D. FOX: Rapid-fire reactions to UFC Fight Night 84 “Silva vs. Bisping”

By Dayne Fox, MMATorch Contributor

It won’t go down in history as an all-time great fight, but no one can deny that the main event of UFC Fight Night 84 was thoroughly entertaining. Michael Bisping walked out with a career defining win (though I think it comes with an asterisk) and Anderson Silva added a few more moments to his career highlight reel, as well as further controversy to his antics-filled career.

The moment of the fight that will no doubt be the most remembered was at the end of the third round when Bisping was looking for his mouthpiece from referee Herb Dean, only for Silva to capitalize with a flying knee to floor Bisping. The round ended as the knee struck, and Silva wasn’t able to follow up with strikes on the ground… not that he was looking to do so. Silva thought the fight was over and began to celebrate by jumping on the cage. The entire minute between rounds was spent in confusion as Bisping initially thought the fight was over too by refusing to stand up as Silva celebrated. Trainers weren’t allowed to work on Bisping’s face while Silva had only seconds to get back into the fight once he realized the fight wasn’t over.

The feeling though is that Silva gave away rounds, ducking and dodging Bisping’s punches against the fence in the first, second, and fourth rounds without attempting any real offense in return. That allowed Bisping to take (not steal, he was given them) the rounds and the victory in the process. Never seen anything like it before. Crazy, crazy, crazy…

Michael Bisping defeated Anderson Silva via unanimous decision

I have never been more frustrated watching a fight in my life than I was watching this one. Even though he wasn’t vintage Anderson Silva, it was clear that Silva was clearly the superior fighter to Michael Bisping. But instead he pissed away the victory by giving away rounds as he toyed with the Englishman, refusing to follow up in a timely manner after he had hurt Bisping. Wow. We always wondered when his games would cost him a fight and now it finally did. Wait… didn’t he lose the title playing around too? Oh yeah….

I find it kind of sad if this really is Bisping’s crowning moment of his career, as it was clear that he didn’t get the best effort from Silva in the cage, which taints this a bit. He did get a legit knockdown in the second round on Silva, and did put forth an admirable effort as he showed toughness for days by eating some very hard shots from Silva. But did you walk out of that fight thinking Bisping is a better fighter than Silva? Because of that I don’t believe that Bisping will be getting the title shot off of the win. From the looks of it he might need to sit out for a while anyway as he took one hell of a beating.

Silva, on the other hand, probably has all sorts of fighters that are ready to line up and fight him at this point if he wants to continue to pull those type of antics. He is still fast and accurate, but he has lost a step in each area so that he is no longer the unworldly figure that he appeared to be for so long. If he wants a victory, he’ll get it against the vast majority of the roster, as he could have taken the victory if he really wanted it against Bisping. But he really didn’t seem to care as he wasn’t upset at all after the decision was read despite his statement that he thought he did enough (I have a hard time believing that). He isn’t going anywhere for now as he is still a massive attraction and still has enough fight in him that he can put on entertaining bouts.

Gegard Mousasi defeated Thales Leites via unanimous decision

I had high hopes for this match going into it, but it looked like Leites has regressed back into the version of himself that faced Anderson Silva for the title all those years ago. Alright, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but Leites didn’t look like the same guy that had given Bisping a hard fought battle last July. Mousasi only needed his jab and takedown defense as Leites didn’t have a reasonable answer for either of them. Leites would resort to pulling guard in every round to try and entice Mousasi to grapple with him, but the results were not good and Mousasi is back on the winning track in a very nondescript fashion.

I’m not going to fault Mousasi for this one. He did what he needed to do to win, and coming off of his shocking loss to Uriah Hall, getting the win was more important than anything, including doing so in impressive fashion. He did that and removed a boulder from his shoulders in the process. He’ll need another victory before he can get another crack at the divisional elite. If the UFC can coax Tim Kennedy to come back, that fight makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, it’s hard to pick out a fight that makes sense at this point with most of the division in his area code already booked up. Tamdan McCrory maybe? I never thought Leites was going to get another title shot, but this should officially slam the door on that dream for him. He isn’t going to be cut as his run before these last two losses was very impressive. Brad Tavares is a good option from here.

