The main event of tonight's (Wed., April 16, 2014) The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, featured Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy finally settling their differences inside a cage after months and months of trash talking each other outside of it.
This also represented Bisping's first fight back since detaching the retina in his eye and going through complications with surgery.
As are as being worried about getting punched in said eye, well, Kennedy was grappling right away, working a takedown and sticking to "The Count" like glue. He was really effective too, if judged only by the boisterous boos from the fans in attendance.
Bisping got the chance to fire off with his strikes in the second. He pressured and pushed the American soldier into the fence and let loose with his trademark pawing jab and hard shots. He even got creative with a flying knee!
The commentary team wondered if Kennedy wasn't baiting his opponent to draw him in but if that was the case it was a poor strategy that wasn't effective. It's also to say he's foolish to continue using it after it failed.
The Brit made it even after two.
Perhaps realizing his best avenue to victory would be grappling, Kennedy earned a takedown early in the third and worked to pass from there. Finally, after a few minutes of activity but not much action, he passed to full mount.
Points, points, points.
Bisping escaped without taking too much damage but ended the round on his back and expending a lot of energy trying to get out from underneath his foe.
In the fourth, the so called championship rounds, they had a battle of wills. Kennedy wanted the takedown and found it. But he couldn't keep Bisping down, at which point "The Count" pressed the action like he had in round two. This was the story of the fight, really.
And it was painfully boring.
Kennedy threw more punches, at least, but he was moving slow and deliberate. The power was still there, however, and he rocked Bisping with a hard shot, providing the first "oooh" and "ahhh" of the bout.
The fifth and final round came and guess how it went?
Kennedy grabbed another takedown and did his best to ride it out from there. Instead, the referee stood them up for inactivity, though you could argue it wasn't a great call. It didn't matter in the end. Bisping fired off with everything he had left but couldn't get a late finish.
The decision from the judges: 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45, all in favor of Kennedy.
For complete TUF: "Nations" Finale results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.