UFC 175 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Weidman vs. Machida
This is Chris Weidman's wheelhouse.
The square-jawed, stoically self-assured Long Islander loves to drape himself in the stars and stripes. He loves the big stage. His MMA game pivots on an All-American wrestling base. Though he himself would never couch it in these terms, he brought the UFC middleweight belt back to the good old U.S. of A. after improbably defeating (and then defeating again) Anderson Silva, the Brazilian legend who owned the strap for seven years.
So it's a no-brainer that he'd be the centerpiece of UFC 175 over Independence Day weekend, always the seat of a signature UFC event.
This time, he faced his first non-Silva opponent as the UFC champion in Lyoto Machida, a close friend of Silva and one of the most skilled fighters on the planet. The former light heavyweight champ has exuded new confidence since dropping down to the middleweight division, where he's 2-0 behind a newfound power and his trademark defense.
But there's more. One of the UFC's biggest celebrities, Ronda Rousey, defended her title Saturday night in Las Vegas against Alexis Davis, a standout grappler in her own right but literally one of the biggest underdogs in UFC history.
As always, the final stat lines only reveal so much. Here are the real winners and losers from UFC 175.
Winner: Stefan Struve?
The start of the UFC 175 main card was quickly overshadowed by the news, which spread quickly on Twitter and was subsequently confirmed on the broadcast, that heavyweight Stefan Struve had fainted backstage while preparing for his fight with Matt Mitrione.
Struve, as you'll recall, was returning to the Octagon Saturday night after missing a year-and-a-half because of a serious heart condition. Given that context, Struve's fight was promptly canceled after his spell backstage.
Though UFC sources, including president Dana White, later chalked up the spell to a panic attack and said Struve was OK and in good spirits, it was still a scary moment.
Until conclusive information comes in, it's hard to know what to make of this. In the meantime, it's just good news that Struve seems to be OK and that something worse did not occur.
Winner: Chris Weidman
Chris Weidman is no fluke. Can we please put that narrative to rest already?
That little piece of mythology persisted after Weidman's two victories over Anderson Silva—one after Silva was caught taunting, the other after that awful leg fracture. It persisted despite Weidman's performances against The Spider and his dominance in previous fights.
The notion was as inaccurate as it was unfortunate, and Weidman hopefully locked it away for good at UFC 175 with a convincing win over Lyoto Machida. The Dragon had never been as battered as he was on Saturday, eating big leg- and body kicks early, then takedowns, then big rights to the face that marked up the challenger.
Weidman was aggressive and fresh throughout as the bigger and more athletic fighter. Machida landed plenty and won the fourth round. But Weidman was the better man Saturday night, and he's proved he's the best middleweight in the game today.
Loser: Lyoto Machida
Chris Weidman wanted to cut off the cage on Lyoto Machida. The Brazilian simply moves too quickly and fluidly to let that happen, but for the first three rounds, he was backpedaling enough that he was unable to mount any substantial or consistent offense.
That was the difference in the fight. Machida, who is a terrific fighter, showed good takedown defense and strong cardio throughout. In the final two rounds, he brought his big left hook to the party and probably ended up genuinely hurting the champ for the first time in Weidman's UFC career.
But Weidman hurt Machida more, and for longer. Machida will be back, but he was not the champ's equal Saturday.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
I don't know what else to say, after Ronda Rousey, the greatest women's mixed martial artist in the history of planet Earth (and it's not even close), got ahold of Alexis Davis—a jiu-jitsu black belt—and executed a perfect judo hip toss right into side control, which included a side headlock.
About 10 unanswered strikes later, the referee called the stoppage. The whole thing took 16 seconds.
Just another amazing night from an amazing athlete. I'm still not going to see The Expendables 3, though.
Loser: Uriah Hall's Toe
After the first round of his fight with Thiago Santos, Uriah Hall took a noticeable limp with him back to his corner. Naturally, the cameras were interested and swooped in for a closer look.
What they found was gross.
Hall's second toe was severely mangled, and, from some angles, there was a hint of white—what appeared to be bone—protruding from the bend. The doctor checked it out more than once, but the trainers and Hall assured the doc that he was fine, just fine. It was like that before, it really was!
Credit Hall for being tough as nails, gritting it out and winning by unanimous decision.
If there was indeed an open fracture in the toe (meaning the bone was definitely protruding through the skin), that could mean a high risk of infection or a more permanent disfigurement. In that case, failing to stop the fight would be a bit of a head-scratcher, particularly in the immediate wake of all that safety-first grandstanding over the airwaves following the Struve cancellation.
I realize the situations are different and complicated, but some teeth behind that "safety-first" talk would be a surprising change of pace.
Winner: Urijah Faber
Plenty of fans felt slighted by Urijah Faber and his placement on the undercard. Alex Caceres, his opponent, was a lot more dangerous than some gave him credit for.
But you'll never catch Faber with any feathers out of place. The California Kid settled all his business on the undercard main event, salvaging a theretofore pretty bland preliminary slate with a third-round submission over a very game Bruce Leeroy.
The 35-year-old still has plenty of starch in his fists and spring in his step, and he's now 31-7 overall, with nine consecutive wins in non-title contests. No wonder the UFC wants Faber as the face of its cable-TV slate.
Loser: Bruno Santos
He pulled out the win Saturday night, but he probably didn't pull in many fans in the process.
Icebox-of-a-middleweight Bruno Santos showed good skill and solid power in getting Chris Camozzi to the ground. He just didn't do anything with Camozzi once it got there, squeezing his opponent for dear life and riding his increasingly frustrated opponent to the close but clear win.
Camozzi gets an honorable mention here for constantly appealing to the referee to do what he himself could not: get the fight standing again.
Santos is now 1-1 in the UFC. All but two of his 14 pro wins have gone the distance. Does he have a right to fight in whatever way he believes gives him the best chance to win? Of course. And I also have a right to flip it over to Bruce Almighty.
Winner: Rob Font
That's one way to neutralize a size advantage.
Five inches shorter and with a lesser reach than the 6'1" George Roop, Rob Font, making his UFC debut, slid inside as Roop was firing his left hand and slammed home an overhand right. Roop crumpled at the waist almost immediately, and the referee jumped in to call the stoppage.
Though he was officially in the Octagon for only 139 seconds, Font showed plenty of poise and polish. The Boston-based fighter won belts on the regional circuit and trains with well-known coach Mark DellaGrotte, and the kickboxer could be a nice addition to the bantamweight division. He certainly looked the part in his first bout on the big stage.
UFC 175 Full Results and Recap
Chris Weidman def. Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision (retains middleweight title)
Ronda Rousey def. Alexis Davis by TKO, 0:16, Rd. 1 (retains women's bantamweight title)
Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione (canceled)
Uriah Hall def. Thiago Santos by unanimous decision
Russell Doane def. Marcus Brimage by split decision
Urijah Faber def. Alex Caceres by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:09, Rd. 3
Kenny Robertson def. Ildemar Alcantara by unanimous decision
Bruno Santos def. Chris Camozzi by split decision
Rob Font def. George Roop by KO, 2:19, Rd. 1
Luke Zachrich def. Guilherme Vasconcelos by unanimous decision
Kevin Casey def. Bubba Bush by TKO, 1:01, Rd. 1
Scott Harris writes about MMA and other things for Bleacher Report. Follow Scott on Twitter if you feel so inclined.