Chris Weidman came into Saturday night’s UFC 168 main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas looking to put a stamp on the middleweight championship. Anderson Silva entered the rematch hell bent on regaining his reign as the greatest UFC middleweight champion of all time.
In the end, Weidman retained his title, while Silva may be headed into retirement in a fashion no one could have expected.
Weidman opened aggressively, taking the fight to Silva and putting him on the mat early. Silva quickly regained his footing, clinched with Weidman, but got hit hard and then fell to the mat again.
Weidman grounded and pounded Silva throughout the remainder of the round, but despite landing several heavy elbows, he couldn’t put Silva away.
Silva opened the second stanza in a much more aggressive fashion, coming after Weidman, landing an inside leg kick and right hook. It soon became obvious that the plan for Silva was to start kicking more, which he did.
Weidman landed a kick to the body, and Silva fired back, hard, only to have Weidman check the kick. As Weidman checked the kick, Silva’s shin snapped, wrapping grotesquely around the champion’s leg.
Anderson Silva’s lower leg bone snapped in half and the former champion fell to the mat in agony, the referee immediately stepping in and stopping the fight.
It wasn’t the way that Weidman wanted to win. It surely wasn’t the way that Silva wanted to falter.
“No matter what happened in this fight, he’s still noticed as the greatest of all time. God bless Anderson Silva,” Weidman humbly commented after the fight.
Weidman got kicked several times in their first fight and worked tirelessly on defending Silva’s crippling leg kicks in preparations for the rematch, knowing that it could work to his advantage, although he couldn’t have foreseen such a tragic end.
“That was the number one thing I got hit with in the first fight,” he said of Silva’s kicks. “I worked on checking them a lot. I knew if he kept kicking, I could hurt him. It’s still crazy how that happened.”
Coming into the UFC 168 main event, Weidman felt he had to win to earn the right to truly call himself a champion. It may not have been the way that anyone wanted him to win, but in the end, Weidman was the victor, position himself solidly as the UFC middleweight champion of the world, while we’re left to wonder if even the great Anderson Silva can return from such a horrific injury.
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