Chris Weidman would not be denied at UFC 175. | Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa/UFC/Getty
Chris Weidman withstood his first real brush with adversity.
Weidman kept his grasp on the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown with a unanimous decision over Lyoto Machida in the UFC 175 headliner on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All three judges scored it for the unbeaten Weidman (12-0, 8-0 UFC): 49-45, 48-47 and 49-46.
Relentless forward movement, an active kicking game and multiple takedowns provided Weidman with the path to victory. He dictated much of the first 15 minutes, as he took away the Brazilian’s lateral movement with constant pressure and opened a cut near Machida’s right brow with a right hand in the third round. “The Dragon” made his move in the fourth, where he began to reap the rewards from his commitment to body kicks. The champion slowed just enough to afford Machida (21-5, 13-5 UFC) the opportunities he needed to get back in the fight.
In the fifth round, Weidman showed his mettle. The Serra-Longo Fight Team representative battled through fatigue, staggered Machida with a standing elbow and delivered his final takedown. Weidman briefly achieved mount before transitioning to the challenger’s back and applying some healthy ground-and-pound. A finish did not develop, but a hard-fought win was sealed. Machida’s last-second volley fell short, as he failed to become just the third man in UFC history to win championships in two weight classes.
“He’s as good as I thought -- quick -- [and] when you think he’s going to do something, he does the opposite” Weidman said. “He’s real tricky in there. Awesome fighter. Tough as nails.”
The defeat was Machida’s first at 185 pounds.
“He’s a true champion,” the former light heavyweight champion said. “He deserves the title. I’ll be back strong.”
Rousey KOs Davis in 16 Seconds
Ronda Rousey retained the UFC women’s bantamweight championship with a vicious first-round knockout against Alexis Davis in the co-main event. Davis (16-6, 3-1 UFC) succumbed to the blows 16 seconds into round one, her five-fight winning streak halted.
Rousey (10-0, 4-0 UFC) staggered the Canadian with a crushing straight right to the temple and tossed her to the canvas, trapping her head and arm in the process. A stream of unanswered punches to the face followed, separating Davis from her senses. The defeated challenger then spent several moments attempting to drag referee Yves Lavigne to the ground.
Hall Overcomes Injury, Denies Santos
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist Uriah Hall fought through a broken toe to pick up a unanimous decision over Thiago Santos in a featured middleweight scrap. All three cageside judges scored it for Hall (9-4, 2-2 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Hall suffered the injury in the first round and carried on for the duration of the 15-minute encounter, pursuing the Brazilian with aggressive punching combinations and kicks. He even used his damaged foot to deliver a spinning back kick to the body in the third round. Santos (9-3, 1-2 UFC) drew on his capoeira background and was effective in spurts, particularly with his leg kicks, but he could not do enough to deter the wounded Team Tiger Schulmann representative.
A former Ring of Combat champion, Hall, 29, has recorded back-to-back wins.
Doane Edges Brimage on Scorecards
Takedowns and superior positional grappling carried former King of the Cage and Tachi Palace Fights champion Russell Doane to a split decision against American Top Team’s Marcus Brimage in a bantamweight showcase. Two of the three cageside judges saw it for Doane by 29-28 and 30-27 scores; a third cast a dissenting 29-28 nod in favor of Brimage.
Doane (14-3, 2-0 UFC) did his best work in the first round, where he secured a takedown, moved to the Alabaman’s back and set his hooks before searching for the rear-naked choke. The submission never materialized, giving Brimage new life. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 graduate gained a foothold in round two, as he attacked Doane’s leg with brutal low kicks while mixing in lightning-quick punching combinations.
Brimage (6-3, 3-2 UFC) struck for a takedown of his own in the third round and resumed his assault on Doane’s lower extremities, but it was not enough in the eyes of two judges.
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