There can be no doubts now about Chris Weidman. Were there before? Lord I hope not, not after he finished Anderson Silva twice. Sure, Silva stupidly gave him the KO the first time and then suffered a broken leg in the rematch, but Weidman did both of those finishes, too.
Whatever. Weidman dominated former 205-pound champ Lyoto Machida for most of five rounds on Saturday night to end any doubts there might have been. If there were doubts. And lord I hope not.
In the women's title bout, Ronda Rousey moved one fight closer to cleaning out not just a division, but a gender, by KO'ing Alexis Davis. Who's left? Cat Zingano will lose, but OK. Let's see her lose. And then maybe Rousey will fight Cris Cyborg before riding off into the Hollywood sunset.
MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET, PPV)
UFC middleweight title bout (185 pounds):
Chris Weidman (champion, 11-0-0) vs. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (21-4-0)
12:38 a.m. Post-fight interviews: "He's as good as I thought," Weidman says.
"The plan was to keep the fight standing, but Chris Weidman is a tough opponent and he deserves to be champion," Machida said.
12:33 a.m. Official decision: Judges score it 49-45, 48-47, 49-46 for Chris Weidman by unanimous decision.
12:30 a.m. Round 5: They touch gloves again, and then Machida pummels Weidman's ribs with a kick. Left for Weidman, but a bigger right by Machida. They're so close they're literally giving each other high-10s as they paw at each other. Machida has Weidman against the cage and delivers 3-4 shots in a row. In the center of the cage Weidman starts scoring with his hands, but Machida answers with jabs of his own. Exchange after exchange and at the 2:30 mark it's anyone's round. Weidman opens up Machida with a standing elbow and then a left, and Machida looks momentarily stunned. Weidman takes him down at the 1:45 mark, his fifth takedown in about 15 attempts. Weidman is in half-guard, then the mount, then has the back and two hooks in. Now Machida is flattened out, but just for a few seconds as he shakes the hooks out. Weidman is riding his back, Machida rises, and they separate. Big minute for Weidman. Two rights by Machida, Weidman is hurt, and the crowd goes nuts. Weidman beckons him in. Horn. Round. Um … 10-9 for Machida, and 48-47 for Weidman -- says me.
12:24 a.m. Round 4: Standing knee to the body scores for Weidman. Joe Rogan just said Machida has to win by stoppage, so he must see it 30-27 as well. Machida kicks the body, then again, then has a clever shovel punch and a straight left behind it. Weidman goes for a takedown at the 3:30 mark but Machida steps out of it. We're two minutes into Machida's best round yet, and that was before a HUGE overhand left by Machida. Then again. Weidman is no longer moving forward, and Machida hurts him with a big right. Lyoto is swinging for the fences, not just trying to score, and he has landed 3-4 big punches. Now a body kick for Machida. Another. Machida does a shuffle, then lands a left. Machida has that look now that he has had in most of his other fights, when he knows he's the matador and not the bull. Weidman looks OK, long term, but Machida lands big left at end and wins this round 10-9. It's 39-37 Weidman.
12:17 a.m. Round 3: Weidman shoots for an ankle, but Machida steps out of it early in the round and then lands two kicks to the body of the champion. Another shot by Weidman, another sprawl by Machida. Third time, not so lucky for Machida. He is picked up and dumped onto his back, and Weidman rises up and drops right elbows at the 3:20 mark. Weidman catches his breath for several seconds, and when Machida tries to roll out of this, Weidman has his back for a few seconds before Machida gets loose, and up. Weidman slugs Machida's face, and gets hit in return. Weidman opens up Machida with a right, and then another right follows, and Machida looks like he's hurting. Weidman takes him down with 1:30 left and Machida is bleeding badly from a gash on his forehead above his right eye. Weidman is grinding on it with hammer fists, then picks up Machida and unceremoniously dumps him onto his chest. Biggest round yet, and it's 10-9 Weidman and -- I see it -- 30-27 for Weidman.
12:11 a.m. Round 2: Shogun Rua has Machida's number with strikes, but Weidman has it with pressure. Machida is stymied, and this never happens. But it is, and now Machida is coming forward out of character, and doesn't land anything. Machida's best blow just landed, a left kick to the body, but Weidman clearly is frustrating Machida. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE FRUSTRATED, DRAGON? They trade leg kicks and Weidman has slowed his stalking, and Machida is free to throw a bit more than in Round 1. Maybe Weidman's tired, but he's taking this round off -- as far as striking -- and Machida is winning it … until Weidman takes him down at the 1:00 mark. A strong finish could win this round for Weidman (it's not like Machida scored all that much). Weidman has Machida bunched against the fence and scores with some shots to the head, then knees Machida as they rise. Strong finish to a close round for … Weidman, 10-9 and 20-18.
