UFC Atlantic City: Chris Weidman Eye Pokes Bruno Silva Repeatedly, TKO Flipped to Decision

Chris Weidman and Bruno Silva, UFC Atlantic City
Chris Weidman and Bruno Silva, UFC Atlantic City ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Jake Noecker/Cageside Press

Middleweight legend and all-time great wrestler/grappler Chris Weidman returned against Bruno Silva at UFC Atlantic City on Saturday, and the finish was downright bizarre.

After his tragic and brutal leg break, Weidman returned in a loss to Brad Tavares where he showed toughness but was shut out completely. This time he faced Bruno Silva, a fighter on a 1-4 streak recently, just like Weidman himself. Silva’s takedown defense is not as good as Tavares’, but his heavy hands made the matchup a dangerous one for a thirty-nine year old with as much wear and tear as ‘The All-American.’

Weidman pressured forward behind his kicks and got Bruno to the fence to start the fight, then locked up a front headlock after a wild pocket exchange. Bruno got out but Chris held him against the fence, then transitioned to a single leg and got Bruno down. Silva bounced back up but Weidman got the rear body-lock. He held Silva there for the rest of the round and landed short knees to bank the first frame on the scorecards.

The second round began with a failed takedown from Weidman, but then on the feet he out-struck Bruno with his kicks. When Silva exploded he was able to land his right hand, but he was not as active as Weidman. An eye poke paused the action but when it resumed Bruno landed his biggest punch of the fight, a straight right. However he stumbled after as his lead leg began to weaken from absorbing leg kicks. Silva blitzed more and more often and landed when he did, seemingly taking a lead towards the end of the round as Weidman’s left eye began to swell up. However Chris rocked him at the end of the round and followed up with a barrage, putting the score of the round in jeopardy.

The final round began with another eye poke, a double eye poke actually but Silva got the worst of it. They resumed and the same dynamic played out as round two, with Silva blitzing forward recklessly at points and Weidman stalking towards him the rest of the time. Suddenly the fight changed when Weidman landed a counter left hook that sent Bruno Silva face first to the canvas. Follow up ground strikes forced the referee to step in.

Bruno Silva protested and replays vindicated him, as the replay showed Weidman poked him in the eye twice (once in each eye), which is why Silva went down since the left hook did not land clean. When Bruce Buffer announced the decision, it was not overturned and declared as a TKO for Weidman nonetheless, to the joy of Atlantic City.

However, after the post-fight interview the broadcast announced that the result had been changed from a TKO to a technical decision. Since the bout went into the third round, that is possible, as opposed to being ruled a No Contest had the fight been stopped earlier. Still, Weidman won the technical unanimous decision, with a trio of 30-27 scores. Meaning no points were deducted for the eye pokes.

Official Result: Chris Weidman def. Bruno Silva by Technical Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 2:18