Chris Weidman had a strategy - use his wrestling to pressure Anderson Silva for every second of every minute of every round, and take an opportunity to finish if it came. In the first round, Weidman's strategy played out precisely - Weidman took Silva down, did some damage, and when an opportunity appeared for a submission, he went for it.
Anderson Silva had a strategy - use head games to draw Chris Weidman into a stand up fight, and knock him out. In the second round, Silva's strategy played our precisely, for a while - Anderson Silva goaded Chris Weidman into willfuly standing with him.
But you don't know for sure what is going to happen in mixed martial arts, which is why you have the fight. After it was over, Weidman talked about Silva's showboating.
“You kind of have to prepare for it," said Weidman. "Anderson Silva does that, and he tries to get into people’s heads."
“[I told myself] not to get frustrated and to believe in myself and just keep moving forward. I was telling myself to throw my punches to get to my takedowns, but it got to a point where he was putting his hands down and kept talking where I said, 'I’m going to punch this guy in the face right now.'
“I told myself to go after him. I believe in my standup. I do great with really good standup guys. You hear everyone say, ‘Don’t stand up with Anderson Silva. It’s the wrong game plan.’ But I said, ‘Screw it. This guy is opening his mouth, and I’m going to try to shut it for him,’ and I got him.”
MMA fighters characteristically throw a 1-2 1-2 combinations, which plays into Anderson Silva's astonishing head movement.
However, Weidman employed some new math, throwing a 1-2-weird 2-3.
It worked famously.
In addition to all Weidman did right, there is what Anderson Silva may have done wrong to consider.
Before the fight, Weidman said "he'd be a fool not to respect me as a fighter." It seems like a slam dunk that what happened Saturday night is a cautionary tale - Anderson Silva did not respect Weidman, got too cocky, and paid the heavy price in front of millions.
It is not that simple.
At the post fight press conference UFC president Dana White was asked if Anderson Silva's antics were disrespectful.
"Fans came here to see a fight," said White. "They saw a pretty good fight tonight. Is it disrespectful? I don't know.
"It's fighting. How the hell do you disrespect somebody in a fight?
"I'm going to try to punch you in the face and knock you out. I'm going to try to kick your leg off. And if I grab your arm, I'm going to take that off. And I'm going to strangle you if I get your neck. But I don't want to disrespect you??!?
"I think what Weidman did to him is pretty damn disrespectful too."
White did add that Silva was not likely to showboat in the rematch.
"I can almost guarantee you, and make a promise," said White. "I really doubt you will see that kind of fight again."
If Silva had knocked out Weidman in the second, the fans would have, once again, been shocked and awed. Silva would have received extraordinary, overwhelming praise from all quarters of the planet, Long Island excepting.
It didn't work this time. Anderson Silva is, like all humans, human. But just because Silva lost once, there is no need to go back and criticize a strategy that has worked and amazed for so long, and indeed was working prefectly, until, this once, it didn't.