12:05 a.m. Round 1: More screaming by Bruce Buffer BECAUSE LOUD EQUALS EXCITEMENT, and then they touch gloves, and they touch again at the start of the fight, and Weidman is stalking Machida. Everyone stalks Machida. He counters as a style, and Weidman is using kicks to score while not allowing Machida within range to punch him back. Machida fights off Weidman's first takedown, off a Machida kick, which is a huge win for The Dragon. But then Weidman's left touches Machida's chin, and I swear Machida looked hurt. Nobody said a word about it, but Machida was stiff for an instant. Three minutes in Weidman is winning this round easily, if only because Machida has done nothing offensive. A left by Machida scores at the 1:45 mark, and Weidman goes back to stalking. Everyone stalks Machida, but Weidman is so quick and aggressive that Machida can't really do anything in retaliation. Not much scoring by Weidman, but enough to win this round 10-9 clearly.
UFC women's bantamweight title bout (135 pounds):
Ronda Rousey (champion, 9-0-0) vs. Alexis Davis (16-5-0)
11:41 p.m. Post-fight: Rousey looked embarrassed as Buffer was announcing her victory, and then gave Davis a look of such sorrow as she hugged her and apologized for what she just did. This was Ronda Rousey at her absolute most likable. That is how you win with class. THAT. IS. HOW.
11:38 p.m. Round 1: After some silly yelling by Bruce Buffer -- LOUDER IS BETTER, RIGHT BRUCE? -- they touch gloves and Rousey knocks Davis out!!! Overhand right drops her, ground and pound finishes it. Davis has no idea what happened. Out. Rousey just knocked her cold. Oh my. Right, then knee, then hip-toss, then nine straight punches in the headlock. Out.
Heavyweight bout (265 pounds):
Sefan Struve (29-6-0) vs. Matt Mitrione (7-3-0)
11:17 p.m. The fight has been canceled. Struve, who has had heart issues in the past, blacked out in the dressing room tonight. "Doctors say Struve will be fine," Mike Goldberg said.
Middleweight bout (185 pounds):
Uriah Hall (9-4-0) vs. Thiago Santos (9-2-0)
11:13 p.m. Official decision: Judges score it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Uriah Hall by a split decision. Hall seems happily surprised, or surprisedly happy.
11:10 p.m. Round 3: It's definitely the toe, and it's a compound fracture from what I can tell. There's bone sticking out of Uriah Hall's toe, and he's still fighting and kicking. Unreal. The guy with the broken toe is stalking his opponent and lands a 1-2 that registers. Santos is creative with spinning attacks and stays aggressive. Big overhand right by Hall sends Santos backward, but he's OK. Without the leg kicks by Santos, this round is Hall's, especially after he lands a spinning kick to the body. Santos does one of those leaping karate-kid kicks and buries his foot in Hall's groin. Short delay for Hall to recover, and warning to Santos. They get back to it and Santos clinches with Hall, knees the back of Hall's thigh against the cage. Hall fishes for a kimura, doesn't get it, and the round ends with Santos on top. Hall 10-9, and Hall 29-28, says me.
11:03 p.m. Round 2: Uriah Hall told his corner between rounds his foot (or toe) is broken. He's back out for more, and he's moving OK for a guy with a broken foot, even bouncing from foot to foot. Santos is back to throwing leg kicks, then buckled Hall with a left hook. Hall is kicking with that allegedly broken foot, so who knows? Hall caught a leg kick, dropped Santos with a punch. Hall just pulled an Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin, backing away and slipping three Santos punches in a row with his hands down. Difference is, Hall isn't punishing Santos like Silva punished Griffin. Another close round, leg kicks by Santos and (fewer) punches by Hall. Give this round to Santos 10-9, making it 19-19 after two.
10:57 p.m. Round 1: Santos moves like a really, really big Dominick Cruz. Which is a good idea against someone as violent as Hall. Santos scores with an inside leg kick and a body kick, then another leg kick. Hall is scoring with jabs, but Santos is scoring better with leg kicks. Round will be interesting for judges, because punches to the head are sexier but Santos is drilling Hall's leg repeatedly, and Hall is limping slightly at the 1:45 mark. Hall pops Santos with a good left hook and pressures Santos now to take the kicks from the equation. Hall is closing strong and furious, and the judges will like it, especially as Hall comes in with hands down, angry, showing no respect for Santos' hands. Hell I'm impressed. It's 10-9 for Hall.