Tom Breese defeated Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision

Thank you for having issues Fight Pass! I had to go back and re-watch this fight as there were streaming issues with Fight Pass which caused me to miss the entire first round. That will probably be the story of this fight, as there wasn’t much action in this one even as I went back and re-watched it. Most expected Breese to completely bulldoze Nakamura, but the Japanese representative hung tough in there to make Breese work hard for his victory, even if he didn’t end up giving the crowd the highlight reel finish that they were hoping for. While there shouldn’t be any debate as to whether or not Breese won, I expect there to be some cooling on all of his hype. The best moment of the fight was when Breese was landing elbows from top position only for Nakamura to catch his left arm and put him into a funky omaplata that put some serious torque on Breese’s elbow. He did ultimately survive and had an nifty reverse triangle himself to close the third round, but when the moment of the fight comes from the fall guy, that doesn’t reflect too well on the prospect. I’m not particularly worried as prospects usually have a hiccup or two as they develop and Nakamura has always been a very cagey grappler. If anything, all this really proves is that Breese needs a bit more seasoning than initially thought and Nakamura is tougher than most believed.

Brad Pickett defeated Francisco Rivera via split decision

There had been rumors of Pickett’s retirement circling regardless of the outcome of this fight. There ended up being some truth to that as Pickett stated in his post-fight interview that he would have had he lost, but we’ll get to see him hang around a little bit longer as he eeked out a razor thin decision over a very game Rivera. The first round was a slugfest with Rivera landing the heavier shots to get the early advantage. Pickett outwrestled a flagging Rivera in the third with the second round being completely up for debate as Pickett dominated the early part of the round with his wrestling while Rivera scored a takedown of his own later in the round and again getting the better of the striking exchanges, but only just enough to leave most shrugging their shoulders at who took the round. Though I gave it to Rivera, I can’t argue the decision and will be happy to see Pickett step into the cage again.

Pickett will never be a contender again, but he has always been known as an action fighter, and he should maintain that status for at least a few more fighters. Hopefully the UFC matches him up appropriately so he can continue to live up to that status. The UFC had shown him some leniency as he had lost four of his last five fights and the hope here is they will do the same for Rivera as he has now dropped the same amount. He comes out of the same vein as Pickett in terms of being an action fighter and his power advantage over Pickett means he is more likely to score the finish. His losses have all been quality opponents too with one being a controversial ending against Urijah Faber and another the most awesome 128 seconds ever seen against John Lineker. I won’t be surprised if he gets cut, but I think he’ll survive long enough for one more opportunity.

Makwan Amirkhani defeated Mike Wilkinson via unanimous decision

Now we can finally get a realistic reading on Amirkhani in the UFC cage, as he finally has a fight last past 66 seconds. Using his excellent wrestling, Amirkhani grinded out a tough and gritty Wilkinson that featured a few near finishes for both competitors. Amirkhani landed heavy shots from the top position at the end of the first round to bloody and batter Wilkinson while Wilkinson had an arm crank just before the heavy strikes Amirkhani was forced to muscle out of in addition to a deep guillotine in the second round. Despite the submission attempts, those rounds were clearly Amirkhani’s as he attained mount multiple times and scored some impressive sweeps to regain position. Wilkinson knew he needed a stop in the third and nearly pounded out the exhausted Amirkhani before his overaggression cost him and Amirkhani ended the fight on top again, preserving his victory.

Amirkhani is very much the fighter I thought he was: very confident in his abilities and willing to take risks which will lead to him winning some fights he should and losing some fights he shouldn’t. He was expected to win against Wilkinson and while he did that, he came dangerously close to pissing it away as he stuck his neck out there time and again on his takedown attempts which led to Wilkinson sinking in the guillotine in the second in addition to near-misses in the third round. He’ll break the top 15 someday and he is fun to watch, but I don’t see him ever challenging for a title. Godofredo Pepey is another dude on a three fight win streak in the UFC. He seems to be a natural next step in his evolution. Wilkinson showed better than expected, but he is no better than a mid-tier guy who is perfect to test prospects and veterans on the downswing.

