It signified a flaw that Anderson Silva exposed in their first meeting, and for Chris Weidman and his coaching staff, it seemed like a defensive technique in obvious need of tweaking before the rematch at UFC 168.
Because Silva tagged him repeatedly in their first bout at UFC 162 with low kicks, the 29-year-old New York native made defensive changes in his latest training camp, a small adjustment that obviously paid major dividends in the rematch.
Weidman absorbed a few low kicks in Round 1 and then took a few more early in Round 2 before truly defending the technique.
"The All-American" then picked up his knee to check a Silva low kick roughly 1:15 into Round 2, a defensive maneuver he timed perfectly. Silva continued with his kicking motion, only to watch the wrong portion of his shin collide with Weidman's knee, a scenario that snapped his lower leg and caused him to crumble to the ground in agony.
Silva's chance at redemption ended abruptly with a freak accident, and the career of the UFC's greatest fighter certainly seemed in limbo in the minutes after the mishap.
After looking like the most dominant force in the UFC in his first 16 fights, it appeared that the 38-year-old Silva had sadly met his match in his last two.
For a still humble Weidman, however, the win seemed to solidify his status as the middleweight division's bona fide future linchpin.
Still, Weidman acknowledged the greatness of Silva, the man who had gone undefeated between 2006 and 2013, by saying the following to Joe Rogan in the bout's post-fight interview:
"In the last fight, the one thing he really capitalized on was the leg kicks," Weidman said at the post-fight press conference. "So probably the most important thing we focused on in this fight camp was stopping his leg kicks. Ray Longo, he actually broke a guy's leg in training using what he calls 'The Destruction,' which is knee on shin. When he goes to kick you put your knee on his shin. I've done it a couple times in sparring and guys take some time, about a minute off, and then they're OK. At least it stops them from kicking you, but to break someone's leg, I've never done that before."
Silva didn't turn his right hip fully in his attempt to kick Weidman on the inside of his left knee. As a result, "The Spider" presumably thrust a softer spot of his shin into a solid spot on The All-American's inner knee, a gruesome interaction that caused a clean break to his left leg.
Weidman obviously didn't injure Silva on purpose or defend his belt with malicious intent. Truth be told, The Spider fell victim to another unusual and unfortunate miscalculation, this one much more damaging than the first.
Weidman certainly felt confident he would finish Silva again in some fashion, although it seems unlikely the champ envisioned it would unfold via broken leg.
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