Bantamweight bout (135 pounds):
Marcus Brimage (6-2-0) vs. Russell Doane (13-3-0)
10:36 p.m. Official decision: Judges score it 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27 (!) to Doane by split decision. Brimage applauds the decision.
10:35 p.m. Round 3: Doane's high kick is caught by Brimage, who dumps him and then realizes, no, I don't want to be on the ground with him. Brimage backs away. Another awful leg kick hurts Doane, who switches stances again. He's now, officially, out of stances. Brimage kicks his leg again. He has turned this fight around with leg kicks! Hey, it happens. Brimage drops Doane with a leg kick, and Doane switches stances again. Poor guy. Doane has been slowed so much that his next takedown is thwarted by Brimage … who is wasting time in this third round. They're standing, and Brimage is content to circle and throw little. But he comes with another leg kick, thwarts another takedown, then circles some more. Close round, but Brimage wins it on leg kicks and control, 10-9, so it's 29-28 for Brimage says me. But could go other way. CLOSE.
10:28 p.m. Round 2: Doane has the reach but Brimage is more explosive, better on the feet. He's digging kicks hard into Doane's thigh, then drops him with a right hook. Brimage hops on him, but they grapple for a few seconds until they both pop up. Brimage leg-kicks the inside of Doane's thigh and Doane is buckled, switching stances to protect it. That was the biggest blow of the fight, that inside leg kick, but Doane has enough explosion to dive in for a takedown and has Brimage's back with 2:50 left. Just 40 seconds of control this time, and Brimage is up at the 2:10 mark. A leg kick for Brimage, but some Muy Thai knees from Doane lead to a clinch against the cage and then a takedown. Brimage pops up, and while this round was really close, the biggest moments were standing strikes by Brimage. Round is 10-9 for Brimage, and 19-19 after two.
10:20 p.m. Round 1: Brimage is so short, Doane's high kick soars several inches above his head. Aww! So Doane dives in for a takedown and then hops to side control instantly. Now he has a D'arce, then he goes to the back. Doane is fabulous on the ground, which we knew, and which Brimage is finding out as he receives some strikes as he lies prone. Now Doane has one hook in and threatens with a rear-naked choke. Second hook in with 2:30 left. He flattens out Brimage, crunches him with strikes, then goes for the choke again. Brimage defends well, then explodes with 58 seconds left and they're up. Brimage scores with a left hand to the head and a left inside kick, and this potential 10-8 round is 10-9 for Doane.
PRELIMS (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)
Bantamweight bout (135 pounds):
Urijah Faber (30-7-0) vs. Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres (10-5-0, 1 NC)
9:50 p.m. Round 3: Faber clinches Caceres, takes him down, takes his back and chokes him out until it's the submission win for Faber.
9:47 p.m. Round 2: Caceres is grinning after a 1-2 from Faber, which means Faber hurt him. And he did. And then Faber took him down. Caceres fends him off and Faber gets him back down. They're scrambling and Faber has his back momentarily, but Caceres separates and actually sends a karate side kick into Faber's face. They get back to the clinch and Faber wins ths round with activity, and leads 20-18.
9:41 p.m. Round 1: Caceres has a 6-inch reach advantage and tries to use it with jabs. Faber charges, wins a takedown but gets stymied by Caceres, who pops up as they clinch. Crazy tumble by Caceres, who rolls into a standing position with a big grin ... but Faber follows him and dumps him on the ground with 3:30 left. Faber is busy and scoring enough to keep the fight on the ground, but when he tries to posture up to land serious damage, Caceres goes for submission positioning and Faber has to bury his chin in Caceres' chest again. Good defense by Caceres to avoid major damage, but Faber won this round very clearly, 10-9.
Welterweight bout (170 pounds):
Kenny Robertson (13-3-0) vs. Ildemar Alcantara (20-6-0)
9:27 p.m. Official decision: All three judges scores this 30-26 (!!) for Robertson by unanimous decision.
