Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to pay-per-view (PPV) last night (Sat., Oct. 8, 2016) as UFC 204 went down inside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England in a night of exciting fights.
In the main event of the evening, Middleweight champion Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson put on a show, as the two went back-and-forth in a highly-entertaining title fight that saw "The Count" survive a couple of early scares to retain his strap (video highlights here).
Also, Gegard Mousasi made a statement in the co-main event of the evening by stopping Vitor Belfort via strikes in the second round (full recap here).
Biggest Winner: Michael Bisping
It's the easy choice, but the right one. In a fight that he wanted right after winning the 185-pound strap, Bisping held on to his strap (just barely) by edging out Dan Henderson in the main event of the evening in a highly-competitive bout. But, what "The Count" also won was the respect of many, colleagues and fans alike, as he showed he is as tough as they come, surviving "Hendo's" patented "H-Bomb" on a few occasions; something that most rarely do. And if you thought his confidence was high after winning the strap, it's astronomical now that he defended and got some -get-back against Henderson. But, the challenges will only get harder for the brash Brit, as there is a long line of young and hungry contenders ready to dethrone him.
Runner (s) Up: Jimi Manuwa, Gegard Mousasi and Iuri Alcantara
Manuwa's UFC career has been a roller coaster ride over the last two years, alternating wins and losses. The Brit was thought to be a legit contender to the Light Heavyweight crown when he made his debut in 2012, but a couple of tough losses derailed the hype. But, after knocking out Ovince Saint Preux with a vicious shot in their 205-pound matchup (recap), "Poster Boy" reminded everyone just what kind of power and skills he brings to the table. Expect the hard-hitting striker to get a top five foe in his next outing.
After getting the matchup he wanted, Gegard Mousasi made the most of it, taking out longtime veteran Vitor Belfort via strikes in round two of their co-main event fight, as predicted. Granted, "The Phenom" isn't the same fighter he once was, both physically and skill wise, but the win is a big one for "The Dreamcatcher," as it gives him his third straight this year alone. Had it not been for his loss against Uriah Hall in 2015, and Mousasi would easily be in the running for next dibs at the division strap. Maybe one more ought to do the trick.
I have to give Alcantara some love, as his performance against Brad Pickett was simply phenomenal. From connecting with a nice spinning elbow, putting together his strikes well to transitioning into a fight-ending triangle choke almost effortless, Alcantara deserves props for his first-round victory. He also earned himself a cool $50,000 for "Performance of the Night."
"The Phenom's" loss to to Mousasi marked his second in a row (three of four overall), all via strikes. Granted, he's fighting top-levle competition, previously losing to Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza. But, the loss to Gegard showed us a lot, as Vitor simply couldn't pop off the offensive attacks that have made him so dangerous throughout the years. Perhaps it was Mousasi's gameplan that thwarted it, or it's simply due to Belfort's diminishing skills. Whatever the case may be, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
For complete UFC 204: "Bisping vs. Henderson 2" results, including play-by-play updates, click here.