UFC 93 Musings
BISPING GETS HIS PREFERENCE, HENDO WINS
In the weeks leading up to UFC 93, Michael Bisping did not hide the fact that he preferred to face Dan Henderson instead of Rich Franklin in his next fight. The Brit stated as much in more than one interview. His words weren’t meant as a slight to the former two-division PRIDE champion. He simply did not want to face a southpaw if he didn’t have to.
Henderson made sure he doesn’t have to by securing a split-decision victory over Franklin on Saturday night.
We will breakdown the Henderson-Bisping in detail in the days leading up to the bout. But the Cliff Notes don’t read well for the former TUF competitor. Henderson’s wrestling skills present a challenge that Bisping may not be able to conquer.
Bisping will, however, have plenty of time to prepare. The pair will spend the next couple of months serving as coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. Then, they will diligently train as the show is played for fans over a 12-week period.
Is that enough time for the former TUF winner to figure out a way to beat Henderson, who is quickly becoming a living legend in the sport? That remains to be seen, but it will certainly be fun watching TUF’s upcoming season to see if a genuine rivalry develops between the two.
SHOGUN JUMPS BACK INTO THE WINNER’S CIRCLE, LIDDELL IS NEXT
Hardcore fans are well versed in the legend of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. They are fully informed of the former Chute Boxe star’s accomplishments in PRIDE. They know that he was widely viewed as the best 205-lb fighter on the planet from 2005 until 2007. And they all thought he would thoroughly outclass Mark Coleman on Saturday night.
That obviously didn’t happen as the fight was much more competitive than most, including this writer, expected. Coleman showed tremendous spirit by fighting through a gas tank that hit empty late in the first round. The former heavyweight champion almost survived until the final bell, but a perfect right uppercut from Shogun brought the bout to an abrupt end with a mere 24 seconds remaining in the third round.
The win erased the bitter taste of defeat that lingered had lingered in Shogun’s mouth since that fateful February night in 2006 when Coleman defeated him by TKO after breaking Shogun’s arm with a takedown. The win also erased the bitter taste of defeat that lingered over the last 16 months thanks to a man named Forrest Griffin—the guy who beat Shogun in his UFC debut. More importantly, the win sets the stage for what will surely be one of the most anticipated matchups of the year: Shogun versus Liddell.
At the post-fight presser, UFC head honcho Dana White announced that Shogun will face Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell on April 18 in Montreal. That is a mouthwatering matchup that fans have been dreaming about for years.
DAVIS, LYTLE GIVE FANS A BARNBURNER, LET’S DO IT ONE MORE TIME
They aren’t ranked in anyone’s top five. They aren’t household names. And they certainly aren’t going to headline a UFC pay per view any time soon.
Nevertheless, former TUF contestants Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle gave fans in Dublin, Ireland one heck of a fight on Saturday night, standing and slugging it out for three thrilling rounds. The judges were split on the outcome, two siding with Davis, who fights under the moniker ‘The Irish Hand Grenade,’ while the other viewed ‘Lights Out’ Lytle as the winner. But at the end of the day, the fans were the big winners of that bout, which is all the more reason to have the pair lock horns again. A second bout may help erase any doubt about who is truly the better fighter. And it will also give fans MMA’s version of Gatti-Ward.
KAMPMANN DROPS WEIGHT BUT RAISES PROFILE
Martin Kampmann was a very talented middleweight contender. At welterweight, he is a potential title contender.
Kampmann validated his decision to drop to the 170-lb division by handing Alexandre Barros a thorough beating at UFC 93, stopping the Brazilian midway through the second round with strikes. The win, mixed with his 4-1 record as a UFC middleweight, raises the question of how good can Kampmann truly be as a welterweight. The future is impossible to predict, but Kampmann fighting his way into a top 10 ranking by the end of the year seems like a safe bet.