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The iconic O2 Arena provided the perfect back drop as UFC marked its return to the capital in heroic fashion. In front of a sold-out crowd, Britain’s very own Michael Bisping pulled off what many experts are calling his greatest victory ever.
In a card stacked with nine preliminary fights and four show-stopping bouts, the hometown heroes did not fail to put on stellar performances and the audience in attendance were in full voice throughout.
The bloodiest bout of the night came from England’s very own Davey Grant as he used the crowd’s exhilarating support as the platform to defeat Marlon Vera via the judges’ decision.
Elsewhere Scott Askham made light work of the American Chris Dempsey, knocking him out in 43 seconds in what was labelled as the performance of the night.
It was featherweight Makwan Amirkhani who earned the hard fought respect of the British crowd as he devoted his win over Mike Wilkinson to a lifelong friend who had bought tickets for the fight but recently passed away.
As soon as Londoner Brad Pickett entered the octagon, the tent looming over the O2 was shaking due to the thunderous reception he received. In a bantamweight bout for the ages, he persevered over three rounds to defeat Francisco Rivera.
Pickett dedicated the win to his newborn baby and in an emotional post match interview said that if he had lost tonight, he would’ve retired. He remains undefeated in Europe.
Up-and-coming Birmingham boy Tom Breese matched the experienced Nakamura in a slow but methodical fight. He appeared speechless at the rapturous support of the UFC faithful in attendance.
Videos of both Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva and Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping showcasing them entering the arena, training and preparing for the fight garnered boos and applause. All matches were leading up to this once in a life-time middleweight contest.
The Spider, aged 40, had a whole lot to prove as he attempted to restake his claim to a UFC Championship bout with his opponent Bisping providing the perfect foil as the pre-match buildup saw the Brit purposefully say he was aiming for a second round knockout.
At times appearing groggy, it was the chants of ‘LET’S GO BISPING’ which hit the Brit like a shock of adrenaline as he fought intensely over five rounds, almost crushing the Spider in the first two.
His war wounds were evident for all to see, the blood-faced Bisping never gave up against his opponent who attempted to use his suave fighting style for a fashionable finish. It never came.
The judges announced a unanimous decision in Bisping’s favour before he bowed down on the blood stained mat to Silva in a sign of respect. He walked out of the o2 with a new found vigour as he crawls up the ranking of the middleweight division.
Will the Brit finally be awarded a much deserved title shot? Dana White, it’s your call.
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