Herb Dean will referee the UFC 168 main event and rematch between middleweight champion Chris Weidman and former champion Anderson Silva.
Dean refereed the first match between the two, UFC 162, on July 6. Weidman knocked Silva out in the second round, handing the 38-year-old Brazilian his first loss in seven years to claim the title. At the beginning of the round, Silva wobbled his knees, taunting Weidman, who hit him with a left punch. Weidman followed up the punch and forced a stoppage at 1:18 in the round.
“The first fight was quite strange, and I normally don’t recommend the same ref for the rematch, but here, I think it would actually be very appropriate,” Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said.
After the loss, Silva initially said he was tired and didn’t want to fight for the title again, but he quickly changed his mind and said he was excited for the rematch. In September, Silva said he will “give back the knockout.” He also said it took some convincing from UFC president Dana White, who told him it was important for his legacy for him to agree to the fight.
The NSAC also named the three judges for the headliner: Junichiro Kamijo, Chris Lee, and Patricia Morse-Jarman, who served as a judge for the first match.
UFC 168 takes place December 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the co-main event, women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will take on former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.
Rousey and Tate served as coaches for season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, with Team Tate fighter Julianna Pena defeating Team Rousey fighter Jessica Rakoczy in the second round to become the first female TUF champion and earn a six-figure UFC contract during the finale on November 30. In the men’s division, Chris Holdsworth (Team Tate) submitted Davey Grant (Team Rousey) in the second round to become the men’s winner.
The rest of the UFC 168 card is as follows:
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne (heavyweight)
Jim Miller vs. Fabrício Camões (lightweight)
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao (featherweight)
Chris Leben vs. Uriah Hall (middleweight)
Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson (lightweight)
Dennis Siver vs. Manvel Gamburyan (featherweight)
John Howard vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (welterweight)
William Macario vs. Bobby Voelker (welterweight)
Robbie Peralta vs. Estevan Payan (lightweight)