A questionable split decision victory which was awarded to The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping over Matt Hamill has caused a uproar among fans and overshadowed a 5-round title fight and other dominating performances on an action-packed card.
In the main event of the evening Dan Henderson appeared hesitant and ineffective as Quinton Jackson controlled the former-PRIDE champion on the ground while interspersing striking throughout to rack up points. Henderson did not go down without a fight but was overwhelmed by Jackson’s strong ground game and came up short with scores of 48-47, 49-46, and 49-46 all being awarded to the UFC Champion.
Henderson opened up strong in round one taking Jackson down and using short knees to the body but round two showed a distinct change in pace. After a takedown from Henderson Jackson got the upper hand controlling the top position for the majority of the round using body strikes to rack up points. Round three was the most even (and could have been scored in favor of either fighter) with both fighters trading strikes on their feet and on the ground. The fourth round opened with a hard combination from Rampage that allowed him to take the fight to the ground and keep it there of a majority of the round to secure another round. In the final round desperation started to show with Henderson needing a knockout to secure the win. His opportunity never came as Jackson neutralized his opponents attempts to secure a unanimous decision win becoming the Unified Light Heavweight Champion of the world.
In the most controversial (and talked about) decision in recent history Michael Bisping was awarded split decision win over Matt Hamill. The win even came as a surprise to Bisping’s home crowd in London who booed the winner despite cheering him on throughout the bout. Hamill appeared a different fighter in London still displaying his impressive takedowns but displaying a much improved standup game than many expected. Despite wrestling through his previous fights Hamill changed the pace in his bout taking Bisping down on nearly every kick attempt he made but allowed him to return to his feet showing confidence in his newfound striking.
Bisping fought the match much like a boxing match move quickly around the octagon using short, crisp strikes throughout while avoiding much of what Hamill was throwing at him. The turning point on the scorecards likely came on the ground where Hamill allowed his opponent to return to his feet several times and the decision cost him. The judges awarded Bisping a split decision win with scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 27-30. The very questionable decision prompted fan upheavel and questions over just how legitimate Michael Bisping actually is.
In other main card action Cheick Kongo dominated Mirko “Cro Cop” for the majority for their fight and showed much-improved ground game to secure the win. Despite several errant knees to Mirko’s groin Kongo frustrated Cro Cop throughout avoiding most of his offense and controlling the pace of the fight. The judges handed down a trio of 29-28 scores for Kongo handing Cro Cop back-to-back losses and likely removing him from UFC heavyweight title contention.
In a fight that resulted in the submission of the night Marcus Davis recovered from a kick to the head and near stoppage to lock in an armbar late in the first round. Paul Taylor caught “The Irish Hand Grenade” early in the round with a right high kick that sent him to the ground. After several hammer fists and a near-stoppage Davis recovered to take the dominant position eventually catching Taylor in the fight-ending armbar to secure another UFC victory.
Opening the main card Houston Alexander showed his power with another knockout win in 1:01 over Alessio Sakara. “The Assassin” opened the round by rocking Sakara with a pair of knees. Although he briefly recovered Alexander quickly caught up with him and landed another devastating knee that sent him to the ground where Alexander pounced and unleashed strikes until the fight was stopped.
In undercard action England’s Terry Etim was defeated in front of his home crowd losing a unanimous decision to Gleison Tibau. Tomasz Drwal put on an impressive first round in his UFC debut but Thiago Silva returned with a strong second round winning by technical knockout at 4:23 of the second. Dennis Siver controlled his fight from the beginning taking Naoyuki Kotani to the ground and using effective strikes to open a gash on his forehead. Siver caught Kotani early in the second with a left hook and followed it up with a right that ended the fight at 2:04. Jess Liaudin dominated from the start in his fight against Anthony Torres landing several near knockouts before he sent Torres to the ground and finished him off with more strikes.
More than 20,000 fans packed the O2 arena for the event which sold more tickets in England than any fight card in over 10 years.
Up next for the UFC is two more events before the end of September. The UFC will return to Spike on September 19th for UFC Fight Night 11 and will then head to Anaheim for UFC 76 on September 22nd.