A NIGHT OF HARD AND FAST FINISHES ON UNDERCARD
Last night’s UFC 204 from Manchester, England had the main card fighters fighting like they had to get somewhere (bed perhaps?), with four finishes in five fights, and then a tightly fought, memorable main event that all gave UFC officials lots to consider when choosing the post-fight bonuses.
Fight of the Night honors went to Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, who fought in a five-round middleweight championship war that saw Bisping nearly finished early in the fight but then take over as the fight drew on to take a unanimous decision win over Henderson, who fulfilled his promise to hang up the gloves win or lose.
Jimi Manuwa won a Performance of the night bonus for his violent knockout of top-five light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux. St. Preux’s collapse to the canvas with his leg awkwardly folded underneath his body mirrored that of Mirko Cro Cop’s knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga in that same arena at UFC 70 in 2007.
The final performance bonus was given to Iuri Alcantara for his slick submission win over veteran Brad Pickett on the undercard.
All four fighters will receive $50,000 in bonus pay. (LINK)
Hiscoe’s Analysis: This was a very good show and the main event delivered as well. I felt that the first 2-3 rounds of Bisping vs. Henderson were that of an all-time great classic fight, but then the last two rounds with Henderson tired and Bisping chipping away at him were just a normal fight. I personally scored the fight 48-46 for Bisping with a 10-8 first round for Henderson and then Bisping taking rounds two through five 10-9. A case could be made to give Henderson the second round, in which case the fight would have been a draw but I didn’t think Henderson did enough in the fifth round to justify giving it to him there. I think a close loss is better for Henderson to retire on than a draw as that would be so unsatisfying and Henderson and likely many fans would be clamoring for a rematch.
With Bisping still the champ, that clears up much of the context of the upcoming big middleweight fights between Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza. My instinct is that the winner of Rockhold/Souza will get the next shot, as Rockhold has a built in storyline and Souza will have a strong case from an in cage performance perspective. Bisping cutting down each fighter’s case for a title shot after his win last night was counter productive in my eyes, but consistent with his character and message he’s been sending since he won the title in June. I would have prefered he single out one fighter he wants to see win, but he’s likely getting one of the four and won’t be able to call his shot this time around.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-This was one of the stronger UFC pay-per-views in recent memory and worth a look on replay if you’re considering the purchase.
-A public celebration of life for Josh Samman will take place on Friday at The Moon nightclub in Tallahasee at 1 p.m. (LINK)
-There weren’t many complaints for fans or fighters regarding the unusual early morning/late night local time of the show. Jimi Manuwa mentioned he was feeling tired after he arrived at the arena at 1am but felt better once he started warming up.
-Dan Henderson confirmed his retirement at last night’s post-fight press conference. He thought the winner of Luke Rockhold vs. Jacare should get the next title shot.
-Gegard Mousasi argued for a title shot and higher ranking at the press conference, saying of Bisping, “I’d jab his face all night. Easy.”
Post fight press conference video: LINK
NOW CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST: Vitor Belfort to retire, Cerrone calls McGregor a coward, Cyborg calls out Rousey
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)