Join us at 10 p.m. EST on Oct. 8 for the absolute best round-by-round coverage of UFC 204 you'll find anywhere!
By: Jimbo X
Imagine, if you will, that the absolute worst moment of your professional career completely overshadowed everything else you've done. As in, you literally rose to the highest peak of your craft, being awarded the ultimate symbolic token of achievement, but despite outdoing some of the greatest pros who ever applied their trade to the craft, the only thing people ever seem to remember about you is that one, haunting embarrassing failure.
Folks, that's been Michael Bisping's life since 2009. Despite the incredible success the 10-year UFC veteran has experienced since then - the highlight, of course, being his back-to-back victories over Anderson Silva and Luke Rockhold earlier this year en route to winning the Middleweight Championship of the world - he's still primarily known for one thing: getting his ass destroyed by Dan Henderson back at UFC 100. Let's roll that beautiful bean footage, why don't we?
And that's Michael Bisping's legacy. Forget the title reign and forget the wins over Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold, Brian Stann and Cung Le. The dude was on the receiving end of what remains seven years later the single greatest knockout in the history of mixed martial arts. Never mind that Hendo's career has been on a fairly downward trajectory ever since (this is the same guy who was obliterated by Vitor Belfort twice, tapped by Daniel Cormier and outwrestled by Jake Shields, after all), he's still venerated for this one performance. The history books, so it seemed, would ultimately boil Henderson and Bisping's accomplished MMA careers to that one fateful evening in Las Vegas, circa 2009 - their entire professional oeuvre condensed into the simple descriptors "the puncher" and "the punchee."
But just you wait ... something utterly amazing went down earlier this spring, in turn, setting the wheels in motion to give us a long, LONG awaited rematch. And this time, it isn't just "pride" on the line - indeed, it's UFC gold.
At UFC 199, Dan Henderson shocked Hector Lombard on the undercard. Granted, that seemed like the absolute biggest upset of the night, but holy shit, Michael Bisping then went on to KTFO out of Luke Rockhold in the main event. While some have argued that there are more worthwhile middleweights who could have been next in line for a shot at the title (Ronaldo Souza immediately springs to mind), the prospect of pitting Bisping against Hendo ... this time, in The Count's own backyard ... in a rematch for the 185 pound strap was just too good of a story to abandon. And with Henderson saying time and time again that this is his final fight, the already incredible narrative becomes all the more engrossing. Will Bisping exact his long, long awaited revenge and knock Henderson out to erase the biggest taint on his MMA career, or will Hendo - in his final rodeo - go out there and shut up the mouthy Brit with his fists yet again?
Even with the fairly lacking undercard, oh, you know you want all of this right here.
As the usual, our LIVE ROUND-BY-ROUND COVERAGE starts at 10 p.m., New York-time on fight night. Do yourself a favor and go on ahead and bookmark this page, and when the PPV portion of the card begins, be sure to hit the refresh button early and often, because I'm going to be updating this sucker at lightning fast speeds. And hey! Why don't you tell your MMA lovin' buddies what we're up to and drop a link to us on your social media pages? They'll appreciate your intrepidness, and yeah, you'll probably get a blowjob out of it. Yes, even if you are a woman. ESPECIALLY if you are a woman, actually.
It's 3 a.m in Manchester, England, and our commentators are Mike Goldberg and Brian Stann. Is there a reason why Joe Rogan never seems to be able to make these oversea shows?
Mirsad Bektic (10-0-0-0) vs. Russell Doane (14-6-0-0)
Bektic is an undefeated brawler from that hotbed of MMA action Bosnia who is 3-0 in UFC competition (his last bout entailed a TKO finish of Lucas Martins, in case you were wondering.) Doane, on the other hand, is a longtime UFC stalwart (and former King of the Cage Bantamweight champ) who is currently riding a three-fight losing streak. With the company employing the unwritten "four losses and you're a goner" policy, one has to think Doane will go into this one fighting like his livelihood on the line ... primarily, because it is. Conversely, Bektic has absolutely nothing to lose here, and a flashy finish over the past-his-prime opponent would certainly do wonders in elevating his stock in a talent-glutted 145-pound division. So yeah - I wouldn't exactly expect a lot of staid, conservative offense in this one.
