Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight strikers Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping finally clashed last night (Feb. 27, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 84 inside The 02 Arena in London, United Kingdom.
After many years of complete dominance, things have gone from bad to worse for Silva. Looking to recover from losing his title and failing a drug test, Silva needed a strong performance last night.
On the other hand, Bisping has been angling for a fight with Silva for the better part of a decade. That opportunity finally arrived, but it was up to "The Count" to make the most of it.
He did just that.
To watch Michael Bisping vs. Anderson Silva full fight video highlights right now click here.
Early on, Silva circled the Octagon and measured his opponent, while Bisping tried to walk him down and landed a few strikes. While Silva was still doing his usual feeling out process for the first half of the round, Bisping did land a few nice straight punches during that time.
Silva stepped things up in the final 90 seconds. At what point, he walked Bisping into the fence while showing lots of feints, which helped him score with a hard body kick. However, when he looked to exchange near the final bell, it was Bisping who connected with a strong punch that wobbled his opponent's knees.
While it was fairly close overall, Bisping did earn the opening round.
Bisping opened the second round with more pressure, but let Silva off the fence when "The Spider" tried to draw him in. For much of the round, Bisping did a very nice job of staying disciplined and not reaching for his opponent.
With less than a minute remaining, Bisping put together a lovely combination that sent Silva to the mat hard. Silva recovered fairly quickly, but he was definitely hurt badly.
Two rounds deep, and Bisping was already pulling far ahead with a stellar showing.
Bisping continued to work his game plan opposite Silva, keeping a close distance and firing off quick punches while staying tight. Additionally, he did a nice job of attacking with his outside low kick, which helped him destabilize Silva and avoid counter punches.
At about the halfway point in the round, Silva switched his attack and went on the offensive. While Bisping was at first doing a nice job of defending himself, he allowed himself to be distracted by a missing mouth piece, which gave Silva the opening to score with a massive flying knee.
It very nearly knocked Bisping out, but the bell rang at that exact moment. Silva thought the fight was over, but instead the bout continued on into the championship rounds.
Despite dropping his opponent and nearly finishing him just moments earlier, Silva was very patient to start the round and allowed Bisping to control the center of the Octagon. Then, a low blow from the Brazilian gave Bisping even more time to recover.
Once the fight restarted, Silva spent over a minute with his back to the fence, allowing his opponent to throw and score with some solid punches. It was a really questionable tactic, as Bisping landed some nice shots in these exchanges without eating any counter punches in return.
For the most part, Bisping landed the better strikes throughout the round. However, Silva did finish the round by pushing forward and going on the aggressive, which made it rather close.
Silva started the fifth and final round well with some high kicks and his straight left. After Bisping put his opponent on the fence and began landing again, Silva jacked his jaw with a slick front kick that badly rocked his opponent.
The Brazilian swarmed and landed some hard shots, but Bisping hung tough.
For the rest of the fight, Bisping tried to get back into his rhythm and even attempted a takedown, but the momentum was firmly in his opponent's corner. Silva wasn't winning every exchanges, but he was landing enough hard shots to match his opponent's volume.
On the whole, this was a close fight and should be considered an instant classic. However, all three judges awarded Bisping the unanimous decision win.
This fight really did an excellent job of summing up Michael Bisping, both his strengths and weakness. Of course, there are many plus sides to his performance. Bisping's cardio is incredible, as he pushed a heavy pace for five rounds despite getting rocked a few times. His kickboxing was more on point than ever, as Bisping stuck to his technique and stayed tight.
However, Bisping's bad habits also made an appearance. He circled into his opponent's power kicks a few times, and he also allowed himself to be distracted by the referee.
Until that happened, Bisping was winning without much issue. Afterward, his face had a few new craters in it.
Regardless of all the technical aspects of this fight, it's hard not to be happy for Bisping here, even as someone who has never been a huge fan of "The Count." Every fighter that gets into this sport has dreams, and most of those dreams end up shattered in some violent way or another. However, Bisping has toiled in this division and suffered tough losses for years in the hopes of someday defeating Silva, and that happened yesterday.
Congratulations to the English MMA pioneer.
This was an odd performance by Silva. While his chin seems to be a fair bit weaker nowadays, his skill and reaction time seems to still be fairly high. When Silva turned it on, he was terrifying, and it seemed like he could finish Bisping at any moment.
However, Silva only maintained that intensity for maybe three minutes of the 25. That simply wasn't enough to overcome his opponent's consistency, and it cost him the decision.
It's unclear where Silva heads from here. He's clearly still at a high level, but he's also far more vulnerable. Additionally, the game plan to beating Silva has been written out, and future opponents will try to take advantage.
Last night, Michael Bisping earned the biggest victory of his entire career. Where does the Englishman go from here?
For complete UFC Fight Night 84 "Silva vs Bisping" results and play-by-play, click HERE!