For the first time since 2017, Baldwin’s Chris Weidman had his arm raised in the octagon.
Weidman, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champ, earned a unanimous decision over Omari Akhmedov at the UFC Vegas 6 last Saturday night at the Apex in Las Vegas. Two judges scored the fight 29-27, while the third judge had it 29-28.
The 12-card event marked a return to the middleweight division for Weidman, who had lost five of his six previous decisions after beginning his career with 13 straight wins, with the two biggest coming against Anderson Silva to send shockwaves through the sport.
“I’m really looking forward to the future,” Weidman said in his post-fight interview on ESPN + 32 after ending Akhmedov’s three-fight win streak. “I feel like I have a new start here at middleweight, and I’m really excited about it,” he said. “This wasn’t the fight I 100 percent envisioned, but it’s all good.”
Weidman’s wrestling skills helped keep Akhmedov (20-5-1) on the mat for what proved to be a dominant third round. Now 15-5 in his MMA career, Weidman hadn’t fought since losing to Dominick Reyes in Boston on Oct. 18, 2019. His most recent win prior to last Saturday came over Kevin Gastelum on July 22, 2017, in front of an electric hometown crowd at Nassau Coliseum.
“There’s a lot that goes into it so it’s good to get the W,” Weidman said. “I’m super grateful the UFC is allowing us to work and put on a show for everybody. I know so many people out there that really want to start working and they can't, so I'm just super grateful to be in the position that I am at to do something that I love to do and to provide for my family.”
Often reminded of his recent shortfalls, the victory over Akhmedov was potentially career-saving for the 36-year-old Weidman.
“I feel like I’m restarting my career,” Weidman said. “I feel refreshed and renewed.”