Doane comes out draped in the Hawaiian flag to some gibberish-sounding rapping music. He was a Tachi Palace bantamweight champion, too, and if you know what that means, congratulations, you really are a MMA nerd. Bektic comes out in yellow and black britches and is accompanied by some different kind of rappity music, which may or may not be Herzegovina-hop.
Bektic, 25, is five years Doane's Junior. Bektic trips early, but he recovers. Hard hit from Bektic. Doane keeping his distance and he eats a hard combination. Bektic gets an easy double leg takedown. Doane trying to tie Bektic up and the crowd is cooing, for some reason. Bektic slams Doane to the ground. Bektic looking for another slam. Bektic still struggling to land the suplex. He finally gets him down on a shitty-looking belly-to-back. Back up, and Bektic has Doane's back again. He's grinding him against the cage and takes him down again. Doane looking very gassed. Bektic looking for a choke with a minute left. And he gets it. Doane taps, and this one is all over.
The official time of the submission is 4:22 in the first. Brian Stann asks Bektic if he wants to call anybody out. He doesn't name anybody specifically, but he does let Dana White know he wants "some chicken."
Hard sell for UFC 205, and yeah, that looks to be one hell of a show. Hey, did you know you can play the "ultimate edition" of Gears of War 4 on Windows 10, too?
Stefan Struve (31-8-0-0) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (19-5-0-1)
The tallest fighter in the UFC heads into this bout fresh off a commanding elbow KO of Bigfoot Silva in May. Omielanczuk (fuck it, we're just going to call him "Daniel" because Autocorrect is being a cunt), on the other hand, is on a three-fight winning streak, his last victory being majority decision against Oleksiy Oliynyk in June. Oh, and before that, he became quite possibly the first fighter since Keith Hackney to win a fight by groin punch, but really, that's a story for a different day. The Vegas line tilts heavily towards Struve, but this being the wacky world of MMA and all, don't be surprised if Danny Boy manages to pull one over on his lanky (and highly favored) adversary. Especially if he tries to utilize his dreaded "dick punch" technique again.
Struve represents the Netherlands and Daniel is a Pollock (I hear they make the best submarine screen doors.) Daniel comes out to some sort of gravely throated electronic bullshit and Struve comes out to a different kind of techno nonsense.
It sounds like they remixed a little bit of the in-house UFC theme music. And for whatever reason, Goldberg acts like he's about to bust out laughing at random intervals. Huge height advantage for Struve. Daniel lands some solid kicks on an early putsch. Struve fires back with a few kicks of his own. Hard left jab by Daniel. More Struve kicks. Struve lands a solid jab, followed by a good body kick. Good combo from Daniel. Nice exchange. Struve with a takedown, but Daniel is right back up. Daniel has Struve pinned against the cage. He takes Struve down with a judo trip, but oops, Struve lands right on top of him. Struve still on top, working his way to the side mount. Daniel sneaks out, and now Struve has Daniel's back. Minute left. Hard hits from Struve. Still rolling, and Struve trying to lock in the sub. Brian Stann says Struve's manager has a scary accent. And that's the round. Gotta' be 10-9 for Struve.
Round two. The announcers let us know it's hot as hell in the arena. Daniel squashes Struve up against the cage and desperately looks for a takedown. Struve answers with a hard knee to the face. Struve with another judo toss takedown. Struve has a D'arce choke locked in, and Daniel taps.
The official time is 1:41 in the second. Stann asks him if he wants to challenge anybody and he brings up the fact that he DOES have a knockout victory over Stipe Miocic. And then, he takes a photo - complete with selfie stick - with his trainers.
Judging from the trailers, I take it Mafia III is a video game about a simulated race war, right?
Light Heavyweight Bout
Ovince Saint Preux (19-8-0-0) vs. Jimi Manuwa (15-2-0-0)
His April loss to Jon Jones notwithstanding, OSP has done very well for himself since joining the UFC, accumulating a 7-3 record in his last ten bouts. Some bad losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson notwithstanding, Jimi Manuwa has also done pretty well during his UFC tenure, with a 4-2 record when Dana White is signing his paychecks. With both men very much out of title talks, each needs a victory here in the worst way to begin their slow crawl back towards Light Heavyweight Championship contention. And considering the heavy hands of both competitors, the likelihood that at least one of the men in the cage will have to be smelling salted back into consciousness at some point has to be considered extremely high.
