Wanderlei Silva made a successful debut at 185lbs last night with a unanimous decision win over Michael Bisping, in a solid, though not spectacular performance.
It was a close fight throughout, with Silva showing a more measured and disciplined performance than we have grown accustomed to seeing. It was a somewhat curious strategy though, since the few times when Silva unleashed his naturally aggressive, brawling style in the closing stages of each round, he appeared to have Bisping in trouble.
During these exchanges Bisping’s composure appeared to desert him, causing him to retreat straight backwards rather than correctly utilizing his footwork to circle away from danger.
This proved particularly costly in the dying moments of the third round when a right hook from Silva dropped the UK fighter. He managed to regain his senses however and survived until the final bell.
Moments like that aside, Bisping had generally given as much as he had taken in the stand-up exchanges, while scoring some solid take-downs. He failed to capitalize fully on those situations though, with Silva doing well to quickly get the fight back to the feet.
Bisping has now been either knocked down or knocked out during each of his last three fights which must be a major cause for concern for the fighter, who’s record now stands at 18-3.
Despite that in the post-fight press conference he stated his desire to fight again as soon as possible in the hope of getting back to winning ways, and he also expressed a desire for a rematch with Silva in the future.
Meanwhile Silva appeared emotional both immediately after the fight, and backstage, no doubt relieved at having earned a much needed victory, taking him to 2-4 during his second spell in the UFC.
Dana White later suggested that Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama is likely to be his next opponent.