Anderson Silva injury: UFC 168 forces changing of the guard

It was a shame for the best year in UFC history to end like it did

On July 6th of this year, the MMA world was stunned by Chris Weidman’s knockout of one of the best fighters of all time; Anderson Silva. It wasn’t only the result, but the manner of the result that was so compelling, with Silva seemingly caught by a flash shot resulting from his usual playful, dropping his hands antics. The question remained as to whether a fully focussed Silva would have come out on top, as he had done every single time he had previously stepped into UFC’s Octagon.

Billed as the biggest fight of the year, on Saturday night we got our rematch. The result was the same, but the manner of Weidman’s victory was even more shocking. Weidman dominated the first round by securing the only takedown and issuing some fierce ground and pound. Silva’s hands remained up as the second round began and there was a feeling that, he would settle into his stride and begin to land strikes.

In the first fight, Silva had great success with his leg kicks. Finally in the 2nd round of the rematch, Silva went back to this tactic and landed an early one on Weidman’s inner calf. Weidman had prepared for this in his training by working on a kick check where his knee would meet the oncoming kick as a defensive mechanism. A minute later, Silva threw another leg kick, and he threw it hard. Weidman timed his check perfectly and the world watched as Silva’s leg broke and the fight was stopped.

Seeing injuries such as this is always disturbing as a spectator. There are some that have suggested in the aftermath that this is a problem with the sport of MMA, but I strongly refute that claim. The truth is that this was a freak accident that can, and does happen in any sport. Just last year, for instance, an identical injury occurred to an NCAA basketball player in the USA. Only once before has the UFC seen a similar injury in its 20 year history. This was not an injury caused by malice or intent, but rather an awkward collision of limbs.

It was a shame for the best year in UFC history to end like it did, but let it not take away from another astounding event. Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey defeated bitter rival, Miesha Tate in a fight of the night performance. Finishing all of her prior fights by a first round arm bar submission, Rousey was finally taken out of the opening round. She dominated the fight and won using her signature finish in the third round.

Travis Browne overcame the odds with a stunning TKO victory of past Heavyweight Champion, Josh Barnett. With the first round victory, Browne will now take on Fabricio Werdum; the winner gaining a shot at Cain Velasquez and the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

After an incredible run of events this year, the UFC now finds itself entering 2014 without 2 of their biggest stars. Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva are 2 of the best fighters in history, but with GSP taking a break from the sport and Silva suffering such an injury, it is time for the new crop to rise. It seems to be the Americans who are taking the reigns with Weidman maintaining his Middleweight belt and Johny Hendricks fighting Robbie Lawler for GSP’s relinquished Welterweight title, but it’s all to play for.

Before UFC 168 began, the UFC held a special press conference to announce a new online service called UFC Fight Pass. Fight Pass is an ingenious method of the UFC publishing content in a direct revenue generating manner. The service will contain certain live fights and exclusive content to be produced by the UFC next year. It will also feature the entire UFC fight archive which will allow fans to access any fight ever fought in the UFC or affiliate companies. Priced at $9.99 per month in the USA, the service is not expected in the UK until March 2014.

UFC Fight Pass is integral to providing future talent with a platform for mass exposure. It is through this new service that we, as fight fans will discover the new GSPs and Anderson Silvas of the world, and I for one cannot wait to try it out.

We may never see either GSP or Anderson Silva fight again inside The Octagon. If that is the case, their legacies are certainly cemented and they leave MMA fans worldwide with countless memories of their courage and triumphs. The sport of MMA and the UFC promotion, however, are bigger than just 2 men. Expect the sport not only to survive, but to continue to grow and prosper as the stars of the future make their mark.

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