Somebody other than Anderson Silva possesses the UFC middleweight belt for the first time since 2006.
And Silva has only himself to blame.
Chris Weidman took advantage of some of Silva’s usual showboating early in the second round to knock out the longtime champ. A left hook to the chin of a lackadaisical Silva dropped him and a few moments (and a few more Weidman punches later), the fight was halted.
“We expected him to do things like that,” Weidman said. “He’s done it plenty of times in a lot of fights. I don’t see him as being cocky. He’s trying to mentally defeat you in there. It got to the point when he was doing it, ‘You know what? Screw this. I’m hitting him.’”
Silva’s never shied away from showboating, especially as he ruled the middleweight division where he successfully defended the belt a UFC record 10 times.
But it was clear early on that Weidman — who improved to 10-0 — would be a challenge. Not only is Weidman a stellar wrestler, he showed with one punch he can be a powerful striker.
“People are going to say a lot of things now,” Silva said through an interpreter. “They are going to say Chris got lucky or I underestimated him. But we need to respect what he did and we need to respect he went in there and beat me. That’s pretty much it.”
Weidman was the aggressor early and had Silva in trouble on the ground a couple times in a wild first round. From the start of the second, Silva turned up the hot dogging — something that ultimately ended his reign.
“I don’t feel he’s disrespected his opponents out there,” Weidman said. “I think he was trying to get the mental edge and wait for you to get angry.”
It was Silva’s first loss in the UFC and also his first loss by knockout as a pro.
UFC president Dana White had guaranteed that Silva would get a rematch against Weidman — and White stuck to the promise even as Silva seemed at best lukewarm to the idea.
“I guarantee you there is nothing I want more than a rematch with Chris Weidman,” White said.
Silva, however, said first he needs “three to four months” off before he decides what’s next.
“I’ve defended this title for a long time and now I need to take some time off for myself,” Silva said.
Silva recently signed a 10-fight deal and there’s been a lot of talk about a “Super Fight” against Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre. That’s not going to happen anytime soon with Silva’s loss, according to White.
“That fight cost Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva a lot of money,” White said. “In those Super Fights, he was the link to both of them.”
White announced that Jones, the light heavyweight champ, will next face Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 on Sept. 21. Welterweight champ St-Pierre will fight Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 on Nov. 16.
Frankie Edgar, in his first non-title fight since 2009, eased to victory over fellow featherweight Charles Oliveira with a unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, in the co-main. Edgar, the former lightweight champion, used his boxing skills to set the pace in a rare three-round fight for Edgar, who entered on a three-fight skid.
“I’ve been through the hell my last two fights and I’ve fought my way back,” Edgar said in his televised post-fight interview.
Mark Munoz was dominant in his first step inside the Octagon since a loss to Weidman last July. Injuries — and memories of the loss to Weidman — sent Munoz into depression and he ballooned past 260 pounds.
But Munoz weighed in at 185 pounds on Friday and, on Saturday, destroyed Tim Boetsch. Munoz put on a wrestling exhibition for much of the fight and also landed 132 total strikes (77 percent) to Boetsch’s 50 strikes (72 percent), according to FightMetric.com.
“I’m feeling so happy, I’m home back in the Octagon and I knew if I just kept working and kept pushing I’d get the win,” Munoz said. “I was hitting him with everything I had so I really appreciate just pushing through and getting the win.”
Munoz raised his hand at the news conference and volunteered to fight Weidman next.
“If Anderson doesn’t want to fight Chris, I would love to fight him,” Munoz said.
Featherweight Cub Swanson made his latest argument for a title shot in the third round against Dennis Siver.
Swanson dropped Siver with a massive combination. Swanson, with his foot atop Siver’s chest, continued to slug away before the fight was stopped — maybe a little too late — midway through the third. The win was Swanson’s fifth in a row, the fourth by knockout during that stretch.
“I tried to go after him right away but had to step back and compose myself to regain the energy I needed in order to finish the fight,” Swanson said. “I’m the No. 1 contender in the division, when I get that call for my next fight, I will be ready to go for the belt.”
The final fight on the main card featured Roger Gracie and Tim Kennedy, both fighters making their UFC debuts. The first two rounds were a grappling showcase, as you might expect when a fighter with the name “Gracie” is involved — the family known for pioneering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The third round — with both fighters winded, especially Gracie — turned into a stand-up battle. In the end, Kennedy, a former Strikeforce fighter, earned a unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
The quickest fight of the night came on the undercard broadcast on FX as Gabriel Gonzaga needed all of 17 seconds to knock out Dave Herman in the heavyweight bout. Gonzaga walked through a low kick by Herman and delivered a crushing right hand to Herman’s chin. Herman crumpled and the fight was stopped after Gonzaga followed with a couple more punches.
“I was ready to stand up or go on the ground,” Gonzaga said. “I saw the opening and am very happy to have gotten the knockout so fast.”
In post-fight awards Edgar vs. Oliveira and Siver vs. Swanson were both named Fight of the Night, earning $50,000 for each fighter. Weidman got $50,000 for Knockout of the Night.