UFC 168 will act as the last event for the promotion for 2013. To send the year out, the UFC has decided to put on the biggest rematch of all time as former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will try to regain his belt after 6 years of dominance, against the first man to defeat him in 16 fights, Chris Weidman.
Before the main event, women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will face The Ultimate Fighter rival coach Miesha Tate.
The preliminary card for the event was one worthy of such a momentous card.
John Howard (21-8) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (21-5-1)
Round 1: A clear show of respect for the mutual power of both men made for a measured start. Howard stepped forward while Bahadurzada countered with a flurry of shots rather than a slick combination. Howard was caught a few times coming in, most notably, a punch that landed on his temple, wobbling his legs. Bahadurzada showed no clear form in his punches but had no problem throwing several at once. Howard became a bit tentative as Bahadurzada was able to connect. To negate the growing success of Bahadurzada’s strikes, Howard kept shooting in for takedowns until he was finally able to lock one in. Howard was able to take the back but only loosely, allowing Bahadurzada to stand. The first round ended with a nice left hand from Howard and a heavy leg kick from Bahadurzada.
Round 2: A wild brawl started the second round. Nothing landed flush but it sent me to the end of my seat. The action slowed shortly after. Howard again landed that clean left hook which stunned Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada threw a beautiful left hook-right hook to the body-standing knee combination followed up by a solid takedown of his own. Bahadurzada let the fight resume on the feet. The gas tanks of both men were depleted late in tho round as punches came in extremely telegraphed. Howard countered a submission attempt by lifting Bahadurzada in the air on his shoulders and held him there for several seconds before slamming him to the mat. Bahadurzada scrambled to escape from the bottom as the round ended.
Round 3: An exhausted Bahadurada did what he could to not look it but was flat footed as he plodded forward in to the strikes of Howard. Howard was tired but not nearly as bad as Bahadurzada who let Howard do whatever he wanted. Howard dragged Bahadurzada to the mat and from a standing position, landed punches which sounded like a hammer hitting a nail that has already been pushed through a bored. Howard worked his way to back control where he stayed until the end of the fight.
Official Result: John Howard defeats Bahadurzada via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dennis Siver (21-9) vs. Manvel Gamburyan (13-7)
Round 1: Gamburyan came out eager to finish Siver. Siver was happy to throw back without issue. Siver brought the fight to the ground with a very powerful lateral drop which smacked Gamburyan’s head on the canvas. After a nice armbar attempt on Gamburyan, Siver stood back up and worked his precise kicks. A sneaky left kick from Siver landed at will on Gamburyan. Gamburyan shot in with an overhand punch which landed. Gamburyan tackled Siver and tried to secure a leg lock but gave up his back instead. Siver worked a now standing rear naked choke.
Round 2: After being dropped in the opening seconds of the round, Gamburyan recovered and got Siver down while opening a cut in a rapid building of momentum. A short breather was taken by Siver and he was able to push Gamburyan off of him with ease. Gamburyan almost foolishly stuck to the outside of the pocket allowing Siver to throw his kicks at will. Siver never got a good one off though and Gamburyan took Siver down once more and finished the round on top.
Round 3: Siver again dropped Gamburyan with a leg kick but Gamburyan hopped back to his feet. Siver then made Gamburyan the unfortunate victim of a low kick to the groin from someone who knows a thing or two about loading power in to a kick. Upon the restart, Siver got Gamburyan down without working for anything in particular. Siver’s grappling prowess showed up on the ground as he snatched Gamburyan’s back and sunk in a tight body triangle. Siver rode out the round on Siver’s back.
Official Result: Dennis Siver defeats Manny Gamburyan via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Gleison Tibau (28-9) vs. Michael Johnson (13-8)
Round 1: A slicing jab fro Johnson got I’m in to some trouble as he was caught coming in by Tibau. Johnson recovered in an instance though and resumed his plan. Hard punches from both found their mark until Tibau held Johnson up on the cage. Johnson was much more agile, probably due to the amount of weight cut by Tibau. Johnson used that speed to rock Tibau. Johnson slipped Tibau’s strikes and had some serious confidence leaving the round. It would be interesting to see how Tibau’s often criticized stamina held up in the next round.
Round 2: Johnson utilized a fast and accurate attack on Tibau who tried to throw back hard shots but had no target to hit as Johnson never sat still. Johnson loaded up with a cross behind one of those fantastic jabs and dropped Tibau who was sent bending over his knee and on to his side. Johnson jumped on him and put him away with a few big shots with Tibau unable to answer or defend even in the slightest capacity.
Official Result: Michael Johnson defeats Gleison Tibau via Knockout (Punches) at 1:32 of Round 2.
Chris Leben (22-10) vs. Uriah Hall (7-4)
Round 1: The first connected shot of the fight was a big knee by Hall which pushed Leben to the mat. Leben ran forward as Hall spun out from danger and kept his head out of reach. Hall had a snapping jab to counter Leben’s haymakers. Leben never blinked as he walked Hall down. Hall had his hands low but seemed totally calm as Leben’s punches never found the mark. Hall used a nice stepping elbow to stop Leben in his tracks while also reaching across the cage with a jab. Hall brought back the kick that made him famous although the spinning heel kick went over Leben’s head. Hall dropped Leben with a hard cross that dropped Leben.
In between rounds, Leben called a stop to the fight himself due to being badly hurt at the end of the first. Leben took it upon himself to protect his own safety and call an end to the bout and possibly, his career.
Official Result: Uriah Hall defeats Chris Leben via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 1.
Visit SciFighting.com for LIVE UFC 168 Updates and Coverage.