Chris Weidman suffered heartbreak yet again at Madison Square Garden.
The former middleweight champion, fighting in front of the home crowd for the second time, suffered a stunning third-round knockout finish at the hands of Jacare Souza in a sizzling match in the co-main event Saturday at UFC 230.
Souza and Weidman are among the best grapplers in the world, but their fight was an incredible kick boxing match. They tagged each other with hard shots and the fight did not go to the ground. It was toe-to-toe through and ended when Souza caught Weidman with a straight right to the temple.
Weidman did a dead fall onto his back and Souza stood there, not wanting to hit him. It was obvious that Weidman was out, but referee Dan Miragliotta didn’t immediately stop it. Souza shouted at Miragliotta, landed three hammer fists and then shouted at him again as the referee belatedly stopped it at 2:46 of the third.
It was the fourth loss in his last five outings for Weidman, who grew up on Long Island and had the crowd heavily in his favor on Saturday. It was reminiscent to Weidman’s last fight in The Garden, when he was caught in the third by a flying knee from Yoel Romero and stopped.
Souza is one of the sport’s most dangerous grapplers and Weidman made the conscious decision to keep the fight standing.
It was a back-and-forth fight, as each did damage, but Souza was going to the body more and that may have taken its toll. Right before the decisive right that dropped him, Souza landed a left to Weidman’s body.
It was a huge win for Souza, who entered the fight ranked fifth. Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is going to defend the belt against No. 4 Kelvin Gastelum in Australia in February, and it is likely that Souza will get the winner.
He’ll be a handful for whichever of them gets the victory, because Souza is no longer a one-dimensional fighter. Early in his career, Souza’s stand-up was rudimentary, but he won a stand-up battle without ever getting the chance to use his greatest skill.
Weidman was up 20-18 on two cards and the bout was tied 19-19 on the third.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Kershaw staying in L.A., but how long will he stay elite?
• Report: Rangers turn to Dodgers for new managerial hire
• Cavs All-Star Love to miss at least six weeks after foot surgery
• Tebow rips Maryland for not standing by Durkin decision