06 july 2014
Two champions. Two defences. Vastly differing fights. Chris Weidman demonstrated the heart of a champion – indeed so did challenger Lyoto Machida – to dig deep in the final two rounds after dominating the Brazilian in the stand-up by stifling the distance and range with relentless pressure.
There can be no doubt now that the American is clearly special. Granite chin, iron will, indefatigable pursuit of a legacy at 185lbs. The naysayers are now cast aside. Technical and aggressive, he eventually got the takedowns he wanted as the battle wore on. Few have ever done this to the man seen as one of the most elusive mixed martial artists in MMA history.
In the second title fight on the UFC 175 card, Ronda Rousey finished her rival Alexis Davis in 16 seconds, starting her assault in the first exchange with a right hook, a left knee and then a toss from which the bantamweight champion landed with her opponent’s head trapped under that arcing grip, nine unanswered punches finishing the deal. More on the brilliant Rousey later.
Weidman pointed out soon after his second retention of the UFC middleweight title that he had hurt his left hand two weeks earlier and had been unable to spar, and he believes that after knee surgery, he had come back too quickly. There was some peculiar scoring in the unanimous decision victory, the judges returning 49-45, 49-46 and 48-47.
Judge Chris Lee scored the second round a 10-8 to Weidman (overall 49-45), while Marcos Rosales, bizarrely, had the men after two rounds at 19-19 (overall 48-47 to Weidman), after scoring the second five minutes in favour Machida. Not easy to fathom that one.