Bisping Crowned Britain’s First UFC Champion

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By Niall Clarke

  • Michael Bisping defeats Luke Rock by knockout in the first round to win the UFC Middleweight title
  • He is Britain’s first UFC Champion
  • Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber by unanimous decision to retain the UFC Bantamweight title

LOS ANGELES, USA – Michael Bisping is Britain’s first UFC Champion after a stunning first round knockout of Luke Rockhold to claim the UFC Middleweight title.

The Brit waited over a decade for a shot at a UFC title, and when Chris Weidman pulled out of the UFC 199 rematch with Rockhold (15-3), Bisping (30-7) jumped at the opportunity to fight for UFC gold. It had been his dream and his goal to be the best, and now he can officially say he is.

The Manchester born fighter, who accepted the fight on two weeks notice, went to work with his usual pre-fight trash talk to get into the head of his opponent and build up the biggest fight of his career.

When it came to fight time, it did not take long for the 37-year-old to find his target. Midway through the first round, Bisping caught Rockhold with a left that stunned the champion. Rockhold got back up but the Brit knocked him out with another left hand that sent Rockhold to the canvas. Bisping pounced and landed more punches to finish the fight with 1:24 left of the opening round.

It was another stunning victory for Bisping who has amassed a very respectable record over the course of his career. He was always the nearly man, a fighter that couldn’t quite get over the line for a title shot in big fights. That changed with his victory over former champion Anderson Silva in London earlier in the year, and now he stepped up to the mark to realise his dream.

“This was my dream. Nobody was taking this away from me,” Bisping said via BBC Sport. “Two weeks? Two days, two hours, two minutes. I’ll fight anybody on a moment’s notice.”

Rockhold had previously defeated Bisping by submission in 2014, but this time the Brit made no mistake to extract his revenge on the American.

“Some say revenge is sweet. I disagree,” added the Brit. “It’s better than sweet. I really, really have felt the support from the UK, it’s part of the reason why I’m here right now.”

This is not just a big result for Bisping, but also for British Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The Isles have longed for a UFC Champion to potentially propel the sport into the mainstream. Dan Hardy failed in his attempt to claim the Welterweight crown many years a go, but now Britain can say they have a UFC Champion.

Whilst the rise of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey has opened many people to the sport, a British champion will go a long way to further improving the popularity of MMA in the UK. This may open doors for the sport to be broadcasted on Freeview television and may also lead to more events in the UK.

Cruz wins rubber bout against Faber, retains Bantamweight title.

In the co main event, Dominick Cruz successfully defended his UFC Bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Urijah Faber.

In the third meeting between the bitter rivals, Cruz (22-1) used his movement, speed and accuracy to largely dominate the fight to claim the decision victory.  The champion, who regained the title earlier in the year after four years of injury set backs, said he was not surprised by the result.

“Nothing surprising,” Cruz said about the win via Yahoo Sports. “I’m just glad I’m here. It feels so good to be able to compete again. I thought I lost this at one point.”

The victory was made even sweeter by the fact he claimed bragging rights in his long time feud with bitter rival Faber (33-9). Their beef began in 2007 where Faber inflicted Cruz’s only defeat with a submission victory in the now defunct WEC organisation. They re-matched in 2011 for the Bantamweight title in a closely contested fight in which Cruz was the victor. The champion repeated that success at UFC 199.

MMA legend Dan Henderson scored a stunning knock over Hector Lombard in one of the featured under-card fights. In a frantic fight in which the Cuban almost knocked the American out in the opening round, the 45 year old Henderson caught Lombard with a head kick followed by an elbow that knocked him out cold.

It was a big victory for the former PRIDE FC and Strikeforce Champion in front of his home fans and his family who were at cage-side together for the first time.

Max Holloway continued his climb to the top of the Featherweight division with a clear unanimous decision win over Ricardo Lamas for his ninth straight victory. The main card action started with Dustin Poirier’s knockout of Bobby Green in the Lightweight division.

It was also announced that Brock Lesnar will return to the UFC for one fight only in the co-main event of UFC 200.

The former Heavyweight Champion and WWE star has not competed in the octagon since his 2011 loss to Alistair Overeem and his opponent is yet to be announced.

Lesnar amassed a 5-3 record in his MMA career before retiring due to health difficulties and returning to the WWE in 2012.

“Brock Lesnar remains under contract to WWE, however, he has been granted a one-off opportunity to compete at UFC 200,” a WWE statement read.

“Following this milestone event on, Brock will return to WWE for SummerSlam on Sunday, August 21.”

UFC 199 full results:

Main card

Michael Bisping def. Luke Rockhold via first-round KO (3:36)

Dominick Cruz def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision

Max Holloway def. Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision

Dan Henderson def. Hector Lombard via second-round KO (1:27)

Dustin Poirier vs. Bobby Green via first-round KO (2:53)


Brian Ortega def. Clay Guida via third-round KO (4:40)

Beneil Dariush def. James Vick via first-round KO (4:16)

Jessica Andrade def. Jessica Penne via second-round TKO (2:56)

Alex Caceres def. Cole Miller via unanimous decision

Sean Strickland def. Tom Breese via split decision

Luiz Henrique da Silva def. Jonathan Wilson via second-round TKO (4:11)

Kevin Casey vs. Elvis Mutapcic declared a split draw

Polo Reyes def. Dong Hyun Kim via third-round KO (1:52)