UFC on ESPN 54 results: Chris Weidman’s TKO flipped to decision win after eye pokes add controversy vs. Bruno Silva

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Chris Weidman proved he’s still capable of winning fights on Saturday when he emerged from the UFC on ESPN 54 featured bout against Bruno Silva with his hand raised – despite some controversy.

Former UFC champ Weidman (16-7 MMA, 12-7 UFC) experienced victory for the first time since prior to snapping his leg in devastating fashion at UFC 261 in April 2021 when he earned a unanimous decision over Silva (23-11 MMA, 4-5 UFC) in their middleweight matchup at Boardwalk Hall.

It was a somewhat heated ending, with eye pokes happening throughout the bout and in the final sequence. It originally was ruled a third-round TKO, but after official review, the final eye poke was deemed unintentional and the fight was changed to a technical decision in which Weidman won unanimous scorecards by 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27.

“I got poked in the eye, too, but my advice to Bruno, much respect to him: It looked like I touches his eyeball when he was coming in – you can’t drop to the ground like that if your eye gets poked,” Weidman said in his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping. “You’ve got to stand, if the ref sees it – you can’t just drop. He did that like three times and it caught up to him.”

Weidman came out with early pressure and forced Silva to the back foot. That allowed him to push the action to the cage, where he spent the majority of the round holding his opponent against the fence and peppering with knees to various parts of the body.

In the second round, much of the action played out on the feet. Weidman attacked the body heavy with kicks, while Silva blitzed with combinations when he found moments. An eye poke briefly halted the action midway through the round, but it resumed and Silva closed out the round with solid strikes that busted the eye of Weidman, who rallied late.

The pace somewhat slowed in the third round, then the controversial end when what appeared to be a double eye poke stopped the action. The fight resumed, then minutes later Weidman hit Silva in a sequence that dropped him to the canvas holding his eye. The replay showed Weidman poked Silva in the eye multiple times. Nevertheless, he was awarded the win.

Weidman, 39, entered the event with four losses in his past five fights dating back to November 2018. He said prior to UFC on ESPN 54 that he considered making the fight with Silva his retirement bout, but ultimately wanted to gauge things based on his performance after a productive training camp.

During his post-fight interview with Bisping, the former 185-pound titleholder declared he’s not hanging up the gloves.

“I just got done beating a guy who beat a lot of good fighters,” Weidman said. “He went toe-to-toe with Alex Pereira, very close fight – go back and watch that one. This dude’s tough as hell. This dude’s good. I’m still getting my legs underneath me and I felt so much better than I did my last fight. I’m still progressing and getting better. You can do anything you want to. F everybody who doesn’t believe in you.”

With the loss, Silva, 34, sees his downward spiral continue. He’s now 1-5 in his past five fights dating back to March 2022, with his current three-fight losing skid marking the longest of his career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 54 results include:

  • Chris Weidman def. Bruno Silva via unanimous decision

  • Nursulton Ruziboev def. Sedriques Dumas via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:18

  • Kyle Nelson def. Bill Algeo via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:00

  • Chidi Njokuani def. Rhys McKee via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Nate Landwehr def. Jamall Emmers via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:43

  • Virna Jandiroba def. Loopy Godinez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Julio Arce def. Herbert Burns via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:00

  • Dennis Buzukja def. Connor Matthews via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 0:22

  • Ibo Aslan def. Anton Turkalj via TKO (punch) Round 3, 1:32

  • Jacob Malkoun def. Andre Petroski via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 0:39

  • Caolan Loughran def. Angel Pacheco via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 54.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie