Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight combatants Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping rematched last night (June 4, 2016) at UFC 199 inside The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Aside from his debut loss, Rockhold has been incredibly dominant inside the Octagon en route to capturing the title. Last night, Rockhold looked for the first title defense of his UFC career, planning to cement himself as one of the greats.
Bisping capitalized on the biggest win of his career and some lucky timing to finally earn his title shot. Against all odds, Bisping did his damnedest to dethrone the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) representative.
Rockhold controlled the center of the Octagon and pressured Bisping. The champion was patient early, throwing a lot of lead leg kicks to the leg and body. Meanwhile, Bisping circled the outside and looked to counter.
After a couple minutes, Rockhold began to open up and start ripping left kicks. One of them dug into the body and seemed to affect Bisping, causing Rockhold to go on the offensive with punches.
Rockhold was already being pretty lackadaisical about his defense, but he got even cockier. Stepping in hard with a jab, Rockhold pulled away with his hands low. Bisping took notice and stepped into a hard pair of punches, and the second dropped Rockhold to the mat.
Rockhold stood up almost immediately, but another big punch from Bisping sent him to the mat. This time, Rockhold stayed down, as Bisping's follow up punches made him go limp.
Besides Bisping and his family, very few people expected this to happen. To his credit, Bisping fought smart and looked to capitalize on Rockhold's historically shaky boxing defense.
It worked out wonderfully.
This is the reward at the end of a long journey for Bisping. At the end of the day, Bisping represents the virtues of conditioning, toughness, and consistency. The Englishman has been vying for his chance at a title for the better part of a decade, and he finally achieved that goal and made the most of it.
Following this victory, Bisping is the champion of the world. Take a moment to appreciate the unlikelihood of that statement. His first title defense is unclear, but there's a decent chance it will be a trilogy match with Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold has always fought with great confidence. Throughout his five-fight win streak, confidence was the source of many spectacular performances, as Rockhold believed in himself enough to jump on inverted triangles and throw down with champions.
This time, his confidence ruined him.
Rockhold showed Bisping's hands no respect, casually walking into boxing range with his hands and expectations low. He may have been winning the fight, but he was leaving himself open for a big punch to dramatically change the course of the fight.
That's precisely what happened.
Rockhold better hope that he's awarded an immediate rematch. Otherwise, there are a ton of tough Middleweights at the top of the division vying for a title shot, and Rockhold does not want to have to go through that mix again.
Last night, Michael Bisping shocked the world with a first round knockout win. Can the Englishman hold onto his strap?
For complete UFC 199: "Rockhold vs Bisping" results and play-by-play, click HERE!