Michael “The Count” Bisping kept his chances of earning a title shot alive with a razor-thin split-decision win over Thales Leites in the main event of UFC Glasgow on Saturday. UFC News has the official scorecards:
Sportz Visionz has the fight stats:
This fight could have gone either way. Judging came down to whether you were more impressed with Bisping’s footwork and slightly more plentiful landed strikes or Leites’ more effective punches. The Brazilian had Bisping hurt on two occasions, but he couldn’t finish.
The most significant sequence came in the third round when Leites landed a huge uppercut on Bisping’s chin against the cage. Bisping’s head jutted upward, but he had the wherewithal to grab, hold and survive the danger.
In the fifth and final round, as you can see from the UFC video below, Leites came out looking for the finish:
Bisping’s footwork proved to be too slick, and he was able to land some decent combinations that offset Leites’ pressure. Andreas M. Georgiou of MMA Plus also saw the fight as a tough one to call:
Apparently, the decision wasn’t the only thing Bisping split in the fight. Take a look at his toe in this image from Bloody Elbow:
Anyone who is eager for Bisping to fade out of the title picture will have to wait a little longer. His striking, takedown defense, toughness and cardio make him formidable against anyone not ranked in the top five of the division.
This win leaves him firmly planted in the middleweight division’s top 10. He came in ranked ninth and Leites was 10th. Don’t expect either man to move much after such a close scrap.
Dunham Grounds Pearson
Ross Pearson needed room to show off his striking prowess, but Evan Dunham never gave it to him. With just enough strikes to close the distance, Dunham dominated control of the bout and secured three takedowns, per the fight stats image from Sportz Visionz:
Pearson escaped a deep armbar in the first round that seemed to have damaged his left arm, but he deserves credit for enduring some severe pain and escaping the predicament. The UFC tweeted this video to show what Pearson fought through:
Still, Dunham’s superiority on the ground was far too big of an impediment for Pearson to overcome. Josh Gross of Sherdog.com gave some love to Dunham for his performance:
When the fight was over, he didn’t apologize for his winning—but less than thrilling—approach. Per the Fox Sports 1 broadcast, Dunham said, “I would be stupid to fight his fight.”
We really don’t know what’s next for him. When he was interviewed by Fox Sports 1’s Brian Stann, Dunham was asked who he wanted next, and his response was disappointing.
“I’m a journeyman fighter and when they call and give me a name, I’ll be there,” he said.
What is that?
Guys who refuse to take the opportunity to call out an opponent after a win are like salespeople who refuse to promote their own product. Don’t you want a commission check? It’s a wasted opportunity. In any case, I digress.
Here’s a look at the results from every fight on the card:
Stevie Ray and Joe Duffy Shine Brightest
Stevie Ray made quick work of Leonardo Mafra, as did Joseph Duffy with Ivan Jorge, and both men earned an extra $50,000 for their efforts.
Ray’s counterstriking was the key, as he hurt Mafra early in the first round. Before Mafra could recover, Ray jumped on him again with another strong shot that forced the stoppage.
Duffy has made himself a first-round assassin. He has 12 first-round finishes in his 14 wins. Against a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, he secured the armbar submission victory in an impressive display.
The Ladies Put on the Best Bout
The only women’s fight on the card was awarded and deserved the Fight of the Night bonus. Joanne Calderwood outstruck Cortney Casey in the latter’s UFC debut. Casey was a late replacement, but she came out guns blazing.
Take a look at this sequence early in the first round—Casey nearly stopped the Scottish Calderwood in front of her home fans:
Ultimately, Calderwood took control with her striking and almost secured the stoppage win herself in the third round with a spinning back kick to the stomach.
Casey survived and, when the bout was over, here’s how the UFC and many fight fans felt:
While he’s tough as they come, Pearson’s inability to create the movement to execute his striking against an opponent like Dunham is defining—in a bad way.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 winner will never be more than a brawler who is good for some thrilling battles but nowhere close to a contender. You might as well put him in the same category as Chris Leben. Depending on who you ask, that may or may not be a compliment.
On Saturday, July 25, the promotion comes to the United Center in Chicago for UFC on Fox 16 with a long-awaited main event rematch. UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw will defend his title against the man he won the belt from in May 2014.
The two men were set to rematch in August 2014, but Barao fell ill during a brutal weight cut and was unable to fight. Dillashaw would defeat replacement Joe Soto, but the thirst to validate his first win over Barao hadn’t been quenched. Barring an issue this week, we’ll finally see one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year.
The co-main event could determine who gets the next shot at the women’s bantamweight title. A week before Ronda Rousey defends the belt against Bethe Correia in Brazil on August 1, Jessica Eye will take on longtime Rousey rival Miesha Tate in a pivotal scrap.
The fights roll on.
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