Anderson Silva’s career may be in jeopardy following a bad leg break at UFC 168. | Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
No one wanted to see it end like this.
Anderson Silva’s bid to reclaim the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown ended with a horrific leg injury, as Chris Weidman kept his hold on the 185-pound gold with a second-round technical knockout in the UFC 168 headliner on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Silva, his leg apparently broken above the ankle when the champion checked his kick, collapsed to the mat 76 seconds into round two, his writhing in shock followed by cries of agony.
One can only surmise that this may have been the last time the man known as “The Spider” will compete inside the cage. Silva (33-6, 16-2 UFC) turns 39 in April.
“First of all, I just want to say that no matter what happened in this fight, he’s still known as the greatest of all time, and God bless him,” Weidman said. “That was the No. 1 thing I got hit with in the first fight and I was working on checking them a lot. I did think that if he was going to go that hard with the kicks, like he normally does, and I caught one on my knee, that I could really hurt him. It’s still crazy how that happened.”
Weidman (11-0, 7-0 UFC) nearly finished it in the first round, as he rocked Silva with a right hand in close quarters, trailed him to the canvas and battered him with punches and elbows.
“There was a point where I was hoping the ref would stop the fight,” said Weidman, who captured the middleweight title by knocking out Silva at UFC 162 in July, “but he recovered well.”
Silva weathered the attack, landed some effective shots from the bottom and pushed their rematch to a second round. There, a little more than a minute after the battle resumed, he uncorked the ill-fated kick. An audible snap brought an eerie silence to what had been a raucous crowd and perhaps marked the end of the line for arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history.
Another Rousey Armbar Taps Tate
Ronda Rousey retained her UFC women’s bantamweight crown in an emotionally charged co-main event, as she submitted Miesha Tate with a third-round armbar. The first woman to escape the opening round with the champion, Tate (13-5, 0-2 UFC) conceded defeat 58 seconds into the third.
Rousey (8-0, 2-0 UFC) scored with throws in all three rounds and assaulted her rival with punches and elbows on the mat. She mounted Tate in round two, where she made her first pass at an armbar. Tate dodged the bullet and also escaped the inverted triangle that followed. However, her efforts only seemed to prolong the inevitable. In the third round, Tate countered a takedown and settled into top position. Rousey wasted no time, went to work from the bottom, isolated the challenger’s left arm and forced the tapout.
“She worked on her right hand a little bit,” said Tate, who enjoyed some success in the standup department and secured a few takedowns of her own. “That was surprising. I have nothing bad to say. She showed up tonight, and I didn’t. I have no excuses. She was the better fighter tonight. The game plan was to stay away and punch her as much as I could, but if it got tied up, I was going to bring the fight to her instead of running away.”
Afterward, Tate extended her hand in the direction of the victorious Rousey, but the gesture went unanswered.
“I need to commend and congratulate Miesha,” Rousey said. “She’s an amazing fighter. She really is. It’s just that once you insult my family, I can’t shake your hand; but I really respect her, and I think she did an amazing job tonight. For me, family comes before anything, even the cheers or boos from the crowd. I feel like it would disrespect what she did to my family if I shook her hand. I said she did an amazing job, but I can’t shake the hand of someone who spits on my back.”
Browne Elbows Waylay Barnett
Surging Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Travis Browne smashed through Josh Barnett with a series of savage elbows in the first round of their heavyweight showcase. Browne (16-1-1, 7-1-1 UFC) put away the former UFC champion 60 seconds into round one, perhaps setting up a title eliminator with two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum.
Barnett (33-7, 5-2 UFC), having tasted the Hawaiian’s power, moved in for a double-leg takedown. Browne met him with a knee and then let loose with a pinpoint volley of elbow strikes that turned out the lights on “The Warmaster.”
Browne has knocked out his last three opponents -- Barnett, Alistair Overeem and Gabriel Gonzaga -- in the first round. Barnett had not experienced defeat inside the Octagon since he was knocked out by Pedro Rizzo in February 2001.
“We have a good wrestler here, and he couldn’t take my ass down,” Browne said. “I’m an MMA fighter. You better realize that. There is a new breed of fighter, and it’s right here. I’m coming for you. It looks like Werdum and I have a date. I’m ready whenever you are, sweetheart. I’ll take you out. Let’s go. Another thing: this fight wasn’t for these rich dudes sitting close to the cage. It was for the blue-collar workers sitting up in the nosebleeds.”
Miller Armbar Submits Camoes
AMA Fight Club’s Jim Miller submitted Fabricio Camoes with a first-round armbar in a featured lightweight scrap. Camoes (14-8-1, 1-3-1 UFC) tapped out 3:42 into round one, as he was submitted for the first time in nearly four years.
The two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts exchanged stout punches and then traded takedowns. Camoes settled into top position, only to be lured into an armbar setup from Miller (23-4, 12-3 UFC). After a brief struggle to free himself, the Brazilian reluctantly conceded defeat, his right arm racked by pain.
“I’ve had a lot of fantastic jiu-jitsu instructors,” Miller said. “We really worked on staying calm and trying to be more of a technician. You’ve seen me fight aggressive, like an animal. You’ve seen Mr. Hyde. I tried to bring Dr. Jekyll out today, and he’s a killer, too.”
Fast-Rising Poirier Smashes Brandao
American Top Team’s Dustin Poirier wiped out “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner Diego Brandao with an overwhelming barrage of punches in the first round of their featherweight showcase. Poirier (15-3, 7-2 UFC) sealed the deal 4:54 into round one, recording his eighth win in his last 10 appearances.
Brandao (18-9, 4-2 UFC), who weighed in seven pounds beyond the featherweight threshold, could not keep the Louisianan at a safe distance. Poirier uncorked punches and kicks throughout the matchup, ultimately forcing the overweight Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative to wilt in the face of overwhelming pressure. “The Diamond” trapped Brandao along the cage, battered him with punches until he fell and finished it on the ground.
“Words can’t explain how happy I am,” Poirier said. “I busted my ass for this and didn’t cut any corners. I knew I was going to win tonight. You would have had to kill me. I’m getting better every day. I’m living the dream and riding this wave.”
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