One of the UFC's biggest events of the year takes place Saturday night, featuring a pair of high profile title fights. In the main event, all-time great Anderson Silva seeks to avenge the only loss of his UFC career and regain the UFC middleweight championship against undefeated champion Chris Weidman. Weidman knocked out Silva in July when Silva was showboating, leading to much discussion as to whether the fight result was more about Weidman or Silva.
In the co-feature, Ronda Rousey defends her UFC women's bantamweight title against rival Miesha Tate. Rousey and Tate have a longstanding mutual dislike, showcased on the most recent season of the UFC's Ultimate Fighter reality show. Rousey rode a wave of positive media coverage to stardom, but has run into something of a backlash recently as fans have gotten to know her better. The deep card also includes an intriguing heavyweight contest pitting veteran Josh Barnett against rising star Travis Browne. The winner will be a top challenger for the UFC heavyweight title.
UFC middleweight title: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Silva is one of MMA's all-time greats, an otherwordly blend of precision striking, creativity and instincts. He dominated the UFC's middleweight division for 7 years until running into Weidman in July. Weidman was the sort of fighter always believed to present problems for Silva: an excellent wrestler with dangerous submissions and good striking to boot. Weidman took Silva down and did damage early before Silva began showboating. That encouraged Weidman to stand with Silva and in the process, Weidman caught Silva with a punch and knocked him out. Now, they rematch. Silva seeks to erase the memory of their first fight. Weidman looks to affirm its validity.
Anderson Silva crouches down in a pensive pose for a couple minutes before making his way out.
Round 1. Silva comes out with his hands high, showing respect for Weidman's power. Weidman ducks down and gets the takedown. Silva immediately looks to stand right back up by the cage and he does so. Weidman keeps the clinch and looks to pull him back down. They trade knees in the clinch. Weidman stuns and drops Silva with a punch. He swarms with heavy punches on the ground and looks to close. Silva is able to survive. Weidman drops down hard elbows on Silva. He uses a can opener to try to open Silva's guard like Mark Coleman always used to like but Silva won't do so. Wiedman drops down more hard punches and elbows. Weidman postures up to get leverage for shots but can't get anything big through. The crowd continues to rally for Silva, with the big Brazilian contingent loudly chanting. Silva does land persistent punches from the bottom but Weidman has the leverage to land bigger shots. Weidman drops down another big shot at the end. 10-8 Weidman.
Round 2. Silva's hands are again high. Silva throws a leg kick but Weidman checks it and Silva breaks his leg. That's it. What a crazy and unfortunate ending to the fight.
Silva's leg breaking was absolutely horrific. A disgusting, Joe Theismann like injury.
Winner: Chris Weidman, TKO, round 2.
UFC women's bantamweight title: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
Rousey was an Olympic judo bronze medalist and has won all seven of her professional MMA fights via first round armbar. Tate has been her biggest rival and they have had an war of words for years. Rousey submitted Tate in their first fight last year and Tate lost her last fight via TKO to Cat Zingano.
Round 1. They move to the center and start trading punches. Rousey grabs a bodylock and pulls Tate down. Tate gets up but eats a Rousey knee. They trade knees to the body in the clinch. Rousey lands a nice looping punch and a front kick. Tate goes down and grabs a triangle choke attempt. She then looks for an armbar but can't get it. Tate takes Rousey down but Rousey looks to set up an armbar. Rousey lands some elbows from the bottom and looks to set up a triangle choke. Tate gets out of the triangle and they return to the standing position. Tate lands a nice hook to the jaw of Rousey. She lands another punch that stuns Rousey and they tumble to the ground. Rousey looks for the armbar in the scramble but Tate avoids that. Tate looks for a takedown but Rousey reverses the momentum and takes top position. She then stands back up. Very competitive first round and Rousey is out of the first round for the first time. 10-9 Rousey.