Weidman Survives Late Flurry From Machida
Chris Weidman can now truly say that he is the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.
Weidman fought the five round distance for the first time in his UFC career as he outslugged former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in the main event of UFC 175 on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Nevada, USA.
The unanimous decision win marked Weidman’s second successful title defense of the belt which he took from Anderson Silva last July 6, 2013. Weidman’s two previous victories over Silva were criticized as being flukes due to the circumstances with which he won both bouts. But this time around, Weidman made sure there would be no doubts. He dominated Machida in the first three rounds and then survived a desperate finishing kick by the Brazilian challenger to retain his title and remain unbeaten.
Fight of the Year Candidate
After owning last year’s “Knockout of the Year” with his first win over Silva, Weidman now has one of the early favorites for “Fight of the Year”.
As expected, the bout went off to a slow start because of Machida’s hit and run style of striking. But from the opening bell, Weidman was determined to put relentless pressure on Machida. Machida, on the other hand circled around the octagon and looked for opportunities to counter Weidman. But there were few openings for the Dragon early on.
And after a close first two rounds, Weidman had a 10-8 third round from one of the judges as he started to gain control and dominate his challenger. Weidman scored two takedowns on Machida in the third round and cut him above the left eye after a barrage of power punches.
But just when everyone thought that Weidman would cruise his way to a dominating victory, Machida came to life in the fourth round after a brief takedown from Weidman. Then Machida finally started to connect with the left counter that he had been trying since the start of the fight. One of those left hands stunned Weidman and backed him up. With the champion’s hands down, Machida went in for the finish by landing a flurry of strikes which Weidman took well As the round ended, the American crowd looked stunned at their champion who looked like he was running out of gas.
Knowing that he needed a stoppage to win the bout, Machida continued his onslaught by stuffing two takedown attempts and nailing Weidman with hard head shots early in the fifth round. But Weidman’s chin was granite and his heart was a champion as he mustered enough strength to launch a final attack on Machida. He solidified his chances by securing a big takedown late in the fight, and his one minute of effective top position looked to take the fight away from the Dragon. But Machida incredibly broke loose from Weidman and finished the final 20 seconds of the bout by landing serious strikes that again hurt and rolled Weidman to the fence until the final bell.
Weidman won by scores of 49-45, 49-46 and 48-47. He improved his record to 12-0 with 5 KOs and 3 submissions. Machida fell to 21-5 with 8KOs and 2 submissions. It was his first loss since dropping to 185 lbs. last year. Fightmetric.com had Weidman outgunning Machida 90-63 in total strikes landed and 65-58 in significant strikes landed.
UFC 175 was fought one day after the fourth of July, and it was a fitting coronation night for the man they call the All-American and solidifies his stake as the best middleweight fighter in the sport.
Weidman was a two time NCAA Division 1 All-American at Hofstra where he won 3rd place in the NCAA tournament during his senior year. It’s that wrestling background that has given him the edge against his opponents in the UFC. Weidman is one of the most dangerous ground strikers in the game and is considered as one of the strongest middleweight fighters ever. Even light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier thinks Weidman could be the strongest dude up to the light heavyweight class.
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