9:24 p.m. Round 3: Alcantara looks too tired to mount the finishing flurry he'll need, and Robertson closes with a standing elbow to the face and then a knee to the, um, groin. Brief stop for Alcantara to recover. "Are you OK?" the ref asks Alcantara. "No," Alcantara says. Honesty, always the best policy. They're back to fighting, and Alcantara lands body kicks. Robertson knees Alcantara a second time in the, um, groin. That was more of the shin going into the groin. Another warning, but no point deduction (yet?). Robertson lands a great right, his best standing strike of the fight, and then Alcantara takes down Robertson. Interesting. Two minutes left, and Robertson is trying to sweep him to get on top. And does. With 1:40 left, Alcantara is screwed. Close round, and Alcantara might deserve to win it, but he won't. Not on bottom again as Robertson pounds on him. Closest round of the fight, but still 10-9 for Robertson and a 30-27 win, says me.
9:16 p.m. Round 2: Alcantara scores with a right hook and Robertson sloppily tries to close the distance for several punching combos. Looks terrible doing it, and isn't reaching Alcantara anyway. Robertson's world is the ground, and this standup shows why. Yeesh. At the 2:55 mark Robertson takes down Alcantara by the ankles and wastes no time dropping punches. Alcantara gets up for a moment but is taken back down by Robertson, who has 1:55 to win this round. He's in the full mount at 1:45, lefts and rights coming down. Now elbows. Robertson uses a kimura to move into side control, then back into mount, and he's trying to finish with the arm lock. Side control again, grounding and pounding with elbows. Robertson rallied to win this round easily, and leads 20-18.
9:10 p.m. Round 1: Robertson gets Alcantara down and pounds on him. This isn't Santos laying and praying like in the last fight -- this is Ground and Pound 101. Hard elbows to the temple, punches to the jaw, lefts and rights. Robertson is so active, Alcantara can't get his BJJ game going. This is a 10-9 drubbing for Robertson.
Middleweight bout (185 pounds):
Chris Camozzi (19-7-0) vs. Bruce Santos (13-1-0)
8:53 p.m. Official decision: Judges gonna judge. They scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for Santos by split decision.
8:50 p.m. Round 3: Camozzi is keeping Santos at distance and winning the early part of the round with jabs and hooks. Santos is winging wild overhand rights, then dumps Camozzi with 2:50 left. Camozzi is more active on bottom than Santos is on top -- Santos is just lying there -- and now Camozzi is going for a kimura from his back. Santos has been on top for 75 seconds and done bupkis. Hey, he just landed a ground strike! And Camozzi is up with 65 seconds left, throws a knee to the body, and Santos catches him and elevates him and dumps him on his back. Close round. Santos controlled the cage. Camozzi was more active. I'd give this round and fight to Camozzi, but the judges will say Santos 29-28.
8:44 p.m. Round 2: Santos drills Camozzi with a punch, then gets him down at the 4:20 mark. Camozzi is scoring better from the bottom with elbows on the way up, but judges are stupid so they won't see it that way. At the 2:40 mark Santos gets to half-guard and now is going for a head-and-arm choke position from side control. Camozzi gets it back to guard, then lands some more elbows. Santos' scalp can't take too many of those. And as I say that, Santos is now bleeding. But he hops into side control and does absolutely nothing with it. Camozzi gets up, but Santos sort of trips both of them back to the ground. Santos looks exhausted, but his cage control is gonna win this round. Tied at 19-19.
8:38 p.m. Round 1: Camozzi is huge in a tall way. Santos is huge in a huge way. The guy looks like a fire hydrant, only thicker. Santos is blinking and flinching when Camozzi approaches with fists. Not a good look, fire hydrant. Poor Santos, he can't reach Camozzi very easily. But Camozzi just reached Santos easily with an overhand right. They clinch and Santos has Camozzi against the cage but can't get him down. Big win for Camozzi, who gets a second chance to get away from the clinch and does. Santos is working hard for nothing. 10-9 round for Camozzi.
Bantamweight bout (135 pounds):
George Roop (15-11-1) vs. Rob Font (10-1-0)
8:14 p.m. Round 1: Roop's a giant 135-pounder at 6-foot-1, but his reach is an inch less than his height, meaning he has -- medical term -- alligator arms. The 5-8 Font is coming down from 145 and has (more medical jargon) a much stronger build than Roop and he wades inside to use it. They're trading leg kicks and Roop's seem stronger, but then BOOM -- Font knocks Roop senseless with a hard-charging right to the upper jaw.
