Michael Bisping became just the second man to beat Anderson Silva in the UFC Octagon Saturday, taking a wild fight with a series of twists in the best performance of his career at UFC Fight Night 83 in London.
The U.K.’s Bisping took the decision over Brazil’s Silva, winning 48-47 on all three scorecards.
Silva entered the bout with his typical strategy — get comfortable and establish range for a few minutes before turning it on. With about two minutes remaining in the first round, Silva backed Bisping against the fence, landing some substantial strikes. With just a few seconds remaining, both fighters got aggressive and landed some shots, with Silva stumbling in a slight daze before imploring Bisping to hit him again.
As the horn sounded, Silva attempted to hug Bisping, something the British fighter had none of, pushing Silva away.
In the second round, both fighters came out aggressive again, with Silva oozing cockiness and keeping his hands low. Throughout the round, Silva spent much of the round tempting Bisping, but in the final minute, Bisping landed a few big shots reminiscent of Chris Weidman’s first knockout of Silva, sending the Brazilian to the canvas with a left hook before pouncing and finishing the round on top.
The third round brought some more back-and-forth action with Bisping serving as the aggressor for much of the opening minutes. A more serious Silva was able to catch a Bisping kick and bring him to the canvas, but could not capitalize and Bisping returned to his feet.
In the final minute of the round, a Silva strike knocked out Bisping’s mouth guard. Silva correctly continued applying his attack, but Bisping did not continue to protect himself. In the closing seconds, Bisping began to complain to the official about the mouth guard, but Silva landed a massive flying knee at the horn, sending Bisping to the ground.
Silva jumped atop the cage, believing the fight to be over, but referee Herb Dean gave Bisping a chance to recover and deemed the fight should continue.
After some confusion, each fighters’ corner entered and Bisping was given some time to recover, but was clearly dazed as the fourth round began. Early in the fourth, however, a Silva groin shot paused the fight and gave Bisping more time to gather himself. Bisping used the time well and came out on a mission in the remainder of the round, keeping Silva against the fence and working combinations, but Silva returned fire throughout. A Bisping eye poke paused the fight again in the fourth, and Silva finished the round strong, but it was Bisping doing most of the damage.
Silva seemingly needed a finish to get the victory in a close fight and came out with a variety of strikes to open the final round. With just over three minutes left, Silva landed a huge front kick to Bisping’s face, stunning the Brit and knocking him to the fence. A few more fancy kicks did some more damage, but Bisping was able to recover. Silva was very creative with his striking, using elbows and knees throughout, but the finish wasn’t meant to be.
In the co-main event, Gegard Mousasi didn’t get to show off much of his explosive fighting style, but worked through a grueling win over Thales Leites by unanimous decision.