Manuwa comes out to "Hail Mary" by Tupac (the same song Apollo Creed's illegitimate son uses.) OSP comes out to ... I don't know, some rap song I am not familiar with. Huh, Mike Goldberg said OSP is a former Tennessee Volunteer, but he doesn't tell us what sport he played. If I had to guess? Yeah, he was definitely one of those field hockey motherfuckers.
Jimi with a solid inside leg kick. OSP clinches against the cage. Solid knees to the midsection by OSP. Jimi whiffs on a knee to the head. Hard kick from Jimi. Now Jimi has OSP clinched against the cage. He lands a knee to the head. OSP chases him across the Octagon and looks for a rear naked choke. He has one hook in and he's pounding Jimi on the mat. Now Jimi is looking for a guillotine of his own. OSP escapes and he has Jimi's back. OSP dropping some elbows and heavy lefts. Both men up with ten seconds left. I'd score it 10-9 for OSP.
Round two. OSP with leg kicks early. Hard combo from Jimi. OSP shoots, and Jimi secures a headlock. OSP out. Big left hook from Manuwa. Another solid kick from Jimi. Jimi landing some leg kicks now. Jimi whiffs on a jumping knee. Jimi drops OSP with a hard shot, OSP back up, he gets staggered again and Jimi puts OSP down and out with a murderous left.
The official time of the knockout is 2:38 in round two. Of course, when Stann asks him who he wants to fight next, he can't name a single damn person.
Also, The Guv'nor looks like a downright awesome movie.
Vitor Belfort (25-12-0-0) vs. Gegard Mousasi (39-6-2-0)
It seems like Belfot vs. Mousasi is one of those fights that should have taken place back in 2009, headlining a DREAM FC show at Saitama Super Arena or something. Alas, a good seven years later, we're finally getting what would have unquestionably been a "dream match" to the MMA nerds of 2010. While Mousasi rides a two-fight winning streak, Beflort comes into this bout looking to shake the cobwebs off of his brutal UFC 198 loss to Ronaldo Souza. Neither men can really be considered "relevant" in the 185-pound division at this point, which definitely gives Belfort and Mousasi alike great incentive to go out there and put on a show. And seeing as how both fighters are known for some very satisfying knockouts, methinks "a highlight reel KO" would mean more to either fighter than a standard decision victory.
This match is brought to you by Kevin Hart's latest concert movie, in case you were wondering. Belfort, at 39, is eight years older than Gegard. Hard kick from Gegard to begin. Belfort with an early flurry. Good combo from Gegard. Both men keeping their distance about three minutes in. Gegard with a low kick, Belfort trying to rock him with the counter jab. Gegard with another good one-two combo. Gegard with a takedown at the bell. A tough one to call, but I'd give it 10-9 to Gegard.
Round two. Gegard snapping off some jabs. Gegard catches Belfort's leg during a kick and makes him eat a quick knuckle sandwich. Hard kick from Gegard and now Gegard is just teeing off on Vitor. Belfort, however, survives the onslaught. Gegard takes him down, Vitor is a bloody mess and Gegard is raining hammer fists. He has Vitor's back. Now he is back in the full mount. Tons of hammer fists from the side and the ref waves this one off.
The official time is 2:43 in round two. Gegard says he wants to fight Anderson Silva next.
UFC Middleweight Championship Bout
Michael Bisping (30-7-0-0) vs. Dan Henderson (32-14-0-0)
Who'd thunk that we'd be getting a rematch of the iconic UFC 100 bout seven years after the fact ... and oh yeah, it would be for the motherfucking Middleweight Championship of the world, to boot? Indeed, plenty of strange things happened to bring Bisping and Hendo back together, but the common link here is UFC 199, where The Count knocked out Luke Rockhold to win the strap and Hendo flatlined Hector Lombard to "earn" one more crack at UFC gold before he calls it a career. At 46 years of age, Henderson - who has said numerous times that this is his final match, win, lose or tie - has the incredible opportunity to not only conclude his career with a win over his arch nemesis, but to go out as the oldest champion in UFC history. Of course, by that same token, Bisping is equally hell bent on avenging that devastating "Falcon Punch" loss from seven years ago, and for him, nothing would be sweeter than to send the man who has done more to shape his legacy than anybody else crashing to the mat via a poetic knockout blow of his own. Yeah, you don't need me to get you hyped for this one: no matter what happens in this one, this bout is going to be nothing less than fucking historic.
