This week’s edition of the Aces BJJ News Roundup is a slow-burning fuse leading to a massive explosion. MMA fans the world over held their breath Saturday morning as the uber stacked card of UFC 261 inched closer and closer. Rose Namajunas made headlines with her out-of-character racist remarks to her opponent and then-champion, Weili Zhang. We had the highly anticipated rematch between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, and journeyman contender turned fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal. And if those two weren’t enough reason to swoon, we had the likes of former middleweight champion Chris Weidman and Ultimate Fighter 17 runner-up Uriah Hall rounding out the undercard.
What was set to be an exciting night turned into an event for the history books. Insane finished, and iconic moments littered the show as everyone delivered 110%. But it was more than just superb technique and solid matches. We had to witness one of the most stomach-turning injuries you can see in this sport.
As the first UFC card with a full attendance post-COVID, the energy in the stands was a welcome sight for those missing the old normal. And if you think I forgot about Tackett vs. Rocha at F2W, you’re sorely mistaken. One can all only put up with so much pontificating before getting to the good stuff, so I’ll delay no longer.
Let’s light this candle.
Chris Weidman Snaps His Leg Against Uriah Hall
It’s a moment in MMA history welded into our minds. Chris Widman faced the legendary Anderson Silva in a rematch to defend his new middleweight strap at UFC 168. They were two of the best athletes the sport has ever produced, with many fans honoring Silva as the greatest of all time. Round one saw Weidman dominate Silva, landing big shots from inside the guard for most of the first five. But the second round stands out much more, as it’s when Silva snapped his leg, causing the limb to gruesomely bend as he fell to the floor. It ended the fight and nauseated us for years.
Well, unfortunately, lightning can strike twice.
In Weidman’s match against Uriah Hall, the first strike thrown would ultimately be the last. Weidman shot off a right-leg kick that Hall flawlessly checked, and as his shin made contact with Hall’s leg shattering both bones. Chris’s foot bent around Hall’s knee, and Weidman stumbled backward to fall to the mat. The match was immediately called at the 14-second mark, and Hall was declared the winner by TKO. With this, Hall has become the first, and so far only, person to win a UFC match without throwing a single strike. Weidman was under the knife soon after being lifted out of the octagon; metal and screws now hold his broken leg together.
Taking to Instagram, Weidman shared x-ray photos of his injury before and after the surgery. Seeming to be in better spirits, the wrestler hopes to be back on his feet within eight weeks with physical therapy.
Fans were quick to point out the similarities between Weidman and Silva’s leg breaks, many claiming that this was some form of karmic retribution for the former champ. Silva, however, put all negativity aside in a heartwarming Instagram post wishing Weidman well.
“My deepest and most sincere sentiments, champ,” Silva wrote on Instagram. “Have faith. I wish you a speedy recovery. In this moment, I wish you and your family light, love, and knowledge. To the fans of the sport, please respect this moment of this incredible warrior, and let’s wish that he is 100% very recovered soon. May God bless you and your family, Chris Weidman,” Silva wrote.
Here’s wishing Weidman a speedy and safe recovery.
Usman Silences Masvidal, Rose Regains Title
Fans of “Street Jesus” were left sobbing in the main event, as welterweight champ Kamaru Usman emphatically shut down his opponent with a devastating KO victory early in round two. Masvidal started strong in round one with big leg kicks but was taken down by Usman after a failed knee attempt. Usman rained down big shots, but Masvidal stayed active from closed guard with elbows and defense. Masvidal managed to get back to the feet with about a minute left but ate a big combo from Usman for his trouble. Round one ended with Masvidal landing some big kicks and a flying knee.
That would mark the end of Masvidal’s meaningful offense, though. Round two saw a confident Masvidal evade and shrug off Usman’s strikes, but a massive right at the four-minute mark sent the Cuban export reeling to the ground in a daze, and Usman sealed the deal with some, and I’m quoting here, “Super Necessary” hammer fists before the ref called the match. Usman retained his belt, and the crowd went nuts.
In the co-main, “Thug,” Rose Namajunas needed just over a minute total to get things done. Champion Zhang Weili started with some exploratory jabs and kicks, feeling out her well-known opponent. But at only 1:15, Namajunas fired a huge left head kick that rocked Weili, causing her to stumble to the mat. Finishing the fight with a few more shots, the ref called the match at 1:18 on the clock, and Namajunas retained her title.
Entering the fight as an underdog, Namajunas is now the first female fighter in UFC history to reclaim a title that she’d lost in the past. With any number of matchups available to her now, one can only hope she keeps inflammatory rhetoric out of her next pre-fight rhetoric.
Vagner Rocha Defeats William Tackett
F2W 171 gave us a needed dose of BJJ in an MMA-focused week. With the F2W middleweight belt on the line, William Tackett and Vagner Rocha put on a tense match that looked to go either way for a minute. Tackett started with an Imanari Roll to a heel hook, but Rocha quickly defended and pushed for the guard pass. Both went in heavy-on-leg attacks for the match, spending a long time in 50/50 looking for heel hooks before a scramble ensued. After a reset, Tackett played bottom guard hunting for the leg again.
Rocha again worked to pass with a knee slice, but Tackett’s defense was absolutely on point. They found themselves in 50/50 hunting for heel hooks again, with Rocha barely slipping out of danger. As the match drew to a close, Rocha went in on a big double under pass that looked like it could have broken Tackett’s neck. But Tackett’s guard went unpassed as the buzzer sounded.
Rocha was awarded the split decision, and the middleweight belt was his.
That’s all for this week! Tune in next time as I challenge Marcello Garcia to a go-cart race.
Aces BJJ Blog staff writer and BJJ Blue belt under Edward “Scissor Hands” Berberich of Soulcraft BJJ. Kevin has been training BJJ for four years and complaining about Star Wars for over 20. Follow him on Instagram @kbrads_bjj