Unfortunately for the fans, there were little to no surprises. Machida was elusive and defensive-minded as was expected, and Weidman was very methodical in his approach.
The biggest surprise came at the closing seconds of the fight when Machida went on an all-out offensive and unleashed a flurry of elbows and knees with Weidman's back against the cage. It was the most passionate burst of offense I've seen from Machida since he finished off Rashad Evans years ago to capture the light heavyweight title. As they say, however, it was too little too late.
Weidman comfortably won the first three uneventful rounds in the eyes of most observers. Weidman landed the occasional punch and scored a takedown every now and then, but nothing spectacular. The fourth round was Machida's as he managed to land some hard body kicks and tag Weidman with a couple of good punches. The fifth was a close one and probably could've gone either way, depending on how big you think Weidman's takedown was or if Machida's desperation attack before the end of the bout was of any consequence.
Prior to this match Chris Weidman had many detractors. After last night he may have won over a few new fans, but it wasn't a performance that would have people talking about him as the G.O.A.T. He did cement his status as a legitimate and formidable champion who has no real weaknesses and a strong all-around game.
This isn't anything new, though. This much has been said about Weidman for the past year. His wrestling is insanely good and everything else stems from that. He has a reliable chin and above average speed. His striking is proficient but he's not a KO artist. He has a high ring IQ and he remembers to do the little things necessary to win rounds.
If this keeps up we are probably looking at another GSP. Weidman will get the job done and not please everyone. He certainly has the potential to stay on top for years to come. I have learned from my mistake with St. Pierre. Due to his less than crowd pleasing style, I didn't begin to appreciate GSP until late in his career.
I believe fans should not make this same mistake with Chris Weidman, who lacks the flashiness of Anderson Silva nor does he have GSP's charisma. But he is undeniably good and has no equal in the middleweight division.
Nothing lasts forever and eventually, Weidman will run into an opponent who will have his number much like Silva did when he faced Weidman for the first time. We should enjoy his reign while it lasts.