LONDON ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Michael Bisping of Great Britain celebrates victory against Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan during their UFC middleweight bout at the O2 Arena on October 16 2010 in London England. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
UFC 152 just got a lot more interesting. Yesterday, it was announced that B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald would be the feature bout for the Toronto event. The announcement was met with a fair amount of backlash as many didn't think the fight held enough relevancy to warrant main event status. However, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting broke the news that the fight wouldn't even be the co-main event, and the UFC quickly confirmed their plans on UFC.com. Penn/Rory will now be third on the card behind a flyweight title fight and a big middleweight fight:
The first-ever UFC flyweight world title fight goes down on September 22nd at UFC 152 in Toronto. The four man tournament, which began in March, will culminate with Joseph Benavidez taking on Demetrious Johnson in what is sure to be a memorable bout between two gifted fighters on a historic night.
Additionally, the co-main event has been verbally agreed to as top-ten middleweights "All-American" Brian Stann and brash Brit Michael "The Count" Bisping battle it out on Canadian soil to move closer to a title shot.
Benavidez claimed his spot in the flyweight tournament finals with a TKO victory early in the second round of his fight with Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC On FX 2. That same night Johnson faced off against Ian McCall in an incredible bout that officially hit the rule books as a draw. However, a huge blunder by the officials handling the scorecards robbed the two of their well earned sudden victory round. Johnson and McCall rematched at UFC On FX 3, with Johnson taking the unanimous decision.
The co-main is a key match for the top of the Middleweight division. Coming off a closely-fought and somewhat controversial decision loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC On Fox 2, many think Bisping is only one fight away from a title shot against champion Anderson Silva. Brian Stann recovered from his own loss to Sonnen at UFC 136 with a quick knockout of Alessio Sakara. The UFC has been heavily pushing Stann's military history at every chance and there is no doubt they'd love to do it even more in the lead up to a title fight.