Chris Weidman earned stoppage victories in his past two trips to the Octagon; both against a legend of the sport in Anderson “Spider” Silva.

Tonight, the UFC Middleweight Champion successfully defended his belt again, but this time it was in a hard-fought and extended battle. Weidman would contest all five rounds against Lyoto Machida, ultimately earning a unanimous decision win.

Weidman easily outlanded Machida in the first three rounds, earning takedowns and a variety of strikes throughout each stanza. But try as he may, the New Yorker, now 12-0 in his MMA career, couldn’t quite slay “The Dragon.”

Machida, a former UFC champion at light heavyweight, came back to stagger Weidman in that fourth round — beating Weidman to the punch and keeping the champion guessing with his trademark kicks. Weidman looked confused as a bloodied Machida’s confidence grew.

The final round was close — close enough to be scored a draw. Machida landed punches and kicks to begin, but was staggered by a hard elbow. Weidman scored a late takedown but Machida escaped — to keep on slugging it out.

The final scores were 49-45, 49-46, 48-47 in favor of Weidman.

Machida, of Belem, Brazil, drops to 21-5 with the loss.

At UFC 175, Chris Weidman defeated Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision (49-45, 49-46, 48-47). Weidman retains his UFC welterweight title.