As far as statements are concerned, Chris Weidman’s could not have been more profound.
The fast-rising middleweight contender stopped Mark Munoz on a horrific second-round standing elbow and follow-up ground punches in the UFC on Fuel TV 4 headliner on Wednesday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Weidman (9-0, 5-0 UFC) polished off the most significant victory of his MMA career 1:37 into round two.
With that, he likely emerged as the No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight crown.
“I want Anderson Silva,” Weidman said. “Every single time I’ve had a full training camp, I’ve gotten a finish. Give me a full training camp, and I’d love a shot at the man.”
Munoz (12-3, 7-3 UFC) was never a factor in the fight. Weidman struck for immediate takedown in the first round and proceeded to run a grappling clinic on the onetime NCAA wrestling champion. He flowed from one submission to the next and complemented them with elbows from side mount and knees from the front headlock position.
Weidman delivered another takedown in the second round. Munoz returned to his feet, but as he approached the Serra-Longo Fight Team ace, Weidman unleashed the vertical elbow. He transitioned to the dazed Munoz’s back, drove him to the ground and sealed it with a series of violent strikes on the ground. The barrage left Munoz a bloody mess.
“I’ve been playing around with some elbows,” Weidman said. “I’ve got the long reach for it. [UFC light heavyweight champion] Jon Jones pretty much gave a good blueprint on how to use them, so I just tried to follow that order, and, thank God, it landed.
“Mark Munoz is a serious warrior,” he added. “He came back after a serious injury. Anybody who is an athlete knows what is like to come back, especially in front of all you people. There is a lot of pressure. He did a great job. I know he’s going to be down on himself, but just get back up there and you’re going to do great, man.”
The defeat brought an abrupt end to Munoz’s four-fight winning streak.
“He caught me with that elbow coming in,” Munoz said. “I was trying to come in with that overhand right. That’s what happens sometimes. He’s a great competitor, and props goes to him. He landed that elbow really good.”
Te Huna Punishes, Outduels Beltran
James Te Huna won for the ninth time in 10 outings, as he hammered Joey Beltran with his heavy hands for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision in the co-main event. Te Huna (15-5, 4-1 UFC), who has become a person of interest at 205 pounds, swept the scorecards by 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 counts.
The Australia-based New Zealand native nearly finished it inside one round, as he leveled Beltran with a clean left hook with a little more than half a minute remaining in the frame. Te Huna swarmed for the stoppage, but the notoriously durable Beltran weathered his storm.
“I hit him with some really hard shots that I thought were going to knock him out, but they just bounced off his head,” Te Huna said. “He’s tough as nails. Big ups to him.”
Minus a few exceptions, Te Huna controlled the rest of the encounter with superior boxing. He even mixed in some takedowns, as he kept the weary but valiant Beltran off balance. A replacement for Te Huna’s original opponent, Brandon Vera, Beltran (14-8, 3-5 UFC) knocked Te Huna to one knee with a short left hook late in the second round and cracked him with a few standing elbows. However, he could not muster nearly enough firepower to turn the tide.
“It was good,” Te Huna said. “I hurt my hand and hurt my foot in the first round, so I was very flat-footed, but it was an entertaining fight.”
Simpson Passes First Welterweight Test
Takedowns, a grinding top game and heavy ground-and-pound carried Aaron Simpson to a unanimous verdict over Kenny Robertson in a welterweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Simpson (12-3, 7-3 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Simpson broke down the game Robertson (11-2, 0-2 UFC), a late replacement for Jon Fitch, throughout the 15-minute affair. However, he saved his best work for round three, where he stepped up his attack and even mixed in a few submission attempts, including an inverted triangle choke and arm-triangle choke.
“I’ve got to finish guys here at this weight,” said Simpson, who made a successful debut at 170 pounds. “That’s what this business is built on, and I want to be one of those athletes. It’s just a matter of putting the work in. My weight [cut] went great. I’ve just got to be better out there.”
Carmont Choke Finishes Vemola
Surging Tristar Gym representative Francis Carmont submitted Karlos Vemola with a second-round rear-naked choke in a featured middleweight matchup. Vemola (9-3, 2-3 UFC) conceded defeat 1:39 into round two.
Following a competitive first round, Carmont cracked the Czech with a front kick to the chin at the start of the second. He later countered a takedown from the London Shootfighters export by securing a crucifix from the bottom. From there, he moved stealthily to Vemola’s back and cinched the choke for the finish.
Carmont (19-7, 3-0 UFC) has rattled off eight consecutive victories.
Dillashaw Neck Crank Taps Lee
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 finalist T.J. Dillashaw submitted Vaughan Lee with a first-round neck crank in a featured bantamweight duel. Lee (12-8-1, 1-2 UFC), his face contorted by pain, asked out of the cage 2:33 into round one.
Dillashaw (6-1, 2-1 UFC) transitioned to Lee’s back on the second of two takedowns. He secured his hooks as his opponent stood and fished for the rear-naked choke on the Englishman. Unable to secure it, the 26-year-old Team Alpha Male representative instead tightened his grip on Lee’s chin for the tapout.
“I took his back. I was calm and waited for the opening,” Dillashaw said. “He’s a super tough guy. He came at me with a lot of punches. I just weathered the storm and waited for the right opportunity to take him down. I stayed relaxed and waited for it this time. My last fight I kind of rushed the choke, but I cinched it in and squeezed hard this time.”
Dos Anjos Outpoints Njokuani
Rafael dos Anjos crowded WEC import Anthony Njokuani with close-quarters punches, takedowns and clinches en route to a one-sided unanimous decision in a lightweight showcase. All three judges scored it for dos Anjos (17-6, 6-4 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Dos Anjos floored Njokuani (15-7, 2-3 UFC) with a beautiful left cross in the first period and built on his lead from there. He secured takedowns in all three rounds, effectively neutralizing the Nigerian’s standup game and cruising to his third win in four appearances.
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