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Ex-Hofstra wrestler Chris Weidman retains title as Silva breaks leg at UFC 168

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Chris Weidman, UFC middleweight champion and former Hofstra University All-American wrestler, held onto his title when his opponent Anderson “Spider” Silva suffered a match-ending – and possibly career-ending -- broken leg at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Saturday night.

Silva suffered the leg injury – described by various media reports as “horrific” and “gruesome” – while attempting a leg kick in the second round of the scheduled five-round match. The referee immediately stopped the match at 2:16 of Round 2.

“In the second round, Silva threw a leg kick,” reported USA Today. “Weidman checked the kick, and Silva immediately fell to the canvas – with his leg badly broken in one of the most gruesome injuries in mixed martial arts history.”

In its recap, mixed martial arts website Sherdog.com wrote: “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.”

Sherdog.com's live, more detailed play-by-play described the injury thusly: “Weidman thuds a hard kick to Silva’s midsection, and Silva answers with a leg kick which Weidman checks. Silva’s leg breaks grotesquely as the kick is checked, and ‘The Spider’ falls to the ground in agony. This one ends in bizarre and gruesome fashion, and Chris Weidman retains his UFC middleweight title.”

After the match, Weidman said, “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. 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.”

On Sunday, Zuffa – the organization that owns UFC – issued the following statement concerning Silva’s injury:

“Following Saturday evening’s UFC 168 main event, former champion Anderson Silva was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a broken left leg. The successful surgery, performed by Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC’s orthopedic surgeon, inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson’s left tibia. The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time. Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months.”

Weidman had won the Ultimate Fighting Championships middleweight title in July by knocking out Silva in the second round at UFC 162 in Las Vegas.

Weidman is now 11-0-0 in MMA competition, while Silva is 33-6-0.

A Long Island native, Weidman was a NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-American at Nassau Community College, then became a two-time NCAA Division I All-American for Hofstra at 197 pounds, placing 6th at the 2006 NCAAs, and third in 2007. He compiled a 51-21 record in two seasons with the Pride. Weidman, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2007, was named to the Colonial Athletic Association's Silver Anniversary Wrestling Team in 2009.

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