Michael Bisping took one step closer to earning a middleweight title shot after he beat Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) at UFC Fight Night 84 in London on Saturday.
Bisping was on a two-fight winning streak heading into the fight, while Silva was making his comeback after serving a one-year suspension for testing positive for banned substances during his fight against Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in January last year.
Bisping took an aggressive approach right off the bat as he tried to catch Silva with a number of head kicks. However, after Silva landed a shot on Bisping, the 36-year-old fired back and hit the former middleweight champion with a couple of solid punches.
In the second round, Bisping maintained his attacking approach and it nearly paid off as he dropped Silva with a wicked punch before trying to finish off the Brazilian. However, even though Bisping landed a number of follow-up shots, the referee let the fight continue.
Silva launched his counter-attack in the third round as he caught Bisping with a body kick early on before connecting with a big punch that knocked out Bisping’s mouth guard. While Bisping was complaining to the referee, Silva sent the Englishman to the ground with a flying knee. Silva began to celebrate as he thought the fight was over, but the referee had to tell the Brazilian numerous times that it wasn’t.
Having received a huge confidence boost in the third round, Silva continued to attack Bisping and caught him with a couple of elbows prior to the end of the fourth round.
Heading into the fifth and final round, Bisping landed a well-timed jab that stunned Silva, but the 36-year-old struggled to stay on his feet as Silva unleashed a barrage of moves against him, including a sweetly-timed front kick. With time winding down, Bisping managed to hit Silva a few more times and the former champion responded with a few leg kicks just before the end of the fight.
Following a back and forth fight that saw both men knocked down, Bisping was declared the winner, while Silva was in disbelief.
Michael Bisping def. Anderson Silva via unanimous decision
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Tom Breese def. Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision
Brad Pickett def. Francisco Rivera via split decision
Makwan Amirkhani def. Mike Wilkinson via unanimous decision
Davey Grant def. Marlon Vera via unanimous decision
Scott Askham def. Chris Dempsey via KO (head kick)
Arnold Allen def. Yaotzin Meza via unanimous decision
Krzysztof Jotko def. Bradley Scott via unanimous decision
Rustam Khabilov def. Norman Parke via unanimous decision
Daniel Omielanczuk def. Jarjis Danho via majority decision
Teemu Packalen def. Thibault Gouti via submission (rear naked choke)
David Teymur def. Martin Svensson via TKO (punches)