Bisping too much for Akiyama
Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos courtesy of Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
The sold-out O-2 Arena in London, England watched its favorite son nab the twentieth victory of his career as Michael “The Count” Bisping defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision Saturday night in the main event of UFC 120.
The fight began with Akiyama scoring with a stiff right hand despite the fact that Bisping is considered to be one of the fastest starters in the division. The British superstar momentarily stumbled, but he recovered quickly and assumed the center of the cage. The two fighters exchanged barbs with limited success and the striking stalemate was broken suddenly by a slamming takedown by Bisping. Akiyama, who was a standout in competitive judo before venturing into MMA, regained his footing quickly and looked to strike. As round one came to a close, Bisping’s trademark volume of striking, including a swift flying knee, was beginning to take its toll of the Japanese superstar.
In a calculated maneuver to start round two, Akiyama began to throw his overhand right repeatedly in effort to take advantage of Bisping’s penchant for moving straight back. Though the blow was largely off-target, the predictability of the strategy allowed Bisping to score with multiple shots including several straight rights and left uppercuts. The men would continue the trend of boxing until the closing seconds of the round where Akiyama dazed Bisping with a strong right hand.
The exchanges that typified the second round continued at a feverish pace in the third as Bisping teed off on Akiyama with hard shots including a headkick that wobbled the Japanese superstar. As the action intensified and anxiety ran high, the excitement was quickly stifled by a low kick to the groin that badly hurt Akiyama. After some recovery time the war continued. Both men wobbled his opponent at separate times, Akiyama courtesy of a left hook and Bisping from a left-right combination.
Ringside judges all scored the bout the same, 30-27, in favor of the Darling of the United Kingdom Michael “The Count” Bisping.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Condit KO’s “The Outlaw” in Devastating Fashion
In the co-feature of the night Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit lived up to his moniker by brutally KO’ing former title challenger Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy in the first round with a single left hook. The official time of the knockout was 4:27.
Though he was the only man in the cage to have officially held a significant title, there was no question that Carlos Condit was in an unfamiliar land. As he was boo’ed and jeered, Condit remained focused, and as 20,000 fans exploded at the introduction of his opponent he even managed to hold his head even higher. Condit could do nothing but accept it…he asked for this fight.
Condit and Hardy exchanged kicks early on and the American appeared to be lighter on his feet. With a look of patience and bad intention Hardy moved forward slowly and deliberately like a cobra waiting to strike. After ripping off a half-hearted kick, Hardy was hit sharply by two snapping punches.
He smiled in return.
With his now infamous red Mohawk lying flat, acting like a beacon for his endless pressure, Hardy unloaded with two snapping left hooks. As the more mobile man Condit began to land hard kicks to the body of his tattooed opponent and stifled the Britons’ attack. After another off-target hook by Hardy, Condit executed one of the most brutal and flush punches seen in recent UFC history.
As though it were choreographed Condit snapped the head of Hardy from side to side with one devastating hook that dropped “The Outlaw” instantly. Hardy’s disoriented and disabled body sunk to the canvas and Condit pursued him with a relentless fervor. Mercifully, the fight was stopped giving Carlos Condit the biggest win, and most impressive stoppage, of his hopeful career.
He gladly accepted the boos of London with a bright smile.
With a grin of his own Dan Hardy stated plainly and humorously in post-fight interviews what went wrong in the fight,
“I got punched in the face.”
Kongo and Browne Draw After Three
After three competitive rounds the 6’7 American brawler Travis Browne and veteran striker Cheick Kongo, who was penalized one point in round three, fought to a controversial draw.
Using his massive frame to press forward, Browne jumped recklessly at Kongo while winging looping punches. Kongo, the more experienced fighter, negotiated the sophomoric attack of his younger opponent and avoided danger well. In a brief moment of excitement Browne, after releasing a telegraphed overhand left hook, landed on the chin of Kongo and staggered the Frenchman backwards. Only stunned momentarily Kongo regained his composure and sought to take advantage of counterpunching opportunities but failed to land. As the round ended Kongo had the 6’7 Browne moving backwards.
Kongo appeared to have adjusted his strategy in round two as he spent most of the round driving Browne into the cage in an effort to control the giant American brawler. Following a low blow courtesy of a Kongo knee, action restarted with the Frenchman once again pressing his man into the cage. Kongo sought to damage Browne with short knees to the legs and Browne displayed a noticeable limp as a result.
The final round saw a role-reversal as Browne muscled Kongo into the fence and held him in place with his massive 6’7 frame. Following several warning from referee Marc Goddard, Kongo was penalized a costly point for grabbing the shorts of his opponent. Browne finished the round by scoring a takedown in the final seconds of the fight.
As the men continued their stalemate, Kongo would see an apparent victory slip through his fingers courtesy of a costly penalty as scores were announced as 28-28 on all three cards. The fight was declared a draw.
Pyle Too Legit to Quit, Stifles Hathaway
Longtime veteran Mike Pyle dominated up-and-comer John Hathaway over three rounds to win a unanimous decision.
Pyle scored first in the exciting lightweight bout by taking his younger opponent to the mat with authority. After an impressive scramble Hathaway regained his footing and the men began to trade punches. Though he was willing to exchange, it became apparent that Pyle would seek to include the takedown as a key pillar of his strategy. By feinting low for a takedown, Pyle was able to keep his the British fighter off balance and found openings for many stinging right hands. The veteran Pyle closed out the round with another strong takedown.
The fighters exchanged blows again in round two and the most telling punch of the round was once again Pyle’s well-timed overhand right. Over and over again Pyle, who trains daily with UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture, surprised Hathaway with veteran tactics such as short kicks and body punches. Though Hathaway was beginning to find a rhythm on the feet, Pyle used a brilliant Greco-roman takedown to slam him to the floor. On the mat, Pyle proved his mettle by locking Hathaway in a triangle from the top position and began raining down blows for nearly a minute until time expired.
The final round was all Pyle as the crafty veteran used his superior wrestling to control Hathaway and land hard, telling blows from the top position. All three judges’ scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Mike Pyle.
Undercard Results: Patrick Pulls the Upset, Sass and Broughton Win Big at Home
Claude Patrick pulled one of the surprising upsets of the night by defeating TUF 8 winner James Wilkes via unanimous decision. All three judges’ read the same, 30-27, giving Patrick the win in a dominating performance.
Light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson submitted slick striker Cyrille Diabate in the second round. After struggling to secure the fight ending choke on three separate occasions, Gustafsson locked in the hold for the finish at 2:41.
British heavyweight favorite Rob Broughton used superior size and strength to submit a debuting Vinicius Kappke de Quieroz with a rear naked choke after taking the Brazilian’s back at 1:46 of the third and final round.
Lightweight Briton Paul Sass wasted no time submitting the Canadian Mark Holst with a tight triangle choke at 4:45 of round one. Much to the delight of his fellow countrymen, Sass was able make adjustments to successfully when it appeared as though he had originally lost the hold.
Lightweight Spencer “The King” Fisher used a wealth of Octagon experience to outwork UFC newcomer Curt Warburton over three rounds to earn a judges’ decision. All three scorecards read the same, 29-28.
UFC newcomer Fabio Maldonado battled James McSweeney for two brutal rounds before stopping his exhausted opponent just :48 seconds into the third and final round with an flurry of punches.