Henderson comes out to some country song. Sounds like Toby Keith, but really, every country singer not named Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard sounds the same. Bisping comes out to "Song 2" by Blur, and the crowd chants "Woo Hoo" along with the music. Ok, that is pretty awesome.
Bisping with the slight height and reach advantage, and - of course - he's nearly ten years younger than his 46-year-old competitor. High kick from Bisping. Henderson with a leg kick. Another Bisping high kick. Henderson lands a solid jab. Another leg kick from Dan. Henderson whiff s on a huge overhand. Dan staying low. Leg kick from Bisping. Bisping bleeding from his forehead. Hard overhand from Dan. Bisping lands on a kick to the midsection. Dan almost lands the H bomb. DAN DROPS HIM! Hard elbows from Henderson! Bisping back up! Bisping a bloody mess now! Definitely a 10-9 round for Henderson. Bisping is lucky to have survived to see round two.
Round two. Leg kicks from Bisping. He's not bleeding anymore, but he has a really swollen eye. High kick lands by Bisping. Bisping connects with a solid jab. Another high kick from Bisping. Bisping connects again on the jab. Henderson with his mouth open, breathing hard. Bisping lands another big jab. Henderson whiffs on an overhand. Another Bisping high kick. Bisping connects on a jumping knee. Bisping rocks him. Henderson back pedaling. AND HENDO ROCKS HIM WITH A RIGHT! Henderson on top of Bisping now. Hard elbows from the mount from Dan. I have to call that one a 10-10 tie.
Looks like the ref missed a groin shot on Henderson from Bisping. Round three begins. Solid jab from Hendo. High kick from Bisping. Bisping bleeding from the top of his skull. More Bisping leg kicks. Another Bisping jab. Leg kick from Bisping. Hendo keeping his distance. Hard body kick from Bisping. Henderson trips on a punch and gets right back up. Hard shot from Bisping. Henderson looking very gassed right now. And Henderson lands a right. Gotta give that round to Bisping. 29-29 heading into the fourth.
Round four. Bisping kicking high, Henderson kicking low. Henderson taps him with a right. Hendo with a leg kick. Another good overhand from Hendo. High kick connects for Bisping. More body kicks from Hendo. Timeout because Bisping kicked Henderson in the balls. The ref tells Bisping if he does it again he is deducting a point. Hendo clearly milking it for as much time as he can get, while Bisping taunts him from across the cage. Nice jab from Hendo, followed up by a body kick. Hendo definitely the aggressor in this round. Minute left. Hard knee from Hendo as the bell sounds. I've got it 39-38 for Hendo. Round five ought to decide the whole she-bang.
"This is the round of your life," Hendo's cornerman tells him as the final round begins. Bisping whiffs on a roundhouse. Hard knee from Hendo. Bisping misses another high kick. "Henderson starting to go hunting," Stann comments. Leg kick from Bisping. Bisping gets a few good jabs in. Hendo with a good knee to the body. Bisping whiffs on another roundhouse kick. Hendo whiffs on a huge uppercut. Two minutes left. Hendo with another right hand. Hendo takes Bisping down. Ninety seconds left. Both men back up. Minute left. Henderson shooting for another takedown, but he cannot get it. Thirty seconds left. Bisping with a big knee, but Hendo stays on top. Hendo goes for a flipping kick, and Bisping gets a few good shots on the ground at the bell. I've got it 49-47 for Hendo.
Two 48-47s and a 49-46 to give Michael Bisping the unanimous decision victory. He celebrates in the cage with his daddy and gives a shoutout to his Manchester amigos. He talks mad shit about literally everybody in the middleweight division (the best part was when he talked about Yoel Romero getting popped for steroids) and it is glorious.
Henderson makes it official - this is indeed his last fight. "I wish they judged the fight on how you look after the fight," he says after taking a glance at Bisping's gory puss. A hell of a fight, but I REALLY have some questions about that scoring.