Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Michael Bisping and CB Dollaway scrapped last night (April 25, 2015) at UFC 186 inside the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
After years of consistently working through the middleweight ranks, Bisping has fallen on hard times. Against Dollaway, Bisping wasn't even fighting to build momentum; he was just trying to get back into the win column.
Dollaway was also looking to recover from a devastating loss, though he has done much better overall in the last couple years. Despite his opponent's decline, Bisping was still a major opportunity for the wrestler and potentially the biggest win of his career.
With Dollaway controlling the center of the Octagon, Bisping worked the outside using quick punches. Dollaway showed his improved kicking game and looked for heavy counters, while Bisping worked his usual high-volume attack.
For most of the round, Bisping seemed to be getting the better of the striking. However, with a minute remaining, Dollaway scored with a hard left hook and sent Bisping down to the mat hard. Dollaway pursued hard and attempted to secure a finish, but Bisping defended well and survived.
After a number of even exchanges, Dollaway clearly put his mark on the round.
The second round continued in similar fashion, as Bisping looked to bounce in with punches while Dollaway attempted to counter. In addition, Bisping did a nice job defending his opponent's takedown attempts.
Bisping was more successful overall in the second round, as Dollaway's volume dropped a bit. Still, it was a close round, as both men ate some hard shots. Plus, Dollaway muddied the water by scoring a takedown to end the round.
While Bisping likely had an edge in the second, it was nowhere near as definitive as Dollaway's opening round.
To start the second round, Dollaway returned to his roots and scored with a double leg early. Bisping -- true to form -- demonstrated his excellent wall-walking ability and returned to his feet before long. At this point in the fight, it seemed that both men couldn't miss, as Bisping's straight shots landed most of the time.
And Dollaway's left hook landed every time he threw it.
Overall, the third was a fairly close round. Bisping threw a pretty crazy number of strikes, but he failed to match the power or quality of Dollaway's counter strikes. Then, Dollaway likely gave the round away by falling to his back after a failed takedown attempt.
Close, entertaining fight between two middleweights just outside of the division's elite. In the end, the judges unanimously awarded Bisping the final two rounds and the fight.
This was a pretty classic Bisping performance. He got hurt early, but his offensive output, defensive wrestling, and -- perhaps most importantly -- conditioning earned him the win.
It was anything dramatically new or improved, but Bisping is nothing if not consistent.
Unfortunately, this doesn't improve Bisping's position in the division either. He's still pretty far back from the top of the division, especially considering how easily Rockhold handled the Englishman. On the bright side, Bisping proved that he's still a legitimate top 10 fighter and not done just yet.
Expect him to face another ranked opponent next, such as the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou.
This is a highly disappointing loss for Dollaway, as victory was definitely within his reach. Ultimately, Dollaway proved his ranking -- just one below Bisping -- correct, as he gave "The Count" a tough fight but came up just short.
While much of Dollaway's game has improved over the last couple years, his conditioning still needs work. If he's getting tired in three round battles, what chance does he have in a main event or potential title match up? To put it simply, Dollaway likely would've earned the win if he had been able to push the pace for the full 15.
Despite that flaw, Dollaway's current abilities place him just outside the top 15. Expect the wrestler to face off with a fighter in a similar position next, like Brad Tavares.
At UFC 186, Michael Bisping used his striking and conditioning to earn a decision win over CB Dollaway. Will the Englishman ever work his way to a UFC title shot?
For complete UFC 186 "Johnson vs Horiguchi" results and play-by-play, click HERE.