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The Morning After UFC 204

Matthew Wells

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Michael Bisping UFC

Title fights usually aren’t head-scratchers when it comes to the pairing of Champion and Challenger. The usual argument is which fighter ranked number one through five deserves the next opportunity to fight for the title. What happens when number thirteen jumps the line in a division that is very, very top heavy? Surely that guy holding down the thirteen spot must have some serious skin in the game, and/or a deep-seeded history with the Champ. All of that applied to Dan Henderson.

UFC 100 will forever be one of the best cards in the history of mixed martial arts, and Dan Henderson’s knockout of Michael Bisping was probably the most memorable moment of that evening. Not just the fact that the H-Bomb detonated on Bisping’s chin, it was the follow-up elbow from a diving Henderson, who might as well have been jumping off the top turnbuckle of a WWE ring to deliver that extra blow. Time almost stood still as we anticipated the impact. It was an epic moment. One that the most unlikely Champion of 2016 would love to avenge.

Michael Bisping filling in on short notice to face Luke Rockhold for the title was a culmination of sorts. It was the opportunity for one of the most storied UFC runs that never got the shot at the title to fulfill the dream of becoming a UFC Champion. When one man goes down, another will raise their hand to take advantage of an opportunity, and Michael Bisping capitalized in the most incredible way possible. A first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold was the least likely scenario heading into UFC 199. “Left Hook Larry” shocked the world and the Brit earned the right to be called Champion in the most decisive way possible.

Just as Bisping’s shot at the title was a culmination of a solid career, Dan Henderson’s shot at UFC 204 was one in the same. There is no better way to go out than going out on top, and Hendo had the chance to retire as a Champion, albeit an extremely unlikely one. In this instance, due to their history, throwing out the rankings for a chance at redemption perhaps could be allowed.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, Renzo Gracie, Wanderlei Silva, Renato Sobral, Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rich Franklin, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, and Daniel Cormier. This isn’t a random list of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, this is a list of men who have stood across the cage from Dan Henderson throughout his career, and this is just a few. A Pride Champion, Strikeforce Champion,  and an American Olympic wrestler – Dan Hendo is a legend. The only thing missing from his trophy case will be the UFC strap, as he came up on the wrong end of the judge’s cards on Saturday evening (or morning for the local crowd).

Did he really, though?

In the first round, the H-Bomb was detonated again on Bisping. As he fell to his back, Hendo followed up with a diving elbow. Wait, was that live action, or did the production crew insert a replay of UFC 100 in the middle of the round? It looked just like the ending to the first fight. Surely Bisping’s worst nightmare couldn’t happen. This time, though, Bisping wasn’t completely out of it when the elbow landed and was able to survive until the bell. The argument in round one isn’t if Henderson won the round, it’s if it should have been scored a 10-8. No other round in the fight looked like the first, and that’s why 10-8 must be considered.

Some have scored the second round in favor of Bisping because of his higher output for over four minutes. However, if you believe a 10-8 was warranted in the first, then the second frame must be scored in favor of Henderson to the tune of 10-9. Another huge knockdown occurred that caused Bisping to scramble for recovery while avoiding the big follow up shot to put him away. Bisping was largely effective for most of the round up to that point, but certainly, the most significant moment was the knockdown.  

There is very little argument that rounds three and four were 10-9’s for Bisping, which were rounds that were won by pace, pressure, and selective shots while avoiding the big power blow from Hendo. Neither round looked like round one, though, which begs the question, how can all of those rounds be equally scored a 10-9?

Going by this score, you would have a card reading 38-37 in favor of Henderson going into the final round. The fifth round was the toughest round to score. Bisping kept the pressure up and chose his shots well, but Henderson landed a few more strikes and also secured a takedown with a beautiful knee tap. Aside from some ground control time, nothing significant came from the takedown. So who earned the fifth round? The three judges that mattered scored it for Bisping. All of them. None of the three officials dished out a 10-8 in round one, either.

The final scores would read 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 – all in favor of Michael Bisping.

All things considered, it didn’t feel like an outright robbery of Henderson. Bisping displayed miles and miles of heart and determination throughout the fight. He certainly has a Champion’s will and perseverance. That much cannot be questioned. However, the score of 49-46 in favor of Bisping is certainly the worst possible scorecard anyone could come up with. We have judge Andy Roberts to thank for that gem.

On an evening in which Bisping had a lot riding on his shoulders – first title defense, trying to avenge the UFC 100 knockout, and trying to remain undefeated on his home soil, he certainly gave his best effort to retain the title. While this should have zero bearing on determining the winner, at least we know the man still holding the strap will be defending it again, and not retiring with it. While Dan Henderson riding off into the sunset with the belt over his shoulder would have been the perfect storybook ending to his career, it would have created a mess of things in determining who would be fighting for the vacant belt.

Of course, the main event wasn’t the only fight that went down on a Saturday evening, and it would be extremely short-sighted to not mention some of the other incredible performances that occurred at UFC 204. Jimi Manuwa put everyone in the light heavyweight division that he’s a legitimate threat to the top tier of contenders with an incredible knockout of Ovince Saint Preux.  Iuri Alcantara displayed slick, slick BJJ skills with a beautiful armbar to triangle choke transition to get a tap from Brad Pickett. Not only were these impressive displays, they both earned performance bonuses, and rightfully so. Gegard Mousasi absolutely steamrolled Vitor Belfort, who looked like a shell of his former self. No, that’s not a shot at PED use…or was it? 

UFC newcomer Marc Diakiese has a lot of promise in this sport, and more than likely will be a champion in the future. His performance on the prelims showed a little bit of everything – flashy striking ability, a lot of poise, and the ability to change the gameplan to something more effective. If you’re looking for a prospect to watch climb the ladder to the top, look no further than Diakiese.

With UFC Manila’s cancellation due to “injuries,” we now have just under a month until the next UFC card, which takes place on November 5 in Mexico City. UFC 204 as a whole was an amazing night of fights, with only two of the eleven bouts requiring the services of the judges. Now that Bisping’s grudge match has been settled, it’s time to get back to the top of the division where names like Rockhold, Weidman, Souza, and Romero are eagerly awaiting their opportunities for a crack at UFC gold.


For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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