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LAS VEGAS -- The day that no mixed martial arts fan thought would ever come arrived Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Chris Weidman dethroned longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
A left hook caught Silva in the second round and sent him to the canvas. Weidman jumped on the fallen champion and began delivering more hard punches.
|Anderson Silva was in the process of taunting Chris Weidman before being caught flush.|
Silva's head snapped backward from the clean shots and referee Herb Dean was forced to save him at the 1:18 mark.
Shock reverberated throughout the arena, except on the face of Weidman.
Before he stepped in the cage at UFC 162 to face Silva, there wasn't the slightest doubt in Weidman's mind that he would win.
For the past three-plus years, Weidman had been biding his time, waiting for the day when he would unseat the man considered the greatest mixed martial artist ever.
"I felt I was destined for this," Weidman said. "I imagined doing this many times in my head, but it's surreal."
Weidman expressed respect for the 38-year-old Silva, but wasn't pleased with the taunting antics that the champion displayed in the cage.
"It [ticked] me off when someone tries to do that [clown around with] me," said Weidman, who improved to 10-0.
Silva suffered his first loss in UFC competition. He had successfully defended the title a UFC-record 10 times.
After the loss, Silva said he has no intention of asking for a rematch. In fact, Silva said he will not seek to regain the title again.
"I trained hard for this fight," Silva said. "I changed my life. I changed the life of my family. Chris Weidman tonight is the champion. Chris is the best.
"I won't fight [again] for the belt. I had the belt for a long time."
Silva will, however, fulfill his UFC contractual obligation.
"I have 10 more fights [with UFC], but not [necessarily] for the belt."
Silva falls to 33-5 as a pro.
Three consecutive title fight losses might have some fighters questioning their standing, but not former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
|Frankie Edgar, top, survived a few tense moments while battling his way back into the winner's circle with a decision over Charles Oliveira.|
Competing for the second time at 145 pounds, Edgar looked sharp against the taller, leaner Charles Oliveira. Edgar, who stands 5 feet 6, controlled the 5-10 Oliveira on the feet and ground en route to a unanimous decision.
The judges scored the fight 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27. ESPN.com had Edgar winning 30-27.
Edgar used solid overhand rights to catch Oliveira on the chin, especially in the third round, that brought most in the crowd to their feet.
Though he was outclassed for much of the three-round affair, Oliveira did have his moments. In the third, he connected with a right hand that momentarily wobbled Edgar.
Edgar was competing in a three-round bout for the first time since December 2009. But Oliveira made sure Edgar would have to fight just as hard as ever.
"It [fighting in a three-round fight] was just as hard as a five-round fight," said Edgar, who improved to 14-4-1. "He's tough. I thought I had him hurt a few times, but he's showed toughness."
Oliveira drops his second fight in a row. His professional record falls to 16-4.
Former Strikeforce middleweights Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie made their UFC debuts, but neither made their first appearance inside the Octagon memorable.
|Tim Kennedy managed to get his hand raised by forcing his will upon Roger Gracie for most of their three-round bout.|
Kennedy earned the victory by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, but never gained full control of the strike-challenged Gracie. ESPN.com had Kennedy winning 29-28.
Gracie was able to get Kennedy's back in the opening round and attempted to submit him. But Kennedy displayed solid jiu-jitsu defense and survived the round.
But once each fighter began sweating, Gracie could no longer get Kennedy off his feet. Gracie, unable to apply a submission hold, was forced to compete in a striking game.
He wasn't in Kennedy's league on the feet and ate several kicks to his front left leg and overhand rights on the jaw.
Kennedy won his second consecutive fight to improve to 16-4.
Gracie had his win streak snapped at two to fall to 6-2.
Mark Munoz was on the fast track toward a middleweight title shot before running into Chris Weidman on July 11, 2012.
|Despite a recent rut, Mark Munoz has won his fair share of fights while campaigning with the UFC.|
For the first time since that second-round KO, Munoz returned to action and utilized his wrestling skills to overwhelm the physically larger Tim Boetsch on the ground, especially in the final two rounds, to secure a unanimous decision.
The judges scored the fight 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28 for Munoz. ESPN.com had Munoz winning 30-27. The win should send a message to all 185-pound fighters that he remains a force in the division.
From the top position, Munoz punished the left side of Boetsch's body with hard right hands.
When Boetsch tried to protect his sore right rib cage, Munoz turned his attention upstairs. The punches softened Boetsch up and he was unable to muster any offense in the third round.
The win was a sure sign that Munoz has fully rebounded from a yearlong bout with depression.
"I feel amazing right now," said Munoz, who improved 13-3, 8-3 in UFC competition. "I've really went through a depression I never thought [I'd be in]. But I'm a great example that you can overcome depression. I thank God."
Boetsch lost for the second consecutive bout to fall to 16-6.
