Michael Bisping’s dizzying year continued at UFC 204 in his own backyard on Oct. 8, as “The Count” avenged the most demoralizing loss of his career to rival and legend Dan Henderson, overcoming early adversity to win a five-round unanimous decision in front of a partisan Manchester crowd.
The 37-year-old Bisping’s 2016 campaign has been repeatedly shocking, from essentially getting up from a knockout to thwart all-time middleweight ruler Anderson Silva and knocking out Luke Rockhold on short notice for the title to even winding up in a rematch with a 46-year-old Henderson, who was bound for retirement. Even then, Bisping had to overcome a first-round knockdown to top Henderson, injecting the kind of drama that has become part and parcel of his recent run.
What comes next for Bisping is unclear and largely rests on two forthcoming middleweight contests: Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero and Rockhold vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. However, UFC 204 had another middleweight spark of life, as perennial divisional stalwart Gegard Mousasi blew away Vitor Belfort with ease, earning his third straight win since he was shocked by the high-flying offense of Uriah Hall in September 2015. With the victory, Mousasi climbs from No. 10 to the seventh spot in our 185-pound rankings.
Twenty pounds north of middleweight, British puncher Jimi Manuwa announced his return to 205-pound consideration, bouncing back from nasty knockout losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson with a resounding second-round KO of Ovince St. Preux, vaulting back into our rankings at No. 8.
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