile, he's won consecutive fights in the UFC.
It's a nice return to form for a fighter who once won four in row in the big time between 2008-2010 to become a fringe contender in the welterweight division. Although he's not quite all the way back, Howard is well on his way to a second successful run in the Super Bowl of MMA.
UFC 168 Main Card
- Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva, TKO (Round 2, 1:16)
- Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate, Submission (Round 3, 0:58)
- Travis Browne def. Josh Barnett, KO (Round 1, 1:00)
- Jim Miller def. Fabricio Camoes, Submission (Round 1, 3:42)
- Dustin Poirier def. Diego Brandao, TKO (Round 1, 4:54)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Uriah Hall def. Chris Leben, TKO (Round 1, 5:00)
- Michael Johnson def. Gleison Tibau, KO (Round 2, 1:32)
- Dennis Siver def. Manny Gamburyan, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- John Howard def. Siyar Bahadurzada, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- William Macario def. Bobby Voelker, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Robbie Peralta def. Estevan Payan, TKO (Round 3, 0:12)