Davey Grant defeated Marlon Vera via unanimous decision

Though slightly marred by all of the rule infractions from Vera which required intervention from referee Marc Goddard, this was actually a pretty entertaining (and bloody) bout. Vera had his moments, threatening with submissions off of his back and scoring some blows of his own towards the end of the bout knowing that he was behind on the scorecards as he looked for the finish. Grant was the much more consistent fighter, using his size advantage to bully Vera against the cage with shots from the pocket and clinch to beat him up to the point Vera felt to need to pull guard in the second round. While Grant didn’t do much damage from the ground, he did maintain control and avoid Vera’s submission attempts. I don’t see Grant having a lengthy UFC career, but it was nice to see him get a UFC win more than two years after his UFC debut. He showed his toughness and should be a good test for relative newcomers for his next couple of fights. Vera could be cut, but I’d like to see him get one more opportunity as he is still very raw. He is very active in all phases and still has plenty of room for improvement. If he doesn’t stick around, he is young enough at 23 to make his way back eventually.

Scott Askham defeated Chris Dempsey via KO at 4:45 of the first round

Easy pick for KO of the night. Dempsey controlled the majority of the fight for the first four and a half minutes by making things ugly, closing the distance and pushing Askham against the fence without allowing Askham to utilize his own clinch skills in addition to scoring a takedown. Askham did score a nice sweep by initiating a scramble and scoring a very impressive judo trip, but Dempsey was relentless in his pressure and soon regained control. As soon as the fight was off the fence, Askham landed a straight left that left Dempsey dancing on wobbly legs. Recognizing this, Askham seemed to casually throw a kick to the face that sent Dempsey sprawling to the ground face first, ending the fight and scoring Askham some easy money. Askham’s 2-2 UFC record thus far hasn’t told the whole story as he has received some tough tests in his UFC losses in Magnus Cedenblad and Krzysztof Jotko while scoring highlight reel finishes in his wins. It appears he has been working on better utilizing his reach and if he has he could creep into the rankings within a year or two. Anyone else think a fight with him and action fighter Anthony Smith would be a good idea? Dempsey is now 1-3 and I would guarantee that he is gonna be cut, but two of his losses were short notice at 205. He might get a reprieve because of that, but my guess is he is gone.

Arnold Allen defeated Yaotzin Meza via unanimous decision

Who cares what the official decision says… we all know that Allen scored a last second finish. Allen didn’t overwhelm Meza the way that many expected him to, but it’s easy to forget his youth (22) and that he was clearly losing his fight with Alan Omer in his UFC debut before getting a Hail Mary guillotine of sorts that he was only able to pull off thanks to his physical strength. He again relied heavily on his physical tools this time around as he easily stuffed Meza’s shots (Meza’s only real attempt at effective offense) and controlled the pace without making it a runaway until the very end of the fight when he unloaded with a somewhat reckless combination that floored Meza only for the bell to ring right before Allen’s follow-up punch put Meza out cold. The UFC needs to continue to spoon feed Allen if they want to see him develop into the potential star that they think he can be. But remember how they tried to rush Sage Northcutt? Yeah, they don’t want that to happen to Allen yet. Meza’s UFC run should be over and it will go down as one of the more underwhelming seven-fight runs in UFC history at 2-4 (1 NC).

Krzysztof Jotko defeated Brad Scott via unanimous decision

It wasn’t the ugly grindfest that I expected out of these two grinders, but that doesn’t mean Scott sure as hell didn’t try to turn it into that. Scott took the first round simply by pressuring Jotko against the cage and controlling the pace with little else happening besides that. The second round started out the same before Jotko started to find his range, showing great improvement in his distance striking as he was able to piece up his less athletic opponent while avoiding any major damage himself. Scott started to look tired as well even as he continued to try to press forward, but continued to eat shots from Jotko the rest of the fight, making the judge’s job pretty easy from that point. Jotko has been flying under the radar as a middleweight quasi-prospect (easy to forget he is only 26), showed further growth and his striking improvements very much make him worth keeping a closer eye on. He should end up getting a jump in competition as this marks his third straight win, giving him a 4-1 overall mark in the UFC. Chris Camozzi had an impressive victory last week and is riding a hot streak of his own. Anyone else agree? Scott is severely limited by his lack of athleticism and I really can’t see him advancing past the middle of the division despite his relative youth at 26. Considering his style is pretty ugly, he likely needs a win in his next appearance to hang around.

