LAS VEGAS -- Heading into Saturday night, there were those who felt Chris Weidman's UFC middleweight title reign, despite two victories over the legendary Anderson Silva, was a fluke.Follow @SlamSports
But at UFC 175, Weidman answered his doubters with a sensational performance. The Long Island native improved to 12-0 by defeating former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Weidman started strong and weathered a furious rally before retaining his title via unanimous decision. The judges' scores were 49-45, 48-47 and 49-46.
"He's as good as I thought," Weidman said of Machida. "He's quick. He's tricky in there."
Machida (21-5) is known for a patient style, goading opponents into making mistakes. But Weidman never let Machida get into his comfort zone, moving forward and landing with strikes, and staying active with his takedown attempts.
In the fourth round, though, Machida showed a sense of urgency and began rocking Weidman with his strikes, including a big left to the jaw at the horn. He continued to pour it on in the fifth, but Weidman managed to clear his head and land a takedown. After getting back to his feet, Machida went for one final, furious flurry before the horn sounded.
"The plan was to keep the fight standing," said Machido, a resident of Redondo Beach, Calif. "But he's a true champion. He deserves the title. I'll be back strong."
In the co-feature bout, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey put on one of the most impressive performances of her trailblazing career. She needed just 16 seconds to dispose of Canada's Alexis Davis via TKO.
Rousey, of Venice, Calif., landed a big right hand on Davis (16-6) and a knee in the clinch. She executed a picture-perfect judo throw and landed several more rights upon impact, bringing the bout to a swift conclusion.
"I box six days a week and I grapple and wrestle four days a week," Rousey (10-0) said. "So I have more to catch up with on my striking."
Rousey added to an impressive list of credentials with her fourth successful title defense in 16 months. All 10 of her victories are via finish; nine have come in the first round. The 16-second mark beat her old personal record of 25 seconds, set in two bouts.
The middleweight fight between New York City's Uriah Hall and Brazil's Thiago Santos turned into a spectacle that few will forget any time soon.
Hall, whose tenacity had been questioned by fans because of tentative performances in several fights, suffered a broken toe in his right foot in the first round. But Hall insisted on continuing, persevered, and went the distance to earn a unanimous decision over Santos (9-3).
Before the injury, Hall threw all sorts of flashy spinning punches and kicks and also found a home with series of big overhand rights. Afterward, while the output slowed, Hall never backed off, as he cruised to victory over the game Rio de Janeiro native. The cageside doctor checked out Hall's foot before the final round and cleared him to continue.
The judges' scored 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
"Every time I threw a kick, I felt the bone shifting in and out of my skin," said Hall (9-4), who has won two straight fights.
In a tactical bantamweight bout, Honolulu's Russell Doane earned a split-decision victory over Marcus Brimage of Birmingham, Ala. The judges' scores were 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27.
It was a battle of Doane's ground game vs. Brimage's striking skills. Other than a second-round knockdown by Brimage (6-3) and solid leg kicks scattered throughout the fight, Doane (14-3) managed to better dictate the bout.
In a preliminary bout of note, popular bantamweight Urijah Faber submitted upstart Alex Caceres early in the third round. The 26-year-old Caceres (10-6, 1 NC) had called out the 35-year-old Sacramento native. Faber obliged and took him to school, getting the best of all aspects of the fight before sinking in his winning rear-naked choke at 1:09 of the first round.
"Enough pressure, he's going to make a mistake," said Faber (31-6), who has won his past 10 non-title fights. "He's a young guy. I kept up the pressure and he made a mistake."
The scheduled heavyweight main-card bout between the Netherlands' Stefan Struve and Matt Mitrione was called off when Struve suffered a fainting spell and an elevated heart rate during warmups. The 7-foot, 26-year-old Struve had been out of action for more than a year following the diagnosis of a heart condition and was about to return to fighting after being cleared by doctors.
"Stefan Struve suffered a non-life-threatening, near-fainting spell backstage," the UFC stated. "Afterwards, the medical team did not feel he was fit to compete."