No matter what happens from here on out, Michael Bisping will always hold a win over the great Anderson Silva.
Bisping leaned on his cardio, output and resolve in capturing a unanimous decision from the former undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder in the UFC Fight Night “Silva vs. Bisping” main event on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London. All three judges scored it the same: 48-47 for Bisping, awarding the Brit the first, second and fourth rounds.
Silva spent too much time picking his spots, and Bisping capitalized on his lack of aggression. According to FightMetric data, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner outpaced the Brazilian in total and significant strikes landed in each of the first four rounds. Some of his work was negated at the conclusion of round three, as Silva connected with a wicked flying knee that nearly brought the fight to a close. However, Bisping recovered between rounds, and Silva failed to take advantage of the opening.
After five rounds and 25 minutes, Bisping had landed 33 more significant strikes and 37 more total strikes than the future hall of famer. Each man was credited with a knockdown.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Silva vs. Bisping,” here are five fights that ought to be considered:
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Michael Bisping vs. Lyoto Machida-Dan Henderson winner: Bisping has the signature piece to an underappreciated career resume that has been marked by consistent goodness. The 36-year-old stayed busy for five full rounds and weathered bursts of surgical violence from Silva, as he recorded his third straight victory and continued his climb toward a middleweight title shot. Bisping likely has more work to do to that end, as a win over “The Spider” simply does not mean what it once did in terms of the pecking order at 185 pounds. Nevertheless, Bisping stuck a major feather in his cap. Machida and Henderson will collide in a rematch at UFC on Fox 19 in April.
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: Three years, four months and 14 days have now passed since Silva’s last official victory -- a first-round technical knockout against the woefully overmatched Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. As he approaches his 41st birthday and with nothing left to prove, one has to wonder how long it will be before Silva ponders retirement. He has not looked the same since his first encounter with Chris Weidman in July 2013. Should he decided to forge ahead, Silva has almost limitless options based on his name alone. Belfort will meet Souza on UFC 198 on May 14 in Curitiba, Brazil.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Derek Brunson: Mousasi flashed the skills that made him a champion in multiple organizations, as he used a stinging jab, flawless takedown defense and crisp combination punching to bank a unanimous decision over Thales Leites in the co-headliner. The 30-year-old has won five of his eight fights since arriving in the UFC in 2013 following a successful run in Strikeforce but has yet to separate himself from the pack at 185 pounds. Brunson is on a four-fight winning streak.
Tom Breese vs. Brandon Thatch-Siyar Bahadurzada winner: The unbeaten Breese passed his first serious test as a professional, as he overcame some adversity to pocket a unanimous decision over former Sengoku and Shooto Pacific Rim champion Keita Nakamura. In going the distance for the first time in his career, the Tristar Gym prospect improved to 10-0 and took the next step in his development. Some view him as a future contender at 170 pounds, and he figures only to improve under the direction of Firas Zahabi. Time will tell. Thatch will square off with the returning Bahadurzada at UFC 196 on March 5 in Las Vegas.
Brad Pickett vs. Rob Font: Pickett breathed life into his career and threw the brakes on a three-fight losing streak by claiming a split verdict from the notoriously heavy-handed Francisco Rivera in their three-round clash. The American Top Team veteran admitted he had considered retiring but at age 37 appears ready to move forward in the bantamweight division. Team Sityodtong’s Font returned from an extended absence at a UFC Fight Night event in January, when he put away Joey Gomez with second-round punches. The 28-year-old has 11 straight fights.