Chris Weidman knocked Anderson Silva out cold. | Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/UFC/Getty Images
After six years, eight months and 22 days, Anderson Silva finally relinquished his hold on the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight throne.
Chris Weidman knocked out a clowning Silva with a left hook and follow-up ground strikes in the UFC 162 headliner on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, becoming the sixth middleweight champion in the promotion’s 20-year history. The unbeaten Weidman (10-0, 6-0 UFC) brought the match to a shocking and decisive close 78 seconds into round two.
“I felt I was destined for this, but it still felt a little far-fetched,” Weidman said. “I imagined it a billion times, but it still feels surreal. Ray Longo brought in guys in my camp to play with me and do things to mess with my head. It pisses me off when someone tries to do that to me. I knew little by little I was going to creep up on him and then eventually get him.”
The loss was Silva’s first legitimate defeat since December 2004 and snapped a string of 17 consecutive victories. The 38-year-old Brazilian had never before been stopped by strikes.
“No one is invincible,” Weidman said. “Respect to Anderson. I would love to have a rematch. I didn’t want to say it during my camp, but I looked up to that guy for a long time.”
Weidman took down Silva in the first round, softened him with ground-and-pound and aggressively fished for two leg locks, first a kneebar and then a heel hook. Once “The Spider” returned to his feet, he started the uncomfortable process of toying with his challenger in a scene that has grown familiar to mixed martial arts followers. However, his taunting caught up to him early in the second round, as Weidman floored and finished him at the feet of referee Herb Dean.
“Chris is the champion now,” said Silva, who had held the title since Oct. 14, 2006. “I’ve finished my working. I won’t fight for the belt anymore. Chris is the new champion. No, [I’m not retiring]. I have 10 more fights [on my contract], but I won’t fight any more for the belt. I’m tired. My time for the belt is finished now.”
Edgar Takes First Featherweight Victory
In the co-main event, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar picked up his first win at 145 pounds, as he captured a unanimous verdict from Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira. Edgar (16-4-1, 10-4-1 UFC) swept the scorecards by 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27 counts.
“The Answer” stayed a step ahead of Oliveira (16-4, 4-4 UFC) with excellent footwork and quick, accurate punching combinations. The 23-year-old Macaco Gold Team representative had his moments -- he grabbed a tight guillotine choke at the end of the second round -- but they were too few and far between to factor into the division. Edgar staggered him with right hands in the first and third rounds, all while keeping him off-balance with clinches, timely takedowns and ground-and-pound.
“It felt just as hard as a five-round fight,” said Edgar, who had not appeared in a three-round bout since December 2009. “His toughness [surprised me]. I thought I had him hurt. I was really looking to finish him in the third, but I think his height [prevented] me from landing the power shot.”
The win halted Edgar’s three-fight losing streak.
“I’ve been through hell in these last three fights,” he said. “I’m climbing my way back.”
Kennedy Outduels, Outpoints Gracie
Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts standout Tim Kennedy won for the eighth time in 10 appearances, as he snatched a unanimous decision over 10-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Roger Gracie in a middleweight showcase. All three judges sided with Kennedy (16-4, 1-0 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Gracie’s best chance at real success came and went in the first round. There, the London-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt brought the battle to the ground and transitioned to Kennedy’s back, securing the position with a body triangle. Unable to sink a submission, Gracie (6-2, 0-1 UFC) ultimately surrendered top position. From there, Kennedy was in control. He landed occasional takedowns and wore Gracie down in the clinch, sapping him of much-needed energy and locking down his first win inside the Octagon.
Munoz Ground-and-Pound Thwarts Boetsch
Takedowns, savage ground-and-pound and superb submission defense carried Mark Munoz to a unanimous verdict over Tim Boetsch in a featured middleweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it for Munoz (13-3, 8-3 UFC): 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.
A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Munoz grounded “The Barbarian” in all three rounds. He racked up points with brutal punches and hammerfists to the legs, body and head, forcing Boetsch (16-6, 7-5 UFC) to cover up in order to survive. Munoz has won five of his past six bouts.
“I feel amazing right now,” he said. “I really went through a depression that I never thought I would. I’m living proof of what you can do with determination and will. That’s what I do best. I told you Donkey Kong was going to show up today, and that’s what I did.”
Swanson Wins Fifth Straight
Resurgent Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Cub Swanson posted his fifth consecutive win, as he stopped Dennis Siver on third-round punches in a featherweight showcase. Swanson (20-5, 5-1 UFC) finished it 2:24 into round three.
Siver (21-9, 10-6 UFC) fired the first salvo, driving the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to the ground on a failed kick attempt in the first round. Swanson slowly turned the corner in the second, where his speed advantage took hold. The punches flew quicker and more accurately as the fight deepened. In the third round, Swanson cracked the Russian-born German with pinpoint right hands. He trailed the fallen Siver to the mat, closing him out with standing-to-ground blows.
“I’ve got to let the fans decide [what I do next],” Swanson said. “I’ve got to win them over to get the title shot. If the fans love me, it will happen.”
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