Fans tuning in on UFC Fight Pass this past Saturday were treated to a main event showdown that encapsulates the sport and spectacle of scripted melodrama that was all too real. Michael Bisping toppled Anderson Silva with grinding determination while showing no sign of bewilderment over the status and application of Silva’s combative brilliance.
In the first two rounds, Bisping was busier, constantly moved forward, and kept his head on a swivel, which diluted Silva’s counter striking. Bisping even dropped Silva, twice, something no one felt he had enough power to administer. Bisping was on his way to winning the third round until the last 15 seconds took a bizarre turn.
Bisping lost his mouthpiece and informed the referee, and it appeared that Herb Dean was stepping in to halt the action to recover the mouthpiece. Bisping stopped fighting, looked down at the mouthpiece, and Silva walloped him with a picture-perfect knee to the head. Silva walked away as the buzzer sounded, believing he had won the fight.
Bisping was down and seemed to be out. Silva celebrated on top of the cage with his corner joining in, all while Dean vehemently yelled, “The fight is not over.” Once Silva got the message, he was agitated but ready to fight while the crimson mask of a wobbly Michael Bisping stained the octagon canvas.
The fourth and fifth-round saw Silva catch Bisping with a shot below the belt, and Silva received a karmic eye poke in return. Bisping looked like something out of a horror film as the blood seeped into his left eye. Blood be dammed, the unwavering Brit withstood Silva’s onslaught, which included a Superman punch and a front kick to the face, all while constantly tagging Silva’s chin.
The judges unanimously scored the bout 48-47 for Michael Bisping. Silva did more damage, but Bisping out landed him in the pocket where most of the fight took place. Silva did his usual histrionics to no avail, which you’d think he would have learned his lesson after his loss to Chris Weidman.
This was an incredible fight where both fighters walked the razor’s edge. The mixture of star power, action, excitement, and controversy made for a special event that should only serve the UFC’s digital streaming service well going forward.
To sum up this fight, I would like to steal a phrase from the film White Men Can’t Jump. Silva wanted to look good first and win second. Bisping just wanted to win, and he did.