At UFC 175 on Saturday night, Chris Weidman retained the UFC Middleweight Championship in impressive fashion, taking a unanimous-decision win over challenger Lyoto Machida. It was a great performance for Weidman, who continues to build himself up as a star in the UFC.
Weidman, known for his impressive wrestling and grappling prowess, spent a majority of his time on the feet with Machida, where many people thought he'd be at a disadvantage. However, he won three or four rounds on all the judges' scorecards, showing he was able to handle himself against the karate master.
In examining Weidman's performance, it's easy to see what went right for the champion. His ability to mix it up, be aggressive and keep Machida on his heels was the key to victory.
The biggest thing was that Weidman established control early. While he slowed a bit down the stretch, he was able to set the tone early to earn points on the scorecards.
He also mixed up his attacks well. Though it was tough for him to get takedowns and keep Machida on his back, the fact that he threatened with them kept Machida guessing throughout the bout.
Also, Weidman's aggression earned him points. Machida is known as a defensive fighter, which should come as no surprise to fans. Weidman took the center of the cage, imposed his will with strikes and takedown attempts and made sure he was winning the rounds from the Brazilian.
His striking was also on point. Not long ago, Weidman was basically a submission wrestler. Now, under the tutelage of Ray Longo, the champion has developed amazing boxing with some solid kicks to mix things up.
Down the stretch, he started to slip a bit. However, that was because Machida got more aggressive and took the center of the cage from him.
Had Machida come out more aggressive like he did late in the fight, would the fight have gone the same way? The biggest thing that went right for Weidman was that he was aggressive and keeping Machida with his back to the cage.
Also, did Weidman slow as a result of his big weight cut? He is a mammoth at middleweight that has to cut a significant amount, which could affect his cardio.
Those points stated, they had a minimal effect on Weidman during the fight. They were a small crack in an otherwise polished armor.
All in all, Weidman put on a great performance that will continue to skyrocket his stock. He has beaten arguably the two best men at middleweight right now in Anderson Silva and Machida, and done so in impressive fashion.
Everything was on point Saturday night, as Weidman proved why he is the UFC champ. He is hard working, skilled and has the heart of a gladiator.