Chris Weidman announced his presence on the UFC middleweight scene with an impressive second-round finish of top contender Mark Munoz on Wednesday night.
By winning the headlining event of the UFC on FUEL TV 4 event, the 28-year-old remains unbeaten in his young career.
After controlling the opening five minutes with impressive wrestling control and slick jiu-jitsu transitions, the Serra-Longo Fight Team product turned to his striking in the second round. As Munoz looked to land strikes on the feet, Weidman dropped him in the center of the octagon with a counter elbow. He followed it up with a barrage of 16 punches before referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in to halt the fight 97 seconds into the second round.
With the result, Weidman has a 9-0 MMA record and is 5-0 in UFC. And while UFC president Dana White recently suggested Hector Lombard may have the inside track at the next shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Weidman used his post-fight time on the microphone to demand just that.
"I want Anderson Silva," Weidman said. "Every time I've had a full training camp, I've gotten a finish. Give me a full training camp, and I'd love a shot at the man, Anderson Silva. I really think I could do pretty good, so give me a shot, please."
In addition to the victory, Weidman also picked up a US$40,000 bonus check for the evening's "Knockout of the Night." The loss snapped a four-fight win streak for Munoz (12-3, 7-3).
In the night's light heavyweight co-feature, James Te Huna (15-5, 4-1) earned a hard-fought decision win over former heavyweight Joey Beltran (14-8, 3-5).
Te Huna looked to be in control from the opening bell, walking calmly forward and delivering powerful hooks to the head and body while dropping his opponent to the canvas. However, Beltran displayed impressive durability, picking himself up off the floor and answering back with several crisp strikes of his own, including a second-round flash knockdown.
In the end, Te Huna's controlled boxing game was too much for Beltran to overcome, and the 30-year-old New Zealander was awarded a unanimous-decision win. Still, the effort of both fighters was applauded by the audience, and both fighters received US$40,000 bonus checks for winning the evening's "Fight of the Night" award.
"It was a good fight and he's tough as nails," Te Huna said. "I hit him with a lot of big shots that would've put just about anyone out."
Te Huna added that he held on for the victory despite breaking his both hand and his foot in the first round.
"I'm going to go home and heal up then polish up my game and keep climbing the ladder in the division."