Moments before the start of the UFC 168 main event between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting tweeted "I just hope this fight isn't weird." It seemed like something to be joked about at the time. Shortly into the second round, as Anderson Silva's leg snapped in half, it stopped being funny.
Weidman looked great in the first round, he hurt and almost finished Silva, then spent the round on top pounding on him with elbows and punches. The night was going his way as they came out for the second round and mixed it up with some intriguing action on the feet.
Silva launched a leg kick, Weidman checked it in textbook style and Silva screamed, collapsing to the ground and clutching his shin. Replays confirmed the horrible truth, the UFC's greatest ever had suffered a horrific leg break.
Weidman ran around the cage immediately with his arms raised, an odd moment considering the freak injury nature of the victory, but he did check the kick and he did dominate the first round. There was nothing "cheap" about the win, but it still felt...wrong.
Weidman is a tremendous fighter and may be champion for a very, very long time. But it's hard to not focus on Silva after this ending. His career probably is done now. This was worse than a knockout or a submission. At 38, Silva would have to come back from a horrible injury when he'd already suggested that he might have been on his way out of the sport.
If it is the end, it's just not the way you'd like to see it happen. This isn't the kind of "going out on your shield" or "going out on top" that fight fans fantasize about with the greats.
But reality is rarely that kind.
- Ronda Rousey is must-see TV. She's done a weird turn with her public image, getting booed before, during and after her bout with Miesha Tate, but she is incredibly talented and her fights have a huge atmosphere. Has the turn she has made actually hurt her as a draw? I don't have the answer to that, but I figure we'll know within a few fights.
- Miesha Tate fought valiantly, but she was only very briefly in the fight. There was a point in the stand-up where she looked like she buzzed Rousey with a few punches and another when she seemed to hurt her with some upkicks off her back. But, for the most part, she kept trying to pit her wrestling against Rousey's judo and it was a disaster.
- Travis Browne stopped Josh Barnett for the first time since 2006. That Browne was able to win was shocking, but the massive elbows -- all of which legal -- that sealed the deal for him were incredible. Browne has rebounded from an ugly loss to get back to that title contender level that people were expecting two years ago.
- Jim Miller is just the best guy to watch. He finds ways to get into trouble against almost everyone, and having an even fight on the feet with Fabricio Camoes was fairly representative of that. But then he finds ways to win even in the other guy's best area. Submitting Camoes with a beautiful armbar being representative of that aspect of his game. Miller isn't ever going to wear UFC gold, but he's the absolute best kind of top tier gatekeeper.
- Diego Brandao was in a car accident a few weeks ago which he claimed affected his weight cut. It may have affected him in the actual fight also as Dustin Poirier demolished him. When Brandao missed weight, Poirier angrily said that he was going to break him. That is exactly what happened as Poirier broke him down badly with body punches
- Chris Leben is a tough guy, and he did a lot in the UFC. But he never should have been sent back into the Octagon after his last fight. He was clearly shot and he'd taken enough punishment for his career. Instead, they sent him back against a precision striker. Yes, Uriah Hall had a history of not letting it go in big fights. But he also was a horrific matchup for Leben on paper. And it played out exactly like it should have, with Hall dominating and breaking Leben physically and mentally. I'm not sure who gained anything from that fight.
- Michael Johnson has been sold as a guy with all the talent to be in the title picture by anyone who has ever worked with him in the gym. He is just now starting to put it all together in the cage, however. Performances like tonight's knockout of Gleison Tibau prove how much talent he really has. If he can keep this up he can make real noise in the division.