Rustam Khabilov defeated Norman Parke via unanimous decision

While casual fans probably didn’t care too much for the fight, I found it to be a very entertaining chess match in which Parke confused the hell out of me with his confusing strategy in the first round. Why the hell was he looking to counter? Once he started pressing the action, being aggressive, and looking for his own takedowns, it became much more competitive with Parke clearly taking the second round and holding the advantage midway through the third. Khabilov was able to rally by getting to his feet and scoring a pair of his own takedowns while landing stay-busy punches in order to steal the round from the grips of Parke and take the fight in the process as well. Snapping a two fight losing streak, Khabilov badly needed the win. Nobody will look at him as a dark horse in the contender any time soon as he was seen heading into his fight with Benson Henderson almost two years ago, but he can still make some noise. I’d love to see the stylistic clash between him and Paul Felder as they have ridden a similar wave of immediate success in the UFC only to stumble when pressed against higher competition. The loss defines Parke’s ceiling as that of a gatekeeper while also showing that one of his biggest enemies is himself as he pretty much gave away the first round with a bad strategy. He is a pressure fighter and needs to stop fancying himself as something else.

Daniel Omielanczuk defeated Jarjis Danho via majority decision

The rare decision that comes before the end of 15 minutes, I actually enjoyed the first round of the fight before the fight degenerated into a crapfest as both of the big men showed shallow gas tanks… not much of a surprise when you look at their frames. The fight played out as I expected though with Danho showing his raw skills early, but also a complete lack of polish. Omielanczuk did a great job of mixing up his strikes, even as his pace slowed. He attacked the body early to sap the tank of Danho and started to attack the legs heavily in the second round as Danho could do little more than stumble forward. A low blow stopped the action about 90 seconds into the third as Danho couldn’t continue, though I’d say it was more due to exhaustion than the nut shot. The win gives Omielanczuk two wins in a row, but a jump in competition is hardly guaranteed. I’m not giving up on Danho yet as his raw skills are still very moldable, but his gas tank and striking diversity both need to improve for him to have any staying power.

Teemu Packalen defeated Thibault Gotti via submission at 0:24 of the first round

Damn. I couldn’t understand how Packalan was the underdog in this one and was proven right very quickly. Packalen landed a hard uppercut right out of the gate which stumbled the French striker, and Packalen capitalized with ground strikes before transitioning to the back and sinking in a RNC. It’s still very difficult to get a read on what Packalen can do as 24 seconds doesn’t tell us much about him at all. Perhaps it could be assumed that he has been sharpening his striking based on that showing, but that is only an assumption. What I will take from this fight is that he’ll be around the UFC for a while rather than end up being a flash in the pan. Gotti will get another chance to impress as he took the fight on short notice, but many will be debating whether or not he deserves that at this point as he won’t be able to take anything positive from his debut.

David Teymur defeated Martin Svensson via TKO at 1:26 of the second round

It only took 30 seconds for me to regret picking Svensson, as Teymur owned a bigger athletic advantage than I calculated and I held his lack of MMA experience against him without taking into account that the biggest strides of improvement come early in a fighter’s career. Big whoops on my part. Svensson couldn’t get anything going, shooting from a mile away and being unable to do anything with Teymur once he was able to get a clinch which was really his only chance to get the fight to the ground. After a nice mix of kicks and punches throughout the fight, Teymur landed a vicious uppercut on Svensson as he looked for another shot that stumbled and eventually dropped him. Teymur jumped on him for a few hammerfists before the ref stepped in and called the fight. Svensson is gone as he showed nothing to indicate the UFC should keep him around while Teymur looks like a prospect who could develop into a high level action fighter.

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