Great things can happen in mixed martial arts when two tremendously skilled fighters are set to meet each other in the cage. That was the case with UFC 175 and the bout between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida.
Weidman and Machida battled for five rounds that saw the best of what MMA can be. The start of the fight was slow, but with purpose as both men were attempting to find their rhythm. Weidman made that very hard on Machida by applying pressure in ways that kept Machida from getting comfortable and establishing the range and attack that makes him so effective.
Machida still found opportunities to let loose with effective body attacks that did pay off in he end as Weidman visibly tired in the championship rounds.
As the fight went deeper, the two men engaged in more and more exchanges that seemed like brilliant opportunities for either man to get a stoppage.
Weidman survived some tremendous blitzes from Machida and got his hand raised in a deserving decision.
But both men can be proud of this fight. And it should stand out as one of the absolute best fights of 2014 while representing so much of what makes MMA a great sport.
- What do you do with Ronda Rousey at this point? Yes, Cat Zingano should get her title shot, that's fair. But does anyone actually think that Zingano will win that fight? It certainly seems like a situation where Rousey is simply far too good for anyone that the UFC can doom to stand across the Octagon from her. The beating she put on Alexis Davis was so much brutality packed in 16 seconds. I don't remember ever seeing a fighter continue trying to fight the ref for as long as Davis after she was knocked silly.
- I don't blame Joe Rogan for asking Rousey if she would save the UFC 176 card and slide into the main event, but it was an unprofessional moment on a few fronts. The production truck should not put Rousey in such a bad situation, and Rogan should know better than to simply go along with being asked. But White's reaction of clear anger should make it clear that this wasn't a part of some UFC scheme to pressure her into the fight, just a bad moment from production.
- There's not much to say about the Stefan Struve situation at this point. We need to just hope that he is okay after having a "near-feinting situation" and having his bout with Matt Mitrione canceled. The UFC seemed to suggest that it was just a panic attack, and that seems to be the best case scenario. But, given his history of heart trouble, it is certainly scary.
- Uriah Hall's win over Thiago Santos is mainly memorable because he suffered a compound fracture of his toe, bone sticking out and everything, but his corner somehow convinced the doctor that that's how it was before. I'm all for not stopping a fight just because of a toe fracture, but when the bone is poking out, that's a fair time to let the doctor call it off. And the doctor was clearly uncomfortable allowing the fight to continue.
- I would be lying if I said I could talk about Russell Doane beating Marcus Brimage as I was dealing with Stefan Struve news at that point.
- Alex Caceres had a "best case scenario" kind of night, managing to get the "nice try, kid" reaction in his loss to Urijah Faber. Most felt Caceres would be overmatched, and he was. But he still managed to represent himself well before Faber's class proved too much.
- Rob Font managed to rob George Roop of all the bones in his body. That knockout was truly stunning as a Font win wasn't shocking, but the violence involved truly was.