Forget his front kick KO of Vitor Belfort. Forget the one-punch destruction of Forrest Griffin, or the amazing comeback victory when all seemed lost against Chael Sonnen.
If Anderson Silva can come back from the shocking broken leg he suffered against Chris Weidman in their UFC middleweight title bout in Las Vegas today, it will be the biggest achievement of his career. Period.
Silva, 38, was a hot favourite to regain the UFC title he lost when knocked out while showboating against Weidman earlier this year.
This might be the end of a great mixed martial arts career.
He was under real pressure in the first round of their rematch at the MGM Grand today, when he was struck with a strong overhand right and forced to endure three minutes of ground-and-pound from a surging Weidman.
Silva survived the round, and it seemed he was just starting to find his groove early in the second when he landed some strong jabs and leg kicks.
However, it was those leg kicks that would prove Silva’s undoing. At 1:16 of round two, Weidman checked a Silva leg kick, and the lower half of Silva’s left leg snapped sickeningly at 90 degrees. Referee Herb Dean called a halt to the contest with Silva screaming and writhing in pain on the canvas.
— Daniel Sankey (@Daniel_Sankey) December 29, 2013
“This might be the end of a great mixed martial arts career,” respected UFC commentator Joe Rogan said in the aftermath of the bout.
“At the very least, [it will be] a long time recovery. We remember how long it took [former UFC heavyweight champion] Frank Mir to come back from his motorcycle injury, when he snapped his leg. And Frank came back and was never himself again for years. It took at least a year-and-a-half, two years after his return to start to see the real Frank Mir again.
“That’s only the second time we’ve ever seen that inside the Octagon, and to see it from Anderson Silva…”
— Daniel Sankey (@Daniel_Sankey) December 29, 2013
UFC president Dana White confirmed in a post-fight interview that Silva would have immediate surgery.
“What I’ve heard from [Silva’s] corner is that first kick that Weidman checked from Anderson, it cracked … like, his shin cracked, and he felt it and it felt weird. Then, he threw that hard leg kick and his leg broke.”
White said the UFC was braced for the very real possibility that Silva had fought in the UFC for the last time.
“It’s very possible that could be his last fight ever, and it’s possible that he’s such a talented guy that he could come back from it,” he said.
“It’s obviously very disappointing if that’s his last fight. When something like that happens to you, you’re probably never going to want to throw a leg kick again as long as you live.”
The TKO loss leaves Silva with an MMA record of 33 wins and 6 losses. The Brazilian legend, who holds the UFC record for most consecutive victories (16) and title defences (10), has now lost his past two bouts to Weidman, who moves to 11-0 (including seven in the UFC).
Weidman will next defend his UFC middleweight title against another Brazilian, Vitor Belfort, who has won five of six bouts since being defeated by Silva at UFC 126 in February, 2011. His only loss since came when he stepped up to light heavyweight to challenge Jon Jones for the title.
• Can Anderson Silva come back from this injury? Vote in our poll (below), or leave a comment here
Earlier, Ronda Rousey defended her women’s bantamweight title, but she was forced to do it the hard way against a game Miesha Tate. Rousey, who had seven first round victories by armbar heading into her second UFC title defence, was forced to go to the third round for the first time in her career before finally winning with her signature armbar submission.
Rousey (8-0) will now defend her women’s bantamweight title against Sara McMann at UFC 170 on February 22 in a bout that will pit two former Olympians against each other. Rousey won a bronze medal in judo for the USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while McMann was a silver medallist for the USA in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Also on the UFC 170 card is a light heavyweight bout between former champion Rashad Evans (19-3) and former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (13-0), while there will be plenty of local interest in the welterweight bout between Australia’s The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes winner Robert Whittaker (11-3) and kickboxer Stephen Thompson (8-1).
UFC 168 results
• Middleweight title bout: Chris Weidman (c) defeated Anderson Silva via TKO (injury, broken leg) at 1:16 of Round 2.
• Women’s bantamweight title: Ronda Rousey (c) defeated Miesha Tate via submission (armbar) at 0:58 of Round 3.
• Heavyweight: Travis Browne defeated Josh Barnett via KO (elbows) at 1:00 of Round 1.
• Lightweight: Jim Miller defeated Fabricio Camões via submission (armbar) at 3:42 of Round 1.
• Featherweight (catchweight 151.5lb): Dustin Poirier defeated Diego Brandao via TKO (punches) at 4:54 of Round 1.
• Middleweight: Uriah Hall defeated Chris Leben via TKO (corner stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 1.
• Lightweight: Michael Johnson defeated Gleison Tibau via KO (punches) at 1:32 of Round 2.
• Featherweight: Dennis Siver defeated Manvel Gamburyan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
• Welterweight: John Howard defeated Siyar Bahadurzada via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
• Welterweight: William Macario defeated Bobby Voelker via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
• Featherweight: Robbie Peralta defeated Estevan Payan via KO (punches) at 0:12 of Round 3.