Kennedy decisions Bisping at The Ultimate Fighter finale
Tim Kennedy spoiled Michael Bisping's octagon return by taking home a unanimous verdict in the headliner of The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia on Thursday morning (PHI time) at Colisee Pepsi in Quebec, Canada.
After numerous verbal jabs during the pre-fight festivities and a heated staredown at the official weigh-in, Kennedy had the last laugh as he swept the scorecards with 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45 marks.
Kennedy established his authority early on as he secured takedowns, implemented transcendent topside grappling, and threw sequence of overhand rights to shut the mouth of the brash Brit.
The 5-foot-11 American suffocated his opponent from the top position in the first frame, controlling the scuffle with his grappling pedigree while trying to fasten a rear-naked choke.
With both athletes fighting conservatively in the second round, Kennedy landed two punches inside the clinch and snapped a quick head-kick, but Bisping shrugged it off as the 6-foot-1 Englishman was able to land more viands than his counterpart for the remainder of the period.
In the third round, Kennedy shocked Bisping with an overhand blow and then pacified the stand-up trade with another takedown.
Despite Kennedy's rapid transition from a half guard to a full mount, Bisping managed to find the escape door to avoid another beat down while on his back.
Kennedy, a recipient of the U.S. Army's Bronze Star medal during his military service, found the obligatory vigor in the critical fourth round as he was unable to put Bisping down on the canvas while receiving wild shots in an exchange.
The two-time Strikeforce title challenger leaned on his deadly fists and nailed Bisping with looping power shots, connecting on two occasions and forcing his rival to numbly backpedal.
Sensing the urgency to get a stoppage, Bisping pressed on the gas pedal for a last hurrah in the last round, but he failed to rally for a momentous offense as Kennedy mounted him twice to claim a decision triumph.
"I finish fights. I didn't finish tonight. I hit Mike with my best shots. Things weren't clicking, so my hat's off to him as an opponent. I have great respect for him. I have a long way to go, and I'm still getting better with every fight," Kennedy said in his post-fight interview.
Kennedy stretches his winning streak to four fights and improves his mixed martial arts record to 18-4.
Meanwhile, Bisping heads back to the losing territory and downgrades his win-loss card to 24-6. Prior to his meeting with Kennedy, he had a corrective eye surgery due to a detached retina that kept him on the sidelines for 355 days.
Theodorou, Laprise win The Ultimate Fighter Nations
Elias Theodorou and Chad Laprise walked out of Colisee Peps with their arms raised in victory as they defeated their respective adversities in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia.
Theodorou put on a striking display versus Sheldon Westcott, winning the realty television contest's middleweight tourney by technical knockout (TKO) at the 4:41 mark of the second round.
After highly-competitive opening salvo where the two swapped momentum in a back-and-forth manner, Theodorou increased the pace in the second frame as Westcott began to display signs of fatigue due to his numerous takedown attempts.
The 6-foot-1 native of Mississauga, Ontario battered an exhausted Westcott with a series of striking combinations and then immediately dragged his foe down to the mat.
Securing a better position on top, Theodorou dropped heavy bombs of fist and elbows to force referee Philippe Chartier to halt the action.
"This is honestly the greatest moment of my life," said Theodorou, who remains unscathed in nine professional outings.
On the other hand, Laprise earned a split decision against Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win the show's welterweight bracket.
Two of the cageside officials scored 29-28 and 30-27 for Laprise, while the third member of the panel surprisingly saw it 29-28 in favor of Aubin-Mercier.
The 27-year-old standout of Canada's Adrenaline Training Center appeared to be a step ahead of Aubin-Mercier, who is holding a black belt in judo, as he relied on his razor-sharp punching combinations, shattering leg kicks, clever footwork, and exceptional defensive grappling.
"Words can't describe how I feel right now," Laprise shared after the fight.
Both Theodorou and Laprise have received an undisclosed six-figure paycheck and a guaranteed nine-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a battle of The Ultimate Fighter Nations coaches, Patrick Cote survived a knee-strike from Aussie combatant Kyle Noke in the second round to pick up a unanimous decision with the scores 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Dustin Poirier stopped Akira Corassani with a second-round TKO in their featherweight clash, while KJ Noons made a quick work on Sam Stout by knocking him out in just 30 seconds with a scorching right hook.
Meanwhile, Ryan Jimmo is back on the winning track as he overwhelmed Sean O'Connell with a straight right hand and follow-up punches in the first round.
Furthermore, one-time Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman outpointed Leslie Smith by indistinguishable 30-27 counts on the judges' sheets. - Rappler.com