The champ had had his way with the former light heavyweight belt holder over the fight’s first two rounds, stalking him, backing him up, landing some solid shots and, most important, evading pretty much everything the lethal karate man tried to throw at him. “What does he got?” Weidman’s irrepressibly no-nonsense—and in so being, highly entertaining—trainer, Ray Longo, had barked at him between those rounds. “He got anything for you?”
Weidman took back the fight from the emboldened Machida, neutralizing the Brazilian’s desperate attacks with deft sidestepping, with stop-you-in-your-tracks counterstrikes, with a timely takedown into a little more ground-and-pound thumping. In the final minute, when Machida regained his feet and went after the champ along the fence, Weidman covered up as Machida wailed away. The crowd roared in relish and anticipation. Then, as the last few seconds were ticking off the clock, Weidman pushed his challenger away, stood there tall and unscathed, and waved him back in. His swagger punctuated the fight as much as the final horn.