After months of exchanging verbal jabs in the media, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy finally got the opportunity to put their hands on each other in the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” on Wednesday night.
With so much animosity heading in to the fight, it was going to be interesting to see how each man would handle themselves when the cage door closed and they were forced to do the rest of their talking with their fists.
Round 1: Kennedy immediately dropped down for the single, but Bisping was showing off his solid takedown defense. Kennedy was able to switch to a double and land the takedown, before getting Bisping flat on his back. Bisping was working hard to get back to his feet, while Kennedy looked content to grind away from the dominant position. Bisping eventually got back to his feet, but Kennedy was relentless and hanging on close with the body lock. Kennedy got the fight back down to the ground after Bisping failed to counter with a kimura, but Bisping was able to keep Kennedy in half guard. Kennedy slipped into the full mount but Bisping gave up his back and Kennedy looked for the rear-naked choke. Bisping did a good job of fighting the wrists of Kennedy and fought back to half guard. Kennedy landed a few good elbows as the round expired.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Kennedy
Round 2: Bisping was more cautious on his feet in the second round in hopes of avoiding another takedown, but Kennedy was able to land some solid counters that busted Bisping’s nose open. Bisping was starting to find his rhythm in the striking game, but Kenendy appeared to just be baiting the Englishman in hopes of landing a takedown. Kennedy was relentless with a takedown attempt after eating a few shots, but Bisping was able to fight it off and circle back to the center of the cage. Bisping threw a flying knee with Kennedy up against the cage, but Kennedy was able to block the effort. Kennedy continued to back up against the cage and allow Bisping to open up his attack with Bisping pressing the action and earning a clear edge in octagon control.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Bisping (19-19 after two)
Round 3: It was odd to see Kennedy look so tired after just two rounds, but Bisping clearly had more pep in his step to start the third-round. Kennedy had a nice change in levels that opened up the takedown attempt, where he once again began to work from inside of Bisping’s half guard. Kennedy stayed tight up against Bping and was allowing no breathing room, as he worked his way over to side control. Bisping quickly recovered half guard, but he ate a few shots for his efforts. Kennedy started to work the body, but that didn’t stop Bisping from actively working to recover his guard and get back to his feet. Unfortunately for Bisping, Kennedy was able to easily step over and get into the mount, but Bisping used the cage to scramble out to side control where Kennedy held position until the end of the round.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Kennedy (29-28, Kennedy after three)
Round 4: Kennedy was throwing some wild punches to start off the fourth, before going back to his wrestling and dropping for another takedown attempt. Bisping was able to escape Kennedy’s latest attempt. Kennedy again began to back up against the cage with Bisping stalking and working his jab. Kennedy was breathing heavy while Bisping was still bouncing around the cage and showing some nice footwork until Kennedy shot in with another attempt to get the fight to the mat. Bisping fought off Kennedy again and tried to push forward, but ate a huge right from Kennedy. Bisping looked wobbly after the punch but Kennedy was unable to take advantage. It was a back-and-forth round with each fighter getting in their shots and bloodying up their opponents heading in to the final frame. With the volume from Bisping and his takedown defense, he gets a narrow edge in a round that could have gone either way.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Bisping (38-38 after four)
Round 5: Kennedy landed a takedown a minute in to the final frame, and he was once again able to pass into the mount. Bisping recovered half guard, and the fight was stood up after very little action from Kennedy. Bisping shook off another takedown attempt after getting back to his feet and he began to open up his striking in an effort to get the round back in his favor. Bisping was struggling to find his range, but he continued to throw at a higher volume looking to turn the tide in the final minute. Bisping landed a few good shots in the final exchanges, but it wasn’t enough to steal the round back.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Kennedy (48-47, Kennedy)
RESULT: Tim Kennedy def. Michael Bisping via unamious decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45)
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