Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, said he thought Baldwin native Chris Weidman had his Nov. 4 fight in the bag with just under three minutes left in the third round against Brazilian Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Weidman controlled the first two rounds at the co-main event of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden and had he made it to the end of the third, would have likely been awarded the win on decision.
“Chris Weidman came out and was absolutely picking [Souza] apart,” White said at the post-fight press conference.
Halfway through the final round, though, the South Shore fighter went for a right hand that was countered with an overhead punch to the temple, which sent Weidman to the ground. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight after Weidman grabbed at the ankle of Souza, who threw four more punches before a technical knockout was called at the 2:46 mark.
Souza looked hesitant to throw more punches at Weidman as he lay supine on the octagon floor. The fighter, speaking through an interpreter, said the referee should have ended the fight after the initial punch and was worried about Weidman. “Before we are fighters, we are family members,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “I’m a big fan, I like him for a long time. I like his family, my family likes his family and I know he likes my family.”
White said he could tell Weidman was out after the first punch and applauded Souza for not pouncing on top of his opponent. “Jacare was a stud at the end and knew he was out,” he said. “I always have a lot of respect for guys who do that.”
Weidman issued a statement on the result on social media, saying “Unfortunately last night didn’t work out for me. Congrats to Jacare & his family & team on an amazing win. He is a true warrior & it was an honor to share the octagon with him.” With the result, Weidman’s record stands at 14-4, with his four losses coming in his last five bouts. His last loss also came at Madison Square Garden. The former undefeated middleweight champion has a number of opportunities in front of him including moving up to the light heavyweight division.
Weidman would have been next in line for a title shot at the UFC middleweight title, held by Robert Whittaker.
Weidman has always been proud of his Baldwin upbringing and on more than one occasion has talked to the Bruins’ football team before homecoming games. Weidman in January went back to Baldwin High School to visit his old wrestling coaches and see his old gym. The trip was documented by MSG Networks.
Baldwin wrestling coach Steve Shippos said in the video Weidman always had a smile on his face. “He always came through that door with a positive look on his face where a lot of wrestler don’t do that,” Shippos said.
The Baldwin school district on Facebook wished him luck before the big fight.