Chris Weidman's confidence never wavered. He told the MMA world for a year that he would take Anderson Silva's middleweight title.
Silva had owned the belt for seven years. He had compiled an unprecedented 16-0 career record in the Octagon.
He became the G.O.A.T -- Greatest of All-Time.
And then he got too big for his britches. Silva thought he was fighting Stephan Bonnar at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The long-time 185-pound kingpin spent the last two minutes of the opening round taunting his opponent. Silva dropped his hands, showed his ass and tried to bait Weidman into losing his composure.
The Long Island native, who entered and left the cage draped in the American flag, would have nothing of it.
As Silva barked at him to come forward, Weidman did just that. He landed a thunderous left hook that sent Silva to the deck. The replays showed that Silva was out cold when he took the left.
But nobody knew that in real time. Weidman pounced on Silva and landed 4-5 hammer fists to the face as the Brazilian's head bounced off the canvas.
And just like that Bruce Buffer was at the microphone announcing, "AND..........NEW! Middleweight Champion of the World, Chris Weidman!
Dana White wants Weidman and Silva to rematch at UFC 168 on Dec. 28. According to reports on Monday, White is thinking of pushing back Ronda Rousey-Miesha Tate II to Super Bowl weekend. Rousey-Tate is currently scheduled for the main event of UFC 168.
In the co-main event, Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar ended his three-fight losing streak by capturing a unanimous-decision win (30-27 twice, 29-28) over Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira. VegasInsider.com had it 30-27 for Edgar.
Oliveria acquitted himself quite well and both men earned bonuses for Fight of the Night honors. Edgar was better on the feet and when Oliveira tried to use his superior jiu-jitsu, he was unable to submit ‘The Answer.’
Once again, Edgar proved why he’s one of the pound-for-pound best in the world and a living legend inside the Octagon.
What’s next for Edgar? I’d love to see him matched up against Cub Swanson in a title-eliminator bout, who won his fifth consecutive fight by scoring a third-round KO of Dennis Siver, who fell to 2-1 since dropping down to the 145-pound division. Swanson hooked up his backers as a -185 favorite.
Tim Kennedy beat Roger Gracie as a -150 favorite by collecting a UD victory (30-27 twice & 29-28). VI had it 29-28 for Kennedy. Gracie tired late in the second round and was gassed throughout the final stanza.
Mark Munoz enjoyed an outstanding performance in a middleweight showdown versus Tim Boetsch, who was the short -120 ‘chalk’ at most spots. Munoz bounced back from a crushing defeat against Weidman to top Boetsch by UD (30-26, 30-27 & 29-28). VI had it 29-27 for Munoz.
Munoz has won five of his last six in the 185-pound loop. He wants a title shot but he’s at least one win away from that position. I would like to see him face Michael Bisping in Manchester this fall.
Andrew Craig might have sent Chris Leben into retirement by winning a split-decision (28-29, 29-28 & 30-27) in the last fight on the FX portion of the card. Craig improved to 3-1 in the UFC as a -160 ‘chalk.’
Gabriel Gonzaga needed only 17 seconds to dispose of Dave Herman by knockout. The loss was Herman’s fourth straight and he’ll undoubtedly get cut. Gonzaga, who was a -185 favorite, improved to 3-1 since his return to the UFC.
Edson Barboza beat Rafaello Oliveira by TKO in the second round as a -600 favorite. The ‘over’ (1.5 rounds) was a winner. Barboza became the first fighter in UFC history to finish two career fights with leg kicks.
Brian Melancon made an impressive debut by dominating Seth Baczynski as a generous +240 'dog. Melancon showed off his striking skills, hurting Baczynski with several hooks.
In the card’s opener on the Facebook page, Mike Pierce met David Mitchell in a welterweight matchup. After a lackluster first round that could’ve gone either way on the judges’ cards, Pierce asserted himself in the second round and won as a very rich -650 favorite, while ‘under’ 2.5 rounds also cashed tickets.
The favorites posted an 8-3 overall record, while the ‘over’ went 7-4.