MANILA, Philippines – Michael Bisping achieved a shining moment in his 12-year prizefighting career as he overcame the odds to become the second fighter in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history to defeat the greatest mixed martial arts competitor of this era.
Bisping silenced his critics by carving out a unanimous decision victory over former middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC Fight Night 84 on Sunday, February 28 (Manila Time) at The O2 in London, United Kingdom.
All 3 cageside judges scored 48-47 in favor of Bisping, who had to endure two solid blows from Silva and suffered gruesome gashes all over his face to have his hand raised in triumph.
The 37-year-old Englishman opened an early lead in the 5-round middleweight contest as Bisping was surprisingly able to cope up with a high-level striker like Silva.
Although Silva appeared to be in vintage form, keeping his opponent off balance with his signature feints and fakes, the strategy backfired on him as Bisping clipped the 40-year-old Brazilian with well-executed combinations.
In the second round, Bisping wobbled Silva with a counter left hook to the chin before eventually dropping his opponent to the mat with another left hook.
The tide turned in the third round when Silva was more focused and played it straight against Bisping by inflicting a bloody cut around Bisping’s left eye.
Bisping lost his mouthpiece in a close-quartered exchange and was worried about what was going on with it as referee Herb Dean picked it up on the floor.
With Bisping trying to get the referee’s attention, Silva capitalized and clobbered a thunderous flying knee that plunged his British foe to the canvas with one second left in the third.
Silva thought that he had the knockout win and was delayed several moments before realizing he had to come down from the cage to start round 4.
Replays showed that the horn to end the stanza came two seconds after Bisping fell, but the referee could not hear it and ruled that the round had ended.
Even if Bisping was sporting a shattered nose and two lacerations above and below his left eye, “The Count” rallied back in the fourth period and sustained his pace by launching combinations.
As Bisping attempted to put the ex-middleweight kingpin away in the fifth and final frame, Silva delivered a brutal push kick that put the Englishman on unsteady legs.
However, Silva opted not to punctuate the last round with a strong finish as he was satisfied throwing jabs until the final bell.
Bisping spent 7 years chasing for a bout with Silva, who holds the UFC record for consecutive title defenses with 10.
“All I know is I wanted this fight my entire life. You guys gave me the power,” Bisping said in the post-fight interview.
Bisping and Silva showed respect to each other by dropping to their knees at the center of the Octagon.
“I worship this guy. He’s the greatest martial artist of all time. I know I said things. The respect I have for you. You inspired me,” Bisping stated.
With the impressive victory over Silva, Bisping improves to a 28-7 record and is now riding high on a 3-fight winning streak.
On the other hand, Silva (33-7, 1 NC) remains winless since October 2012 when he thumped Stephan Bonnar via first-round stoppage.
“I thought it went differently. The mission was given and I thought it was completed, but I guess not,” Silva said through a translator. – Rappler.com