• UFC 159

Bisping a cut above on weird night at UFC 159

ESPN staff
April 28, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Bisping talks to ESPN

Michael Bisping turned on a boxing clinic to see off long-time rival Alan Belcher, but victory came after an accidental eye poke ended the fight on a night of strange stoppages at UFC 159.

Ovince St Preux, Rustam Khabilov and Bisping all saw their bouts come to a premature end due to injuries, but the Brit was a deserving 30-27 30-27 29-28 winner after he proved himself to be of a different class to Belcher.

A tight opening round laid the foundation for Bisping to go to work in the second, landing his right hand over and over again. The pedestrian figure of Belcher offered little in reply, and came under increasing fire in the last.

Bisping appeared to be moving through the gears as the time ticked down, but then a stray thumb found the right eye of Belcher - who has had serious eye problems in the past - and the American was left bleeding out of the afflicted eye as Bisping got the decision.

"First off, apologies to Alan, it was a complete accident," Bisping said. "I've got nothing against Alan, he's a worthy opponent. I wanted to rebound in style, I hit him with lots of power shots but he's tough as hell."

Roy Nelson delivered a heavyweight knockout to truly press his title claims as he crumpled Cheick Kongo at 2.03 of Round 1. Nelson has now won his last three via KO or TKO and the stoppage of Kongo was emphatic. A big overhand right dropped the Frenchman to the mat, before a second right hand finished it without Nelson having to follow it up.

Phil Davis easily disposed of Vinny Magalhaes in the 205lb division, winning a forgettable unanimous decision 30-27 30-27 29-28. Magalhaes, who had exchanged barbs on Twitter, only threatened in the first round when he took Davis' back, but he largely acted as sparring practice for the more agile American.

The main card kicked off in style as Pat Healy's UFC debut ended with a rear naked choke victory over Jim Miller at 4.02 of round three. Miller started quickly, landings heavy in the stand-up and almost pounded Healy out as the klaxon sounded to rescue Bam Bam.

However, Healy's response was epic, implementing an aggressive Jon Fitch-style approach as he levelled up the bout with a dominant round two. He managed to get Miller to the mat again in the third, and once the choke was locked it was lights out as Miller refused to tap.

The lightweight meeting of Rustam Khabilov and Yancy Medeiros ended in disappointment as a broken thumb ended Medeiros' night early. Khabilov went for one of his trademark suplexes midway through round one but Medeiros kept his balance well, only to land badly on his right hand. Victory was awarded via TKO to Khabilov, who had - to his credit - caused the injury via a legitimate technique.

"There isn't much to say. Like I've said my business is to throw him down and it's his business how he lands," Khabilov said. "Honestly I walked out to the Octagon to put on a good show. You saw what happened out there. I'm upset with the way it ended."

Jim Miller refused to tap as he lost to Pat Healy © Getty Images
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There was controversy in the light-heavyweight division as Ovince St Preux took home a rare technical majority decision (30-28 30-29 29-29) over Gian Villante, after Villante yelled "I can't see" following an eye poke. Early in the third round of a sluggish bout, Villante panicked and shouted to the referee, who instantly called the fight off despite the fact Villante seemed to recover a matter of seconds later.

"I don't understand how you score 30 seconds of a round and that's how I lost?" Villante said. "We were just getting going and I got poked in the eye. I don't know what to say."

Elsewhere, the third ever women's bout in the UFC saw an impressive debut by Sara McMann, who utilised her powerful wrestling base to defeat Sheila Gaff via first-round TKO. McMann needed all of three seconds to ground her rival, and a further takedown led to her securing the mounted crucifix, where she rained down elbows and punches for the win.

UFC 159 results

Jon Jones def. Chael Sonnen via TKO at 4.33 of Round 1
Michael Bisping def. Alan Belcher via technical unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 29-28)
Roy Nelson def. Cheick Kongo via KO at 2.03 of Round 1
Phil Davis def. Vinny Magalhaes via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 29-28)
Pat Healy def. Jim Miller via rear naked choke at 4.02 of Round 3
Rustam Khabilov def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (injury) at 2.32 of Round 1
Ovince St. Preux def. Gian Villante via technical majority decision (30-28 30-28 29-29)
Sara McMann def. Sheila Gaff via TKO at 4.06 of Round 1
Bryan Caraway def. Johnny Bedford via guillotine choke at 4.44 of Round 3
Cody McKenzie def. Leonard Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28 30-27 30-27)
Steven Siler def. Kurt Holobaugh via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)
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