Michael Bisping beat Dan Henderson via unanimous decision to retain the UFC middleweight championship in the main event at UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2 on Saturday. The fight saw Henderson land multiple knockdowns and bloody Bisping up, but it also saw Bisping throw a higher volume of strikes over five rounds as Henderson lost some steam late in the fight.
Judges scored the contest 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favor of Bisping.
Bisping came out a lot more cautious in the first round, backing up at any feint from Henderson. But early in the first, Henderson landed a quick jab with his left that opened up a cut on Bisping's forehead. Bisping landed a solid leg and body kick, but Henderson landed more jabs and tried to uncork his brutal right hand multiple times.
It landed late in the first, and Bisping went to the ground. Henderson followed him and tried to finish, bloodying Bisping's face quite a bit, but Bisping survived and got to his feet. The first round came to an end.
Bisping, despite the right hand of Henderson landing as a counter to his own left hook, came out throwing left hooks in the second round. Bisping was very aggressive through the first two minutes, though nothing serious landed. With two minutes to go, Bisping landed a solid knee. He continued to throw combinations and was ahead in the round.
Henderson was pushed back with a flurry that seemed to contain a groin shot from Bisping and he looked in trouble, when suddenly he uncorked the right hand again and Bisping was dropped. Henderson got back on top of Bisping but the action stalled with Bisping holding him from the bottom. The round came to an end with Henderson on top.
Upon replay, it was clear there was a groin shot from Bisping on Henderson, and the referee missed it. But the action went to the third round.
The third round looked a lot like the second, with Bisping throwing a lot more strikes. He didn't land much of significance, but he controlled the pace and Henderson looked gassed. The round ended with nothing significant landed, but it was probably won by Bisping.
In the middle of the fourth, Bisping connected with another kick to Henderson's groin and this time the referee caught it. Bisping was warned that one more violation would result in him losing a point, while Henderson took time to recover (while Bisping taunted him). Neither of the two landed much significant in the fourth, and the round came to an end.
The fifth saw Henderson much more active, landing plenty of strikes. Bisping was landing as well, though nobody delivered a power shot. Henderson scored a takedown with a little over a minute to go, but Bisping got to his feet quickly. The round came to an end with nobody seeming to have the edge.
The first time Henderson and Bisping fought was seven years ago. Bisping was favored due to his technical boxing, but Henderson scored a huge, highlight-reel knockout of Bisping, who kept circling into Henderson's power. It was a huge mistake and it was the bulk of what people discussed going into this bout.
Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort squared off in a middleweight contest in the second-to-last fight of the night. One of the most-asked for fights over the years, it took these two veterans an awful long time to finally meet in the octagon. Few expected this fight to last long, though it did make it into the second round.
The first round was pretty evenly matched, though Mousasi probably had the edge of the judges' score cards. In the second round, Mousasi landed a jab early but ate a huge body kick from Belfort. He absorbed it just fine though, and eventually scored a huge head kick, which staggered Belfort. Mousasi followed him to the ground and started to pound away. Eventually the referee called it as Belfort stopped defending the flurry, giving Mousasi a second-round victory.
Prior to the penultimate fight, light heavyweights Ovince Saint Preux and Jimi Manuwa had a hotly-anticipated scrap. one that most expected the former would win. Early in the fight, it looked that way, as Saint Preux generally controlled the first round and probably won it on the judges' score cards.
But he faded fast and Manuwa landed a knee, body shot and then a right hand to the face that dropped Saint Preux for the knockout.
Stefan Struve versus Daniel Omielanczuk was the only heavyweight fight on the card, and it was a good one. Struve took some shots in the opening round, which was concerning given his injury history, but ultimately he managed to secure an excellent d'arce choke in the second round to win his fight.
To kick off the main card, Mirsad Bektic faced off against Russell Doane in a featherweight contest. Bektic, who has been sidelined for over a year, didn't show even a bit of ring rust, dragging Doane to the ground and submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the very first round.
The event also an action-packed preliminary card that saw five finishes and only one decision. The highlight matchup was the one just before the start of the main card, featuring Iuri Alcantara and Brad Pickett. A dangerous striker, Pickett found himself on the receiving end of some hard shots from Alcantara, who ultimately got him down for a triangle choke and a first-round submission victory.
Below are the full results from both the main and preliminary cards from UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2.
Main Card results
Middleweight: Michael Bisping def. Dan Henderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
Middleweight: Gegard Mousasi def. Vitor Belfort via TKO (punches) at 2:43 of Round 2
Light Heavyweight: Jimi Manuwa def. Ovince Saint Preux via KO (punches) at 2:38 of Round 2
Heavyweight: Stefan Struve def. Daniel Omielanczuk via submission (d'arce choke) at 1:21 of Round 2
Featherweight: Mirsad Bektic def. Russell Doane via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:22 of Round 1
Fox Sports 1 Prelims results
Bantamweight: Iuri Alcantara def. Brad Pickett via submission (triangle choke) at 1:59 of Round 1
Bantanweight: Damian Stasiak def. Davey Grant via submission (armbar) at 3:56 of Round 3
Welterweight: Leon Edwards def. Albert Tumenov via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:01 of Round
Lightweight: Marc Diakiese def. Lukaszd Sajewski via TKO (punches) at 4:40 of Round 2
Fight Pass Prelims results
Welterweight: Mike Perry def. Danny Roberts via KO (knee and punches) at 4:40 of Round 3
Lightweight: Leonardo Santos def. Adriano Martins via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)