EARLY PRELIMS (UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET)
Middleweight bout (185 pounds):
Luke Zachrich (13-3-0) vs. Guilherme Vasconcelos (3-1-0)
7:49 p.m. Official decision: Judges score this one 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Zachrich by unanimous decision.
7:46 p.m. Round 3: Vasconcelos' corner told him before this round that he has to finish Zachrich, but I'll tell you this: Thank God Vasconcelos is a model, not a brain surgeon, because he's trying to win this damn fight on his feet. And he's a world champion in BJJ! And Zachrich, at least years ago, had a huge hole at BJJ defense. Whatever. Zachrich is peppering that jab and landing body shots, though this round is closer for Vasconcelos, whose volume is superior to Zachrich's for the first time tonight. Zachrich may have lost this round -- close call -- but he won this fight with superior boxing and game-planning. Zachrich 29-28, says me.
7:40 p.m. Round 2: Zachrich hurt Vasconcelos early with a long, straight right, and starts scoring again with jabs and double jabs. Vasconcelos had better take this fight to the ground WHERE I SAID HE WOULD WIN, or he's gonna lose. And I'll be wrong. Again. At the 3:30 mark Vasconcelos tries a takedown, but it's weak and Zachrich fends it off easily. Joe Rogan says he's surprised Vasconcelos hasn't tried to take this fight down AND AREN'T WE ALL, JOE? Anyway … Zachrich has come a long way since he was on the TUF reality show six years ago, and also since he and I trained in the same gym around the same time. (Well, we did.) He's jabbing and hooking Vasconcelos into oblivion. Vasconcelos is pretty for a fighter, but maybe he should go back to modeling if this is how he plans out his fights. This is a sparring session he can't win. Zachrich leads 20-18.
7:34 p.m. Round 1: Vasconcelos is too pretty to be a fighter -- he's done some modeling, actually -- but there he is in the Octagon … doing nothing. Nobody throws a punch for the first 30 seconds. Hell, this time last fight, Casey had his guy nearly asleep. And I thought Casey sucked! Ah well. They're exchanging now and Zachrich is better on the feet though nothing of note has landed. Vasconcelos is scoring only with leg kicks, but has landed two hard ones. Zachrich caught him flush and Vasconcelos was stunned, and then Zachrich double-jabbed his head backward. Obvious 10-9 round for Zachrich.
7:17 p.m. Prediction: Zachrich is from the Jorge Gurgel school of fighting, and for some reason, Gurgel's guys tend to have poor submission defense. Bad news: Vasconcelos is nasty on the ground. Look for him to win by sub here.
Middleweight bout (185 pounds):
Kevin Casey (5-3-0) vs. Bubba Bush (8-2-0)
7:12 p.m. Round 1: Casey drops Bush with his first punch, 15 seconds in, moving backward! So maybe Kevin Casey is a lot better than I thought. Or maybe he's gotten a lot better. Either way, Bush is on the bottom being elbowed ... and he's out. And I suck at predictions. Kevin Casey via KO.
7:06 p.m. Prediction: I got two for you. One, the Zachrich-Vasconcelos fight isn't the first one tonight. Two, Casey's not good enough to be in the UFC. I'm going to assume Bush is -- never seen him before, but what are the odds there are two sub-UFC fighters in the same UFC fight? -- so Bush wins.
UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman defends his 185-pound title against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida in the main event of UFC 175 Saturday night in Las Vegas.
For the undefeated Weidman (11-0), the fight marks his first title defense aside from a rematch with former champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva, which Weidman won after a series of checked kicks led to Silva breaking his leg in Round 2.
Machida (21-4-0) is on a two-fight win streak, knocking out Mark Munoz with a head kick in October 2013 and defeating Gegard Mousasi via unanimous decision in February. The fight marks the first time Machida has challenged for a UFC title since losing to Jon "Bones" Jones in a failed bid to regain the light heavyweight title in December 2011.
Also on the UFC 175 main card, women's bantamweight titleholder -- and arguably the UFC's biggest star -- "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (9-0-0) puts her undefeated record on the line against Alexis Davis (16-5-0).
Tale of the tape for UFC 175's two title fights:
|Tale of the Tape: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida|
|Chris Weidman (C)||vs.||Lyoto Machida|
|78.0 in.||Reach*||74.0 in.|
|185 pounds||Weight*||185 pounds|
|Tale of the Tape: Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis|
|Ronda Rousey (C)||vs.||Alexis Davis|
|66.0 in.||Reach*||67.0 in.|
|135 pounds||Weight*||135 pounds|