Count me in as one of the many who wished MMA legend Dan Henderson would have ended his career with a win and the middleweight title belt against Michael Bisping last Saturday night at UFC 204. But let’s be honest, how can anyone be too surprised by the result of the judges in Bisping’s hometown of Manchester, England? ESPN’s Brett Okamoto wrote a piece on Monday asking if Hendo was robbed of a decision victory versus Bisping and brought up some valid points. However, he was not in my opinion. The first round of the fight was by far the biggest and most influential in terms of determining who you thought won. Score a 10-8 round for Hendo with a near-knockout again, and he definitely makes a great case for pulling off the upset. Score it 10-9, like each of the three judges did, and it’s a lot more clear-cut in favor of the champ. We all know how it turned out and should just be happy we saw such an awesome effort by Hendo on Bisping’s turf in his final bout before riding off into retirement. I felt this decision mirrored Conor McGregor’s rematch win over Nate Diaz in many ways outside of the first couple rounds. That result was surprising to many as well, but there was no way McGregor was losing a decision to Diaz. In this case, Bisping was more active throughout and simply scored more points to win. He was not “The Count” of old and made patience a top priority to take advantage of Hendo’s stamina at key points during the bout. Don’t get me wrong, Hendo fought amazing for a 46-year-old. The bottom line is this, Bisping has never lost in England, improving to 18-0 after defending his title for the first time. He probably will not do it a second time considering the amount of talent at 185 pounds, from Gegard Mousasi to the Luke Rockhold-Jacare Souza winner at UFC Fight Night 101 on Nov. 27. You know Rockhold was watching Bisping fight Hendo and wondering how he lost the belt to him at UFC 199 on June 4. I was wondering the same thing and thought this rematch was a lock to go UNDER 2.5 rounds one way or the other. Instead, we were treated to another instant classic from Hendo, one Bisping was not going to lose as long as he survived in the end. Ultimately, that’s exactly what happened.
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