I don’t think that is what Anderson Silva thought when he said the rematch would be different.
In a horrifying turn of events, the former long-time champion and now-challenger Silva splits his shin in half after the defending titlist Chris Weidman checked an inside leg kick in the early goings of round 2.
The strike landed squarely on Weidman’s kneecap as Silva’s leg dangles under him almost instantaneously while stumbling backwards. It was all over just like that, maybe not just tonight’s fight, but most probably the Spider’s career as well.
As a result, Weidman retains the belt with an official TKO decision, 1:16 into the second round.
The gruesome injury was very reminiscent of what happened to a lesser profile fight involving Corey Hill and Dale Hartt years ago where the latter defended a low kick by the former, and then boom!, the shin separates from the entire leg.
“That was the No. 1 one thing I got hit with in the first fight,” Weidman said after he was asked by Joe Rogan about what his preparations were against Silva’s vaunted leg kicks. “I worked a lot against guys with good leg kicks.
“I did work on checking kicks. I figured if I (caught) him on my knee, it could really hurt him. Crazy how this happened.”
Weidman revealed that striking coach Ray Longo extensively prepared the Long Island native how to defend against the Brazilian’s leg strikes and has personally named the technique “The Destruction”. But he vowed that the intention was never to injure Silva.
“There’s no real excitement in a fight finishing like that, because you never want to see anyone get hurt like that,” said a sympathetic Weidman after the successful title defense.
Weidman, 29, practically controlled the first round, scoring a takedown early and later
knocked down the former champion with a short right hook to the area around the ear in the clinch. “The All-American” looked to finish the fight by landing punches on the ground but Silva recovered well after visibly getting whacked.
The Sau Paolo native, however, failed to defend much of Weidman’s strikes as he had difficulty controlling the powerful wrestler’s elbows and postures from the top.
Contrary to what most observers say about Silva’s decline, his very own opponent Saturday night noticed that the 38-year-old looked very good and was moving really well inside the cage.
“He’s never shown signs of slowing down, so I couldn’t afford to think that because he’s getting older this would be the fight where it would start showing,” Weidman said via Yahoo.com. “I expected the best Anderson Silva and I actually thought he looked great tonight. Physically, I thought he looked the best I’ve ever seen him.”
No one will ever know what could happen if Silva had not shattered his limb like that, and with almost a full four rounds ahead, the Spider’s experience and Octagon smarts would probably do him well against a relative newcomer like Weidman.
But things transpire however unfortunate it was and it looked like fight fans may have seen the last of the fighter regarded as the best of all time.
UFC President Dana White doesn’t want to speculate at the moment but he’s leaning towards the safer bet– and that is, Silva’s subsequent retirement.
“This would be a tough thing to overcome and come back from at his age,” said White in an article by MMA Weekly. “He’s one of the greatest of all time if not the best ever. It’s a (expletive) way to see him go out, but it’s part of the game.”
The UFC has now lost two of its brightest stars in a span of less than a month.
Roughly two weeks ago, Georges St. Pierre announced he will take an indefinite leave and consequently vacated the Welterweight belt which he held for over five years. GSP doesn’t want to rule out a return but his absence is nonetheless crippling for the promotion now that Silva is likely to be finished as well.
“Rowdy” submits “Cupcake”
One fighter the UFC will likely lean on going forward is UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
Rousey went outside the first round for just the first time in eight fights but the result was nowhere different than the initial seven. The defending champion submitted Miesha Tate 0:58 in round 3 in a show of resilience and skill by both fighters.
Only “Rowdy” undeniably has much more to show especially in the grappling department and that proved to be the huge difference in the match.
A former Olympic bronze medalist in judo, the California native was clearly a whole ‘nother level in comparison to Tate’s submission wrestling base, repeatedly throwing Tate around like a rag doll using judo throws.
Rousey’s armbar earned her an extra $150,000 for Submission of the Night honors.
Tate,however, made a good account of herself despite the loss showing heart and determination in addition to dominating most of the standup exchanges.
After the tap, she readily offered to shake Rousey’s hand but the champion just looked at the challenger, turned around, and walked away. The lack of class shown by Rousey drew a loud chorus of boos from the crowd but she just shook it off and move on.
“Boos motivate me more than cheers”, said Rousey nonchalantly. “I have been booed around 30 countries in judo competition.”
Though that act won’t likely win her any new fans but it definitely will provide the much-needed intrigue in her future fights, most probably against 2004 freestyle wrestling Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann in UFC 170 in February of next year.
Travis Browne dedicates win to blue collar workers like himself
Travis Browne’s middle name is Kuualiialoha and I’m guessing it has a positive meaning in Hawaiian because of the presence of the word “aloha” in there. But Browne was everything but nice to his UFC 168 opponent Josh Barnett finishing the California native via first round KO.
“Ear, ear, ear… all day long” said Browne in the post fight interview.
The Hawaiian proved to be too hard of a puzzle for the Warmaster early on, attacking with a variety of strikes including a very effective left jab.
Barnett wanted to close the distance but when he did, Browne delivered a knee to the face that rendered the former scrambling for a takedown. Browne defended well and put himself in a position where he restricted Barnett’s body movement and delivered the crushing elbows to the former UFC Heavyweight champion’s temple.
Browne came out of the fracas $75,000 richer via the Knockout of the Night honors.
“This fight is not for you rich kids watching ringside. This fight is for the my blue collar guys out there like myself,” declared Brown.
And for his parting shot?
“Looks like me and Fabricio Werdum have a date. I’m ready.”