Cub Swanson and Dennis Siver are featherweight contenders, but neither ranks in the top five. Swanson entered the fight ranked No. 7 by ESPN.com; Siver was ninth.
Each man was looking to catapult into the division's upper echelon with a win. It appeared early on as if Siver would be the one to move up.
|Cub Swanson turned it on late to turn the lights out on Dennis Siver.|
But a desperate Swanson picked up his aggression near the end of Round 2, and maintained that momentum heading into the third. The fresher fighter after two rounds, Swanson began unleashing hard right hands and kicks.
A right hand caught Siver behind the left ear and sent him to the canvas. Swanson pounced on his fallen foe, forcing referee Herb Dean to jump in at the 2:24 mark.
After extending his winning streak to five and improving to 20-5, Swanson turned his attention to possibly fighting for the title.
"I've got to let the fans decide," Swanson said. "I have to win them over to get a title shot."
Siver suffered his first loss as a featherweight to fall to 21-9. It was just his second loss in eight fights.
It's been a roller-coaster ride for Chris Leben since his 2006 loss to former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, winning just half of his next 14 fights.
|Chris Leben, right, found himself on the wrong end of Andrew Craig's strikes -- and of the win column.|
If there was any chance of Leben regaining any of his previous glory, a win over Andrew Craig would have been a nice place to start.
But Leben was sluggish throughout the three-round affair, eating hard right hands repeatedly and getting taken to the ground often in the final round. Though clearly outclassed, the former No. 1 contender fought valiantly throughout but it wasn't enough to end his two-fight skid.
Craig controlled the bout en route to a split decision.
Two judges had Craig winning 30-27 and 29-28. The third saw it in favor of Leben 29-28. ESPN.com had Craig winning the fight 30-27.
"He hits hard as rock, much harder than other fighters," Craig said. "My hand hurts like crazy [from hitting Leben]; I can't believe I didn't finish him."
Leben falls to 22-10, and his three-fight losing streak is the first in his professional mixed martial arts career.
|Norman Parke's higher output in the early rounds helped him cruise past Kazuki Tokudome.|
In a battle of lightweight southpaws, Norman Parke landed overhand lefts repeatedly in the first two rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory over Kazuki Tokudome.
Two judges scored the fight 30-27, while the third had it 29-28. ESPN.com also gave the edge to Parke, 29-28.
The win extended Parke's streak to nine. He improved to 18-2. It was Parke's second win in a row in UFC competition.
Aside from his bread-and-butter left, Parke tossed in a few kicks to Tokudome's lead left.
Despite eating numerous left hands, Tokudome never stopped coming forward. But he refused to lift his hands.
By the third round, however, Parke began showing signs of slowing down. But Tokudome was unable to take advantage, falling to 12-3-1.
The loss dropped Tokudome to 12-4-1, 1-1 in UFC.
Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga has been spending extra time in training camp working to improve his submission skills. But he also hasn't abandoned his striking.
|On point: Gabriel Gonzaga came out firing from the opening bell to record the fourth fastest finish in UFC history.|
He can still deliver a mean punch as Dave Herman found out in the first round. Gonzaga delivered a perfectly placed overhand right, then sent Herman to the canvas 17 seconds into the fight.
Herman was in no shape to defend himself and ate several more punches before referee Kim Winslow stepped in to stop the assault. The finish was the fourth fastest in UFC history.
"I've done a lot of training with my coaches," Gonzaga said after improving to 15-7. "I was prepared for the ground game, but I was prepared for the whole game."
The early finish allowed Gonzaga to return to the win column. In his previous outing on April 13, he was knocked out in the first round by Travis Browne.
Herman appeared weary of Gonzaga's punching power from the start. He began the fight delivering kicks to Gonzaga's stomach in an attempt to create space.
But Gonzaga was undeterred and continued to move forward. His persistence would eventually pay off as Gonzaga caught Herman with the counter as Herman was completing a kick.
Herman suffered his fourth loss in a row. He falls to 21-5.
Finding a more devastating striker in the lightweight division than Edson Barboza will be very difficult. Barboza dropped Rafaello Oliveira twice in the second round, the latter forcing referee Herb Dean to wave the fight off at the 1:44 mark.
|Edson Barboza's heavy leg assault eventually chopped down Rafaello Oliveira.|
The win was Barboza's second in a row to improve to 12-1.
"That's my game. It feels great," Barboza said. "Thank God for blessing me one more time."
While the kicks proved too much for Oliveira, it wasn't the only offensive weapon Barboza hit him with in the fight. Barboza mixed up his attack beautifully -- using stiff right hands to keep Oliveira on the defensive.
Even on defense, Barboza brought his A-game into the cage. He stuffed every takedown attempt applied by Oliveira.
Oliveira's corner screamed loudly to get him to pressure Barboza, but he could never close the distance. As a result, Oliveira falls to 16-6.