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Coming in to Saturday night's UFC 175, fans were focused in on the headlining title fights. Rightfully so, as two of the sport's biggest stars were in action. UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey faced Alexis Davis and UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman defended his title in the main event against Lyoto Machida.
Quietly building anticipation on the preliminary card was a bantamweight bout between Sacramento's Urijah Faber and Alex Caceres.
The bout was arguably one-sided through a majority of the fight, but in the third round Caceres was on the attack. He looked like the fresher fighter when the round began.
Over midway through the round Caceres threw a leg kick that was mistimed and caught by Faber. "The California Kid" pushed Caceres to the mat and quickly worked his way to back control. In mere moments, Faber had sunk in a rear naked choke and forced Caceres to tap. It was the 18th submission victory of Faber's career and pushed his record in non-title fights to 20-0.
After several ho-hum fights to begin the PPV, fans got settled in for the championship fights. And, hopefully none of them blinked.
All it took was 16 seconds for Rousey to successfully defend her title. After a solid cross to the face of Davis and a knee to the gut, Rousey tossed Davis and continued to inflict damage until referee Yves Lavigne stepped in to stop the fight. The KO victory was the first of Rousey's career and it was the shortest fight she's been in. Rousey improved to a perfect 10-0 and has defended her UFC title for the fourth time.
The question now is who will be Rousey's next opponent and when will she fight again? She revealed that she needs knee surgery during the post-fight interview and she also received stitches for a cut on her right hand.
With much time to spare, the build up for the night's main event was excruciating for some but the payoff was well worth it.
Weidman had last fought in December when he successfully defended his title against former Champion Anderson Silva, the man he knocked out to win the title. Machida had won his last two fights since moving down to middleweight. The matchup was intriguing and the fight was a testament to both fighters' will.
Through the first three rounds, the champ was in control. Weidman took down Machida several times and opened up the challenger with solid strikes. When it looked like Machida was outmatched, he came out with an extra level of intensity in the fourth. He made things close enough to make the fifth round a winner take all round.
With the title on the line, both men gave it their all in the final five minutes and gave fans a great show. Twenty-five minutes of all out battle left both men bloodied and fatigued, but it was Weidman who pulled off the unanimous decision victory and squeaked out the win to retain his title. With wins against Silva and Machida, Weidman has little else to prove as a true champion and he's silenced naysayers.