Cayman’s mixed martial arts fans got a thrilling night of viewing with two spectacular headline fights from Las Vegas in UFC 175.
The show on Saturday was another showcase for women’s bantamweight champ Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, who demolished the unfortunate Canadian Alexis Davis in a mere 16 seconds.
The co-main bout featured middleweight champ Chris Weidman needing to dig deep to overcome former light-heavyweight title-holder Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida by a unanimous points decision after five rounds.
It was a dominant performance by Rousey, already the MMA’s most compelling fighter in only her fifth UFC bout.
Davis has a long and impressive martial arts record and may be ranked second among 135-pound contenders, but she literally did not see it coming.
Rousey stunned the Canadian with a punch to the face, smashed her with a knee then took her down with a swift judo throw.
Canadian referee Yves Lavigne jumped in quickly after Davis absorbed a series of rapid-fire shots to the face.
A stunned Davis clung to Lavigne trying to absorb the mayhem before a Mandalay Bay Event Center crowd of 10,000 that hardly had time to settle into its seats.
Rousey claimed her fourth title defense and improved her record to 10-0 while Davis fell to 16-6.
The usually scowling champion finally smiled in the wake of her lopsided win, with the crowd showing appreciation.
This knockout tied with Frank Shamrock’s demolishing of Kevin Jackson for second fastest in a UFC championship bout, Andrei Arlovski’s 15-second KO of Paul Buentello being the fastest.
The TV interviewer promptly suggested Rousey accepted the UFC 176 main event on Aug. 2 because the original scheduled fight was recently called off due to injury, to which she said that she would consult her coaches and take it if they advised so.
But a puzzled UFC president Dana White said later that he had no idea why the offer was made, calling it “the biggest idiotic move in the history of our production team.”
Rousey needs time off to heal, despite the short night, because of a long-standing knuckle injury that needed nine stitches and a chronic knee issue which will need surgery.
Rousey, 27, did say she may fight on the UFC’s New Year’s card.
In total contrast, the co-main event was 25 minutes of hard fought attrition.
Bolstered by the knowledge of beating the legendary Anderson “Spider” Silva in his last two fights, Weidman remained unbeaten in the UFC after 12 contests. He may have taken Brazilian Machida lightly and the American’s conditioning was in question in the closing rounds.
He said later he had been unable to punch in the last two weeks because of hand issues, acknowledging his camp had been fraught with problems.
Machida was viewed as a boring fighter in the past but gave Weidman immense problems and pressed the pace in the last two rounds after falling behind early.
The battered Machida smiled and held his fist up as he left the octagon. “He’s a true champion,” Machida (21-5) said of Weidman, who had never gone five rounds before.
Weidman left wrapped in a U.S. flag on independence weekend.