Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF INJURY
Scroll down for video
Horrific: This is the moment Chris Weidman, left, broke Anderson Silva's leg when he blocked Silva's kick with his knee. Experts fear the injury could end Silva's career
One of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time suffered a horrific injury in front of millions of fans Saturday night after he broke his leg during a championship fight that was being broadcast live around the world.
Anderson Silva, 38, snapped his left leg when his opponent Chris Weidman blocked his kick with his knee.
Pictures show Silva's shin buckling as it smashes against Weidman's knee.
Although the injury happened too quickly to be seen by most naked eyes in Las Vegas, the sound of Silva's cracking shin could be heard at cageside. Thousands of fans cringed when the replay was shown on the arena's big screens.
Unnatural: Silva's leg buckled at a horrible angle and broke after coming in contact with Weidman's knee
Agony: Silva falls to the canvas in pain after his leg broke in his fight with Weidman
A moment later, Silva collapsed to the mat.
Referee Herb Dean waved off the fight when Silva fell back, clutching his leg with both hands. Silva left the octagon strapped to a stretcher with a brace on his leg, screaming in pain.
Experts fear the injury could be the end of Silva's career as a fighter. Many are already saying it is the end of an era in UFC fighting, where Silva held the middleweight title belt for six years - the longest reign in the history of the sport.
UFC orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Sanders said Sunday that Silva had broken his tibia and fibula in the lower part of his left leg.
He underwent emergency surgery in which Dr Sanders repairs the broken tibia and stabilized the fibula.
Recovery could take more than six months.
'Following Saturday evening's UFC 168 main event, former champion Anderson Silva was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a broken left leg. The successful surgery, performed by Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC's orthopedic surgeon, inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson's left tibia,' UFC said in a statement.
Silva's leg can be seen here, bent at an odd angle. He was carried off the mat in a stretcher, still screaming in pain
'The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time.
'Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months. Anderson is deeply touched by the outpouring of support from his fans and the entire MMA community. There has been no immediate decision about his future, and he would kindly ask for privacy at this time as he deals with his injury and prepares to return home to recover.'
The Brazilian was bidding for revenge after losing his UFC middleweight title when he was knocked out by the undefeated American in July.
But after suffering a torrid first session, his leg broke as he aimed a kick at the champion, forcing a premature end to the much-hyped clash in Las Vegas.
Weidman was dignified in his celebration, kneeling beside his stricken opponent as he writhed on the canvas.
'I knew coming into the fight that what he could hurt me most with was the leg kicks,' Weidman said.
'We trained checking the kick a lot. The idea is to pull your leg and for their shin to land at the knee. That's exactly what I did, and I felt his leg go right away.'
He added: 'There's no real excitement in a fight finishing like that, because you never want to see anyone get hurt like that.'
Weidman paid tribute to his opponent, who he has beaten twice in a row now, saying 'He's still known as the greatest fighter of all time.'
In pain: Silva clutches at his leg and writhes in pain after he injured himself against Weidman
Danger: Silva spent much of the first round on his back as Weidman looked to dominate on the canvas
Thousands of fan from his homeland - including retired football star Ronaldo - filled the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was also in the crowd.
Roy Jones Jnr, who had hoped to face Silva in a boxing match, had been in the former champion's dressing room before the fight.
Unlike before their first meeting, the boxers touched gloves before the opening round and, after a tentative start during which Silva kept his hands held high, Weidman landed a front kick before executing a takedown.
The challenger recovered quickly before knees were exchanged on the cage wall. But Weidman regained control, dropping Silva with a huge right hand before attempting to finish the job.
In trouble: Weidman enjoyed the better of the first round but Silva made it to the end of the session
Silva fought off his repeated flurries but remained on his back at the halfway stage, taking an elbow and a succession of hard blows.
But by the end of the session, it was Weidman who was bleeding by the nose despite dominating the round.
What happened next will linger long in the memory.
Silva later told his corner he cracked his shin bone with his first kick before breaking it with his next attempt.
Weidman, who will fight Vitor Belfort in the second defence of his title next year, revealed he injured his knee during the fight.
Still champion: Weidman celebrates after retaining his middleweight title when Silva broke his leg
'It's knee on shin, so when he goes to kick, you put your knee on his shin,' he added. 'It has happened in sparring and guys take a minute off and walk around, and at least it stops them from kicking you.
'To break someone's leg, I've never done that before. I didn't want to see Anderson get hurt like that.'
Earlier, Ronda Rousey was taken past the first round for the first time in her career but still submitted Miesha Tate with her signature armbar in the third session. There were also impressive victories for Travis Browne against Josh Barnett, for Jim Miller against Fabricio Camoes and for Dustin Poirier over Diego Brandao.