NEWARK, April 27 – A bizarre ending spoiled a quality performance by middleweight contender Michael Bisping in the UFC 159 co-main event at the Prudential Center Saturday night, but he’ll take the win, as he scored a three round technical decision over Alan Belcher in a bout halted prematurely due to an accidental foul.
The unanimous decision read 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Bisping, who ups his record to 25-5; Belcher falls to 17-7.
Kicks were the order of the day in the opening round, with Belcher throwing and landing more as Bisping stalked, unable to corner his foe long enough to get his offense in gear. With 1:50 left, Belcher reversed gears and landed a hard right that momentarily jarred the Brit, but Bisping shook off the effects of the blow and got back to chasing his opponent, but to no avail.
Bisping began to get closer in round two, as he started throwing punch combinations mixed in with his kicks while Belcher took his foot off the gas, perhaps too comfortable with the way things were going. As the round hit its closing stages, Belcher began to show a sense of urgency, but Bisping’s speed and accuracy were telling the tale, and “The Count” continued to push the pace throughout the third round as Belcher simply was not working effectively enough to discourage Bisping or get himself back into the fight.
Late in the round, Belcher took an inadvertent poke in the right eye (the same eye he had detached retina surgery on) and hit the canvas in pain. After a look by the Octagonside physician, the bout was stopped and sent to the scorecards, where Bisping was ruled the winner.
See Bisping -post-fight interview
NELSON vs. KONGO
Heavyweight contender Roy “Big Country” Nelson continued to impress, winning his third consecutive bout by knockout as he finished off Cheick Kongo in just over two minutes. In the process, he made his case for a future heavyweight title shot.
“I want that gold,” said Nelson. “UFC 160 (Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva), whoever wins that, I want.”
After a fight opening clinch that turned into a stalemate that required a restart from referee Kevin Mulhall, Nelson went on the attack, and with a single right hand put Kongo on the seat of his pants. Kongo attempted to rise, but another right put the Frenchman out, bringing a stop to the fight at the 2:03 mark.
Nelson improves to 20-7 with the win; Kongo falls to 28-8-2.
Hear what Nelson had to say after the win
DAVIS vs. MAGALHAES
After a long pre-fight war of words, light heavyweight contender Phil Davis put on a striking clinic against rival Vinny Magalhaes, winning a three round unanimous decision in the process.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Davis, now 11-1 with 1 NC; Magalhaes falls to 11-6 with 1 NC.
Showing his best display of standup yet, Davis dominated the first round, only going through a brief spell of danger when Magalhaes got him to the ground and looked to lock up his arm for a submission midway through the fame. But once Davis got back to his feet, he tagged Magalhaes repeatedly with 1-2s and hooks.
After continuing with the same strategy to start round two, Davis mixed things up with a quick takedown before getting back to his feet and resuming his striking attack. In the final minute, a bloodied Magalhaes shot for a desperation takedown but came up short, leaving him with a look of discouragement on his face as he went back to his corner at round’s end.
There was no change to the pattern of the previous two rounds in the final one, as Magalhaes had no answers for Davis’ striking and Davis saw no reason to change what was working so well for him as he coasted to victory.
Watch Davis' Octagon interview
HEALY vs. MILLER
Pat Healy’s long-awaited return to the Octagon after nearly seven years lived up to all his expectations, as he wore down and submitted longtime contender Jim Miller in the final round of an exciting lightweight scrap.
I’m here to stay,” said the Strikeforce veteran, who competed in the Octagon for the first time since a 2006 loss to Anthony Torres.
Miller’s standup attacks were on target as the bout commenced, with leg kicks knocking Healy off balance, punches to the face immediately causing bruises, and knees getting the Oregon veteran’s attention. Miller (22-5) opted for a takedown soon after, and despite two armbar attempts from Healy, the Whippany product was able to nullify Healy’s offense on the mat while implementing his own. With a little less than two minutes left, the two stood, with Healy now going on the attack in an attempt to even the score. A takedown by “Bam Bam” ensued, with Healy doing good work thanks to ground strikes and a subsequent slam. It was Miller with the last word in a wild round though, as he reversed position and fired off a series of hard punches that had Healy bloodied and in trouble at the bell.
Battered, but not done yet, Healy (32-15) went after Miller to start round two, tying up with him against the fence. Following some back and forth action, Healy got Miller to the mat and went to work on him. Miller looked for submissions from his back, but Healy wasn’t playing along, swarming his foe and eventually getting a rear naked choke. Miller escaped after a few seconds, reversing position and taking control as the two rose. Miller, looking for a guillotine choke, brought it right back to the mat, but as the round ended, both were standing and trading.
With the fight on the line, Miller and Healy both sought out what they felt they were doing best so far, Miller trying to strike and Healy looking for the takedown. Miller got off some hard shots at his opponent, yet it was Healy taking the fight to the mat and putting his hard hat back on as he used his punishing attack to keep the now bloodied Miller on the defensive. Moments later, Healy struck with a rear naked choke, putting Miller to sleep and forcing referee Herb Dean to halt the fight at 4:02 of the final round.
“I feel so good," said Healy. "You can’t break me down out there. I know I look a little beat up and my eye is swollen but I feel incredible. I’ve been working so hard for this return to the UFC. It’s been seven years since I’ve been here and I’ve gone through so much since I’ve been gone. The only thing that kept me going is my love for fighting."
Healy post-fight interview (and Bruce Buffer gaffe)
Big Country and Bisping Get Wins in Jersey - UFC 159 Main Card Results
Read on for UFC 159 main card results...