Michael Bisping showed that there’s more to his game than just striking tonight at UFC 152 as he mixed in some wrestling against Brian Stann to pave the way for a unanimous decision victory.
Stann attempted to clinch Bisping up against the cage in the opening round, but the Brit was quickly able to reverse the position, though he didn’t pursue the position for long and they reset in the middle of the Octagon.
Bisping started to work his jab and found a home for it a couple of times before interestingly he swooped in for a takedown attempt. Stann kept his balance well though and defended a further attempt too.
An illegal blow to the groin from each man in relatively quick succession broke up the action a bit in the midde of the round, with Bisping jokingly shouting, “one-each” afterwards as they went back to work.
The striking exchanges started to heat up towards the end of the round. Up against the cage Bisping landed a hard elbow strike to the face, but then he got a little reckless slugging it out with his heavier-hitting opponent and Stann blasted him with a straight right that staggered ‘The Count’ and forced him to back-pedal quickly until the bell sounded.
Not keen to get a second helping of that power, Bisping again attempted a takedown early in the second round, and this time he was successful in dumping Stann to the mat.
It appeared to be a good position for Bisping, but he didn’t quite secure it well enough and Stann was able to shove him off and get on top himself.
Stann looked to land some ground and pound, but Bisping didn’t take much in the way of damage and managed to get out from under him and back to the feet they went.
Bisping was starting to get a little looser with his striking now and was able to snap Stann’s head back with a couple of stiff jabs, though Stann’s power punches were still a constant threat.
Before the end of the round Bisping barreled forward with another takedown attempt, again rebounding off the cage and using the momentum to dump Stann down, a smart strategy from a scoring perspective despite not doing much in the way of damage from the position.
Onto the third round then, and Bisping wisely returned to the success he had with takedowns in the previous five minute spell, and again put Stann on his back.
This time Stann was quickly able to get back to his feet though. Stann could use another big strike like the one he scored in the opening round, but he was having difficulty finding his opponent with any frequency, while Bisping was finding a home for his and ‘The All-American’s’ face had the cuts to prove it.
Before the end of the round Bisping was able to secure another brief takedown, while Stann bit down on his gumshield and fired off a series of blows in the final 10 seconds of the fight, but couldn’t land the killer blow that would have prevented the fight from going to the judges.
So it’s down to the scorecards and Bisping’s got his hand raised, earning a unanimous decision win (29-28 x3).
Bisping did well to turn the fight in his favor after the scare of being rocked by Stann in the first round. It perhaps wasn’t his best striking display – not piecing his combinations together quite as well as he usually would – but he was able to showcase an underappreciated wrestling ability to make life easier on him and catch the judges eyes.