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How Did Anderson Silva Break His Leg – The Horrific Story Behind UFC 168



Anderson Silva's horrific injury

Anderson Silva’s greatness inside the Octagon can be measured from his impeccable record during his title reign as the UFC Middleweight Champion. Widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Silva’s MMA journey saw him scale the heights of the MMA world. Untouched for nearly a decade, Silva’s prolific run as the middleweight champion came to a dismal end after Anderson Silva suffered a horrific injury during his title defense against All American and then rising contender Chris Weidman

Weidman beats Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is known for his antics inside the Octagon, often showboating to lure his opponents, paid a heavy price as Weidman became the first fighter to hand Anderson Silva a loss inside the Octagon at UFC 162. In the process, he also stripped the Spider off his 17 fight win streak inside the UFC. 

Anderson Silva returned to take back his throne four months later at UFC 168 on Dec. 28 back in 2013. However, it did not go the way Anderson or any fight fan would have expected. Silva suffered a horrific injury in the first minute of the second round. What happened changed the course of history as we know it. Silva suffered his second straight loss inside the Octagon. 

Anderson Silva suffers a brutal injury – breaks his leg

Silva breaks his leg

Anderson Silva had a habit of playing mind-games inside the Octagon. Soon after his first loss inside the Octagon, not many favored the All American Chris Weidman to beat Silva in the rematch. Many believed that Silva lost the first fight because of his overconfidence inside the Octagon. However, Weidman proved everybody wrong as he put up an incredible performance in the rematch.

After dominating Silva for the better part of the first round, Weidman landed a powerful kick in the very first minute of the second round which broke Silva’s leg. Fight fans around the world were shocked as arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time screamed in agony as he was carried out of the Octagon. Anderson Silva was howling in agony as Chris Weidman celebrated his victory and cemented himself as the fighter who dethroned Spider Silva. 

What really happened to Silva at UFC 168

Chris Weidman

Needless to say, it was heartbreaking for fight fans to witness one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the history of MMA scream in agony after the horrific accident. The Spider broke both the Tibia and Fibula, in his left leg during the fight. The fracture was so brutal and snapped Silva’s leg in half. 

Be that as it may, Silva was considerably lucky to not have broken a bone on the knee or the ankle. Regardless, the injury was horrific and still sends chills down every fight fan. Many fights fans were left wondering if Silva would ever return to the Octagon. 

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It took two more years before Anderson Silva made his emphatic return to the Octagon, taking on the rising and one of the most decorated fighters outside of the UFC, Nick Diaz. While Silva won the fight via unanimous decision in what was a five-rounds of war, the Spider was never the same again. 

Silva breaks his leg

Additionally, Silva tested positive for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid. He also tested positive for a form of androstane. The unanimous decision win was changed to a no-contest and Silva could never get back to the heights that he had once enjoyed for more than a decade.

 Injury Breakdown – Leg X-Ray

Anderson Silva injury X-ray

Dr. Steven Sanders performed the surgery on Silva’s leg after the horrific incident. He revealed that Silva was relatively lucky as he did not break his knee or the ankle. The fracture occurred at around equal distance from the ankle and the knee. The Doctor described the injury as “fairly severe.” The leg was stabilized inside the Octagon in front of thousands of people who had gathered to witness Anderson Silva reclaim his throne.

Silva was immediately transported to Universal Medical Center in Las Vegas where he underwent surgery for his broken leg. The procedure took several hours and the broken leg was stabilized with a titanium rod inserted in the tibia. In order to hold the bone properly, three screws were placed in the rod, while doctors stated that the fibula would heal on its own. The titanium rod is expected to stay in Silva’s leg for the rest of his life unless the Spider voluntarily decides to remove it.

Anderson Silva  

Silva was lucky that the bone did not puncture his skin, which could have led to infection. While it did not happen, in such a case, amputation of the limp is seen as the only way. The warrior that he is, doctors revealed that soon after the injury, the first question that Silva asked was, “when can I train?”

The fall of Anderson “The Spider” Silva

Nick Diaz takes on The Spider

By then, with two back to back losses, and an ugly mark on his resume with a failed drug test, Silva was never the same again. However, the fighting spirit has never faded away.

Silva would take on future middleweight champion Michael Bisping losing a very close fight against the British fighter. Additionally, he jumped to the light-heavyweight division to take on the former dual champion and then light-heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier on two-days notice. Silva lost the fight via lopsided unanimous decision. Cormier dominated Silva for the better part of the entire fight, picking up a comfortable win over the former champion.

Since losing to Chris Weidman on that fateful night, Silva lost three of his next four fights inside the Octagon, with his sole win against Nick Diaz becoming a no-contest. Needless to say, fight fans started losing interest in Anderson Silva with many requesting the former champion to rest his gloves. However, Silva returned and made a statement with an emphatic win over Derek Brunson at UFC 208. 

Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya vs The Spider

Soon after the victory, Anderson Silva took on a rising contender and former kick-boxing champion Israel Adesanya. Both the fighters headlines the UFC 234 card in a three-round fight with Adesanya picking up an impressive unanimous decision win. It was the first time in over 4 years that Anderson Silva headlined a UFC PPV. 

Israel Adesanya, who had grown up watching Anderson Silva congratulated the former champion, and broke down in tears soon after the final bell. It was a striking battle between two of the best that the division has to offer, with many fight fans appreciating Silva for an incredible performance against the now-middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. In an emotional end to the fight, Adesanya thanks the Spider and called him an inspiration. 

“Led too much,” Adesanya told Silva. “I owe you because I was like ‘Oh my god, here comes the flying knee!’ I was like ‘I’ve seen this before.’ We got you, from the bottom of my heart. You’re the man, you’ve been doing this for a long time. UFC 90, I still remember the DVDs. I’ve been watching you for a long time. This game, I’ve already seen it. This game is very crazy, a lot of snakes.”

Recently, Anderson Silva expressed his desire to face Israel Adesanya once again before finally resting his gloves. Be that as it may, Adesanya has taken the legacy forward and has cemented himself as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.

The Spider injures his leg once again

Soon after his incredible performance against Israel Adesanya, Andeson Silva took on Jared Cannonier. The Killa Gorilla finally made his middleweight debut, after back to back losses at the light-heavyweight division. Coming off a stoppage win over David Branch, Cannonier picked up a TKO win over the former champion in the very first round.

Jared Cannonier, known for his lethal power, sent Silva onto the canvas with a brutal kick on his right leg. Anderson screamed in pain as the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Silva revealed that he did not suffer any physical damage to the leg, and the injury was because he had tweaked the same leg during training.

Anderson Silva will go down as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. Despite back to back losses, and a lackluster record since dropping the middleweight gold back in 2013, Silva continues to compete against the absolute best that the division has to offer.

Anderson Silva Retirement

The Spider

Silva revealed that he is not done yet after losing to Jared Cannonier. The Brazilian fighter requested a rematch against Cannonier, which was declined by the UFC President. Anderson Silva will return against Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Silva has stated that this would be his last fight inside the UFC Octagon. At 45 years of age, Silva will take on #10 ranked Uriah Hall and will look to leave the promotion on a flying note.

“We will see. Something’s changed but this is my last fight for UFC probably. But a special answer for Dana. You know it’s tough. Talking about this is the last or not. But yes, possibly in the UFC, this is the last fight. I have my contract, I signed and I do my best.” Silva said.

However, in the lead-up to the match, Silva has repeatedly stated that this would be his last fight inside the UFC. A lot will depend on the outcome of his fight against Uriah Hall, but Spider Silva wants to continue fighting. He also hinted at possibly fighting in other promotions.