Chris Weidman's Destructive Knee: Checking The Kick Was Part Of The Plan

On Saturday night in Las Vegas, UFC fans witnessed one of the most brutal injuries in UFC history. Only once before in the promotion’s storied past had a fighter broken their leg while delivering a kick; Corry Hill, UFC Fight for the Troops, December 2008.

Yet, at UFC 168 devotees of the sport once again stood in horror as former middleweight champion Anderson Silva collapsed to the canvas with a broken left leg. Truly it was not only a devastating ending to the fight, but it may well have ended “The Spider’s” illustrious career.

As to exactly how Silva broke his leg it’s quite simple, he drove his shin into Weidman’s raised knee; knee-on-shin, as Weidman would put it.

However, beyond the actual methodology of it there’s been some debate as to whether or not Weidman was once again “lucky”. As with the champ’s first win over Silva at UFC 162, some believe that his checked-knee victory over Silva at UFC 168 was as lucky as his July KO punch of the former champ.

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On this point, the middleweight champion made the facts clear.

At Saturday night’s post fight presser Weidman was asked a number of direct questions about the finish and whether or not it was something he had prepared for.

In response, Weidman stated that his camp’s biggest concern coming out of the last fight was Anderson’s leg kicks. As it turns out, this was the overriding concern to Weidman’s boxing coach, Ray Longo, and his pet project to work on.  

As Weidman put it:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRdOwHdc0OZT CaKqybwXw89ExHy Awm“Last fight the one thing that he really, you know ah, capitalized on was leg kicks. So, probably the most important thing that we focused on for this fight camp was stopping his leg kicks. Ah, so Ray Longo, ah he’s actually broke a guy’s leg in training using it, what he calls “The Destruction”, which is knee, knee-on-shin. So, when he goes to kick, you put your knee on their shin. And I’ve done it a couple times in sparring and guys ya know, they ya know take some time, and you know about a minute off, they walk around and they’re okay, but at least it stops them from kicking you. But to break someone’s leg, ah, you know I’ve never done that before and, ah you know, like I said, you know, I don’t want to see Anderson Silva get hurt like tat, so.  

As to the specific question of whether or not he’d drilled the technique or whether or not it was luck, Weidman stated as follows:

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“Yeah, 100%. You know, I know ah, I didn’t want him to try to feel comfortable kicking me all night. If I don’t put the knee on his shin then he’s going to kick me. He’s going to hurt me. So, that’s how you check a kick.   

I don’t think it’s accidental when you try to check a kick. It works…So, you try to check leg kicks and that happens.”  

As to how it happened, Chris stated that Silva threw two kicks and that he checked both. Of them, the champ said Silva “threw everything into both…and it seemed to hurt him a lot.” Of course, the second kick-and-check ended the fight.

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So, there fans have it. Weidman did in the fight that which he had drilled in the gym, and to the same success that Ray Longo had had in training; an opponent with a broken leg.

Of it and setting aside the horror of Silva’s broken leg, it will be interesting to see what Weidman’s knee-checking victory does to fight strategies in the UFC, and MMA in general. Weidman has clearly demonstrated that you can drill the move and apply it to overly aggressive kickers, and to definitive success. It’s certainly food for thought.