The UFC middleweight and women’s bantamweight champions held serve over Independence Day weekend, defending their titles in equally decisive yet decidedly different fashions.
In the main event of UFC 175, Chris Weidman affirmed his status as the new king of the 185-pounders, putting to rest any notion that his two victories over longtime ruler Anderson Silva were flukes. This time, the “All-American” went up against Silva’s friend and training partner, Lyoto Machida, and while conventional wisdom held that wrestler Weidman’s safest path to victory against the karateka would be on the ground, the champion took a different route. Through the first three rounds, Weidman used a mix of constant pressure, diverse striking and takedowns to lump up his challenger. Although Machida provided some excitement with a late surge in round five, Weidman displayed a durable chin and retained his belt via unanimous decision.
Ronda Rousey needed far less time to defend her belt in the co-main event. Sixteen seconds was all it took for the champion to hurl challenger Alexis Davis to the ground and punch her unconscious, further widening the gap between Rousey and the rest of the women’s 135-pound division. Rousey announced after the fight that she is scheduled to undergo minor knee surgery; when she returns, she will likely be looking at a fight with long-sidelined top contender Cat Zingano.
The weekend’s other main event saw “The Ultimate Fighter 19” coaches and former lightweight champions Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn conclude their trilogy, this time at 145 pounds. The third meeting proved the least competitive of the bunch, as Edgar cut sharp angles and blasted through Penn’s new upright stance before securing a bloody stoppage with third-round ground-and-pound. The loss sent Penn into retirement, while Edgar looks to receive a top-five opponent in his next featherweight outing.
In other action: bantamweight Urijah Faber rebounded from his February loss to Renan Barao with a third-round rear-naked choke submission of Alex Caceres; flyweight Dustin Ortiz eked out a split decision over previously unbeaten prospect Justin Scoggins; and bantamweight newcomer Rob Font made waves with a sizzling, first-round knockout of George Roop.
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