Tonight, in front of a raucous pro-Brazilian crowd, the two met once again inside the vaunted Octagon, and in the process headlined one of the greatest rematches in UFC history. As usual, Examiner.com was on hand to take in all the action, as one of the sport's greatest rivalries closed another chapter in its storied narrative.
Unfortunately for those watching on pay-per-view and the lucky thousands in attendance, this fight was just as "shocking" as their first encounter, but this time, it was for all the wrong reasons.
The opening round saw both fighters circle one another for the first half-minute. After the initial feeling out process, the American shot for a single-leg takedown and briefly had the former champion on his back. However, Silva posted on the Octagon canvas almost as soon as he hit the ground, and soon after, the fight was back to standing.
When the two fighters reached their feet, Weidman immediately clinched with Silva against the cage and looked to implement some “dirty boxing.” After a few successful strikes, Silva turned Weidman into the cage in the hopes of working a clinch attack of his own.
However, Weidman had different plans, as during the separation the champ floored Silva with a hook from the clinch. Silva’s eyes went blank, his legs went wobbly, and he fell to the mat in serious trouble.
The crowd erupted as the Brazilian came crashing to the mat. The native New Yorker ran in for the kill. With Weidman postured above him, Silva began to eat a bevy of aggressive ground and pound from the champion. During these moments, however, Silva was able to gather his bearings and clinch with Weidman.
The final three minutes of round one consisted of Weidman throwing vicious ground and pound, and Silva looking to clinch. In fairness to the Brazillian, he did mount an impressive bit of offense from the bottom, and even bloodied Weidman in the process.
When Silva met Weidman back at UFC 162 in July, one of the techniques that was working for him so well prior to being knocked out, was his textbook leg kicks. On that night, Weidman showed obvious discomfort as Silva peppered him with lead leg kicks.
During the second round of UFC 168, Silva opened the round looking to capitalize on the opening he saw from the first fight. Unfortunately, for Silva, as effective as those kicks were in the first fight, they would spell the demise of the once great champion on Saturday night.
At the 76-second mark of the second round of UFC 168, Anderson Silva threw a leg kick to the calf of the 29-year-old champion. Weidman checked the kick with textbook precision, ensuring that his shin would absorb the brunt of Silva’s blow.
And in one of the most gruesome and horrific scenes in MMA history, Anderson Silva’s leg snapped in half.
As the once great champion fell to the mat in agony, the fight was called off, and the UFC saw one of the most anti-climatic finishes in the company’s history.
Not exactly how you want to finish off such a stellar year, filled with so many classic fights.
The official scorecards read, at 1:16 of round two, the winner via TKO due to injury, Chris Weidman
Post-fight a contrite and respectful Weidman went to the mic to praise his contemporary.
“You know, I’ll be honest with you,” said Weidman. “No matter what happened in this fight, he’s still known as the greatest of all-time. Lots of props to Anderson Silva. I wish him the best.”
As Silva lay on the mat in obvious pain, medical personal swarmed the scene in an attempt to comfort the Brazilian.
Weidman was then asked about the kicks effectiveness from the first fight, and how he prepared to check them in the rematch. Weidman admitted he worked on the technique, but never in a million years did he see this outcome playing out.
“I thought if he went that hard on those kicks it would really end up hurting him,” said the champion. “But obviously I didn’t think that would happen.”
There were a lot of ways experts saw this fight playing out. I think it’s safe to say that all of them are in agreeance with Weidman; this was one of the most unpredictable, and most gruesome endings to a UFC fight, ever.
Listen to National MMA Examiner Ryan McKinnell's weekly podcast with Danny Acosta (USA Today Sports, Sirius Satellite Radio), Majority Draw Radio: The Precision of Indecision
Subscribe to Ryan's YouTube channel
Follow Ryan on Twitter