If there’s anything positive for Alan Belcher to take away from his loss to Michael Bisping in the co-main event of last night’s UFC 159, it’s that he was right about Bisping being unable to knock him out. Bisping had plenty of opportunities to do so throughout the fight, yet Belcher was too resilient of an opponent. Unfortunately, that’s right about where the positive notes end. Bisping not only outstruck Belcher by a considerable margin throughout their fight, but also avoided all of Belcher’s takedowns. Simply put, Belcher didn’t have any answers for Bisping’s jab-n-jog offense.
And then there was the eye poke that ended up stopping the fight, awarding Michael Bisping the technical decision victory. It was a disappointing way to end an otherwise decent scrap – especially considering Belcher’s previous troubles with that eye. Fortunately, Belcher has since tweeted that he is doing okay.
Perhaps the strangest thing about the eye poke is that this fight wasn’t the only bout on the card to end in technical decision due to an eye poke. Earlier in the evening, the light heavyweight bout between Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante also ended when St. Preux inadvertently poked Villante in the eye. St. Preaux walked away with a technical majority decision victory. Kind of makes a case for changing the design of MMA gloves.
Elsewhere on the card…
- Roy Nelson picked up his third straight first round knockout last night – as well as the $65,000 Knockout of the Night honors – by dropping Cheick Kongo with a huge overhand right just two minutes into the fight. While the end result isn’t particularly surprising, it is a bit odd to hear Dana White say that Nelson earned a fight against either Mark Hunt or Daniel Cormier for his next outing. Not only are both fighters gigantic steps up in competition from Kongo, but also Roy Nelson is a step backwards for each of them. Strange times.
- For all that we heard about the improved striking of Vinny Magalhaes, he certainly didn’t let it show last night. He looked lost on his feet against Phil Davis – who isn’t exactly a world-class striker himself – even though Davis threw the same combination for pretty much the entire fight. “Mr Wonderful” was able to avoid Vinny’s leg kicks for most of the fight and utilize his superior reach on his way to a unanimous decision victory. While his striking appears to have improved, the lack of aggression that Davis displayed after hurting Magalhaes with an attempted head kick early in the first round seems to suggest that he isn’t quite ready for the deep end of the division just yet.
- Don’t let his unimposing MMA record fool you: Pat Healy is tough draw for anyone right now, and he proved it last night by taking out the always game Jim Miller. Healy survived an early onslaught from Miller that saw his right eye swell up. He went on to control the second and third rounds before locking up the fight ending rear-naked choke. If anyone is still questioning the legitimacy of the Strikeforce lightweights, you can kindly stop doing so now.
- Not only did both Jim Miller and Pat Healy take home $65,000 for Fight of the Night, but Pat Healy also took home the $65,000 Submission of the Night honors. Taking home $130,000 in bonus money alone for a victory is about as successful of a return to the big leagues as one can possibly hope to make.
- Leonard Garcia lost to Cody McKenzie, making it five straight losses in a row in the UFC. He now joins Steve Cantwell as the only two fighters to lose five consecutive fights that have all been in the UFC (in other words, five straight fights, five straight losses, no time in the minor leagues between any of them). His future is officially “not looking good.”
- One last note, Sheila Gaff immediately answered our questions as to whether or not she can stop Sara McMann’s takedowns by running directly into one. I can’t remember the last time I saw a fight end up on the ground that quickly, but at least McMann wasn’t content to just coast to an easy victory. McMann earned a first round TKO in the third WMMA fight in UFC history.
Jon Jones def. Chael Sonnen via TKO, 4:33 of Round One
Michael Bisping def. Alan Belcher via Technical Decision (unanimous), 4:29 of Round Three
Roy Nelson def. Cheick Kongo via KO, 2:03 of Round One
Phil Davis def. Vinny Magalhaes via Unanimous Decision
Pat Healy def. Jim Miller via Submission (rear naked choke), 4:03 of Round Three
Rustam Khabilov def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (injury), 2:32 of Round One
Ovince St. Preux def. Gian Villante via Technical Decision (majority) 0:33 of Round Three
Sara McMann def. Sheila Gaff via TKO (punches), 4:06 of Round One
Bryan Caraway def. Johnny Bedford via Submission (guillotine choke), 4:44 of Round Three
Cody McKenzie def. Leonard Garcia via Unanimous Decision
Steven Siler def. Kurt Holobaugh via Unanimous Decision