In tonight’s headliner, Michael Bisping will battle rival and fellow middleweight contender, Luke Rockhold.
Walt Harris vs. Soa Palelei
Palelei comes charging in to begin the fight, but can’t take Harris down. The two meet in the center of the Octagon, and Palelei attempts another takedown. Harris defends and counters with punches. Harris throws a high kick but its blocked. Not long after, Palelei wings a high kick but Harris blocks it, and counters with a thumping body kick. Palelei throws another kick before the round ends.
Round 2: Palelei attempts a front kick to begin the round. Harris lands a leg kick before he takes one from Palelei. “The Hulk” throws a nice combination of punches, attempts another takedown, but Harris defends. Both men are throwing hard shots. Action begins to slow. Palelei changes levels and gets a takedown. The heavyweight is tossing down shots and passes Harris’s guard. Palelei continues to land heavy punches and the fight is stopped. The run of stoppages continues.
Soa Palelei def. Walter Harris via TKO (punches), R2, 4:49
Clint Hester vs. Robert Whittaker
Hester comes out firing, and both fighters appear to land hard shots. Hester shoots in for a takedown but Whittaker defends. Hester throws a cracking spinning elbow but Whittaker shrugs it off. Whittaker drops Hester with a right hand, rushes in and takes his back. Hester is back to his feet and Whittaker is attempting a double leg along the fence. With the fight on the mat, Whittaker works from top position, but Hester works his way out. Round ends.
Round 2: Both middleweights are light on their feet. Whittaker lands a hard jab and right. Hester wings an overhand right. Both fighters are chucking strikes. Hester eats a couple of jabs and pushes Whittaker up against the fence. Hester attempts a single leg but can’t get the takedown. Whittaker counters with punches, drops Hester with a punishing knee, and follows up with more strikes. The ref rushes in and stops the fight. Another highlight reel stoppage!
Robert Whittaker def. Clint Hester via TKO (strikes) R2, 2:43
Ross Pearson vs. Al Iaquinta
Iaquinta throws a sidekick early on but Pearson counters with a right hand. Iaquinta feints a takedown attempt. Pearson is threatening with the uppercut. Pearson catches a kick attempt from Iaquinta but misses with a counter right hand. Iaquinta lands a right. Pearson chucks a hard left hook and lands an inside leg kick. Both lightweights are keeping busy. Pearson throws a high kick. Iaquinta changes levels but can’t land the takedown before the round ends.
Round 2: Pearson plants an inside kick to start round. Pearson throws a front kick but takes a right hand from Iaquinta. Both men land follow up shots. Iaquinta floors Pearson with a counter right hand. The British fighter gets up but is quickly sent back to the mat with follow up punches. The fight is stopped. What an impressive and massive win for Iaquinta.
Al Iaquinta def. Ross Pearson via TKO (punches) R2, 1:39
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping
Bisping throws a couple of right hands to begin the fight but misses. Rockhold fires a counter right hook that misses. Rockhold charges in and their heads clash. Bisping is already cut above the left eye. Fight is resumed with fighters clinching along the fence. Bisping breaks free. Rockhold throws a high kick that’s blocked. Both men are keeping busy but no one is landing any telling shots. Bisping lands a leg kick but the former Strikeforce champ counters with a punch. Rockhold lands a kick to the body and starts cranking up the striking. Bisping throws a nice combination as the round nears its end.
Round 2: Bisping charges in but is met with a Rockhold punch. The latter lands a follow up left. Rockhold sends Bisping crashing to the mat with a head kick, and follows up with a punishing left hand. A stunned Bisping tries to get up but Rockhold locks in a guillotine choke. Bisping taps out to his rival. The two exchange words after the fight is stopped. What a performance from the AKA middleweight.
Rockhold calls Bisping a “warrior” after the bout, but acknowledges he was “pissed off” at Bisping for the comments he made about their now infamous sparring session.
Bisping admits he didn’t “care” for Rockhold, but credits the “motherf—er” for his performance, and says he was “the better man”.
Luke Rockhold def. Michael Bisping via submission (guillotine choke) R2, 0:57