Broken leg ends Silva's title chances
One of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history produced an unforgettable ending. A rare, brutal, crazy unforgettable ending.
Chris Weidman successfully defended the UFC middleweight title for the first time on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by defeating all-time great Anderson Silva a second consecutive time in the process.
The result came 1:16 into the second round, when Silva (33-6) threw a left leg kick that Weidman (11-0) checked near his right knee.
Immediately, Silva fell to the ground in pain, prompting referee Herb Dean to waive an end to the fight. Replays showed Silva's shinbone snapped from the force of the collision. The official result is a second round TKO (injury) victory for Weidman. He claimed the 185-pound title in July in a stunning second-round knockout over Silva.
"That was the No. 1 one thing I got hit with in the first fight," Weidman said. "I worked a lot against guys with good leg kicks.
"I actually would think, 'If he's going to go hard on a ton of these kicks like he usually does, I could hurt him.' But it's still crazy."
Weidman, despite winning the first meeting, closed a near 2-to-1 underdog to Silva.
The Brazilian icon, widely regarded as the greatest fighter in UFC history, had won 16 consecutive fights before losing his belt to Weidman this summer. After taunting Weidman heavily during their first encounter, Silva was far more straight-laced in the rematch. He surrendered a takedown to the former collegiate wrestler 40 seconds into the fight, but scrambled back to his feet shortly after.
As the two tied up in a clinch, Weidman landed a short right hand near Silva's left temple that had him staggered. As Silva fell to the floor, Weidman pursued with punches and landed in his guard. For the next three minutes, Silva kept his guard closed to prevent Weidman from passing - but ate several elbows and right hands while stalling for the round to end.
Silva, 38, appeared recovered as he entered the second round. His movement was still intact - as was his balance.
The leg kick and injury, however, happened in an instant. It's the first time Silva has lost consecutive fights.
"He could come back, obviously, or it could be the end. We'll have to see. He's going into surgery right this second," UFC president Dana White said immediately following the fight.
Weidman, although on the winning end of both of his bouts against Silva, predicted he still might not get his due credit.
"Who knows?" Weidman said. "I'm so new in this sport. I'm 11-0 now and people can't fathom the fact I came in and beat Anderson Silva. I can understand where people are coming from but slowly and surely people will believe in me."
Weidman will likely face No. 1 middleweight contender Vitor Belfort in his second defense. Belfort had sympathy for Silva after watching the injury occur.
"It's sad, just the way it ended is sad," Belfort said. "We all have injury, I don't wish injury to anyone. "I'm sad, I feel for him, its part of the job, but its real sad."
Belfort (24-10) is coming off a monster year, in which he knocked out Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson. He said he's confident in pairing with Weidman.
"I'm getting the new belt. I was champ when I was 19, the heavyweight, I was champion with the light heavyweight, and now it's about the middleweight," he said.
Belfort said there was nothing about Weidman that worried him.
"No man, just go in there and perform. I'm unpredictable," he said. "I'm a lion. Study about the lion, the lion is unpredictable."
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This article originally appeared on ESPN.com