On Saturday afternoon, Michael "The Count" Bisping pulled off one of his most impressive performances to date by overcoming adversity against the heavy-hitting Brazilian, Thales Leites. From the opening bell Bisping imposed his usual movement-orientated onslaught against the more flat-footed Leites, but after eating a series of heavy leg kicks, The Count's movement began to labour. As the rounds went by, Bisping's movement waned, the result of a nasty toe injury. Bisping's veteran savvy carried the Brit through some rough patches throughout the fight, before his superior striking kicked in to win him the split-decision victory.
With a back-and-forth main event and an exciting main card, Scottish fight fans were treated to the perfect debut event.
Official Result: Michael Bisping def. Thales Leites via split decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48).
What was the high point of the fight?
This fight was pretty fun. Leites showed a much improved version of himself, his striking was on point and he was far less tentative than earlier iterations of himself have been. This fight however was won by Bisping purely because of his volume-filled offense. While both fighters had impressive moments, I think Bisping's ability to stick and move was the overwhelming high point and when his toe injury is taken into consideration, his movement is even more impressive.
Where do these two go from here?
Michael Bisping's legacy has already been written. Bisping, the Clitheroe native, has made a name for himself as a polarizing-durable fight finisher, but he has lost some speed as of late and in general his talents seem to be at the beginning of the inevitable decline that all fighters one day suffer. While Bisping has spoken of title aspirations a fight with the greatest of all time, Anderson Silva makes a lot more sense. Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping have spoken on numerous occasions about their desire to fight each other and a fight between them could make a perfect main event for UFC's return to London in early 2016.
The bad news for Leites is that he lost last night, but the good news is he looked pretty good in doing so. Leites' cardio lasted him 5 rounds and he has very strong moments against Bisping, however, he truely missed an opportunity to win more rounds by neglecting to use his elite-level grappling acumen. Leites' future seems bright to me. I feel Leites can put together some wins over top 15 ranked fighters within the UFC.
Watch now, later, or never?
Later. This fight was fun but not amazingly exciting.