Former undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Anderson Silva thought he had a knockout at the end of the third when he leveled Michael Bisping with a flying knee. But when referee Herb Dean ruled that the fight wasn’t over due to complications with Bisping losing his mouth piece and the horn ending the frame, the fight continued.
The main event of UFC Fight Night “Silva vs. Bisping” inside the famed O2 Arena lived up to the hype as local hero Bisping pulled off a sizable upset. “The Count” rocked the Brazilian in the opening frame and then dropped the former champ with a flurry in the second, but Silva was able to recover both times.
The tides turned in Silva’s favor in the third and after he cut Bisping around his left eye, he nearly scored the knockout as time expired. When Bisping motioned to Dean that he lost his mouthpiece, Silva unloaded a flying knee and dropped the Englishman, seemingly out. Replays showed that the horn to end the stanza came a second or two after Bisping fell, but the veteran referee couldn’t hear it and ruled that the round had ended.
Silva thought he had won and it took several moments for him to realize that the fight was to go on. From there, Bisping rallied in the fourth and even though he was badly dazed in the fifth from a push kick to the face, he continued to fight on. Even after the Brit suffered a shattered nose and had two nasty lacerations above and below his left eye, and with blood pouring out of his face, he was able to do just enough in three of the five rounds to earn a unanimous decision. “The Count” was awarded the nod with scores of 48-47 on all three scorecards, pulling off a somewhat sizeable upset in front of his hometown fans.
“This has been a lifelong quest,” an emotional Bisping said afterward. “I’ve wanted this fight for a long time. Anderson Silva is one of the greatest martial artists of all-time. If it wasn’t for (Silva) I wouldn’t be here right now.
“I think I need to go see a doctor and maybe a beer,” Bisping added with a laugh.
Silva felt differently, believing he had won the contest.
“You saw the fight,” he grumbled. “I thought it went differently. The mission was given and I thought the mission was completed. I guess not.”
Two of the more accomplished middleweights in the sport, Gegard Mousasi and Thales Leites, fought tooth and nail for three full rounds, though it wasn’t the sort of action-packed fight that fans were hoping for. Instead, Mousasi pecked away at his nemesis with strikes from the outside and defended multiple takedown attempts, controlling the pace of the battle from start to finish. Leites continually tried to bait his counterpart onto the canvas, but Mousasi was cautious and instead inflicted damage from a safe position throughout.
The Brazilian’s left eye wound up growing into a swollen mess and he suffered a few cuts on his face. Leites nearly locked on an oma plata late in the fight but Mousasi easily fended it off and rode it out until the final horn. Gegard won the duel via tallies of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
Rising welterweight contender Tom Breese put in a workmanlike performance against longtime veteran Keita Nakamura in winning a unanimous decision. The Birmingham native was disappointed with his effort because of the lack of action, but he did more than enough to handle the Japanese fighter for three rounds.
Breese missed on a few submission attempts and landed the harder, more telling blows, but he couldn’t inflict any serious damage onto his foe. With that, Breese won with scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
Two fighters who have made names for themselves for delivering exciting fights didn’t disappoint as Brad Pickett and Francisco Rivera dazzled the crowd in the opening bout of the main card. “Cisco” rocked Pickett several times in the first with some lethal punches, but the Englishman was able to hang tough and survive the frame. From there, the Californian and his opponent traded leather in sporadic bursts of strikes on the feet and grappled on the ground.
The fight was about as close as they come but in the end, two of the three cageside judges felt that “One Punch” did enough to earn the decision. Pickett won via split decision thanks to scores of 29-28 (twice) and 28-29 though the outcome could have easily gone to either bantamweight.
After a grueling featherweight war, it was Finland’s Makwan Amirkhani who had his hand raised in triumph as he toppled Mike Wilkinson via unanimous decision. “Mr. Finland” scored plenty of takedowns and controlled the pace on the canvas in every round, but the Englishman refused to give in as he made his foe earn every minute of the win. When the dust settled, Amirkhani was awarded the verdict with scores of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.
Bantamweight contender “Dangerous” Davey Grant had to earn his unanimous decision victory over Marlon Vera, but even though each round was a grinder, the Englishman clearly won every frame of duel. Vera, who is the only Ecuadorian fighter in the history of the UFC, was continuously warned for grabbing the fence and putting his fingers in his foe’s gloves, and in the third referee Marc Goddard took a point for the glove infraction. Vera attempted many submissions off his back but a bloodied Grant fended them all off and won a lopsided nod by the margins of 30-26 on all three cards.
Local fighter Scott Askham electrified the capacity crowd with a sensational knockout in the opening frame of his middleweight contest with American Chris Dempsey. After scoring a few takedowns early, Dempsey walked into a straight left. The punch turned his legs to jelly but before he could recover while he stumbled toward the cage, the Englishman flattened his foe with a rocket of a left head kick, ending the fight. The official time of the knockout came at 4:45 of the first.
Featherweight prospect Arnold Allen dominated Mexican-American for three full rounds before finally getting a clean knockout. Unfortunately for the English fighter and his official record, the final bell had already sounded so his thrilling finish didn’t count. Nevertheless, Allen won every round on all three official cards to capture the unanimous decision.
In middleweight action, it was Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko who was just slightly better than local kid Bradley Scott. Jotko landed the better strikes and controlled the pace of the action, though the battle wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. In the end, the Pole was awarded the verdict via tallies of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.
Lightweights Norman Parke and Rustam Khabilov fought a technical battle for three rounds, with each man landing a fair amount of decent strikes and submission attempts. But in the end, it was Khabilov who controlled the pace the majority of the time to earn a unanimous decision. The Russian was awarded the verdict with scores of 29-28 and all three scorecards.
Heavyweight sluggers Daniel Omielanczuk and Jarjis Danho burst out of their respective corners with guns ablaze and tore into each other early, but when neither man could put the other away, the UFC rookies’ gas tanks betrayed them. The battle turned into a rather sloppy affair as the exhausted combatants continued to fight on, but the duel came to an anticlimactic close when Danho was dropped by an errant left hook to the groin in the third. He wound up being unable to continue, making the final result a technical decision. Omielanczuk was the slightly better man and won the verdict in majority fashion via tallies of 28-28 and 29-28 (twice).
All it took was 24 seconds for Finalnd’s Teemu Packalen to dispatch Thibault Gouti. Packalen dropped the Frenchman with a sizzling uppercut about 15 seconds in, but when Gouti scrambled and tried to get to his feet, Packalen pounced and locked in a tight rear-naked choke, forcing a tap to end the lightweight duel.
Lightweight contender David Teymur landed the harder strikes and controlled the Octagon in the first round and then closed out opponent Martin Svensson in the second. Svensson missed a double-leg takedown attempt from too far out and when he plodded forward to try another shot, he was clipped by a scorching right uppercut. Teymur jumped on Martin -- who was on his back and trying to cover up -- and finished the battle with a few hammerfists, forcing referee Neil Hall to stop it. The official time of the TKO was 1:26 of the second.