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UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 post-fight results and analysis

Mookie Alexander recaps and analyzes all of the action from tonight's UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 fight card in Inglewood, California, including Michael Bisping's remarkable UFC title victory against Luke Rockhold.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bisping is the UFC middleweight champion. Repeat that to yourself because it is not fantasy any longer, it is 100% reality. Not 80%, or 8 out of 12 times, it's 100% real. Bisping had lost to Tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold in 2014, was just about KO'd by Anderson Silva a few months ago, and here he is tonight having just knocked out Rockhold in a short-notice rematch to win the title. WHAT a storybook finish. The man who has been frequently the subject of brutal losses on his way towards the top ended up making it to the pinnacle of the UFC middleweight division in 2016. He's the first Englishman to win UFC gold, which is one of the many storylines out of tonight's result. And he did that with the first clean KO (not TKO) of his UFC career. This is why we love this sport. I've written 1200+ words in this post and it's a wonder I'm making any decent sense at all.

After all of the heartache and sense that it wouldn't be his time, Bisping made one final run of it, and he got the chance to "knock that smug look" off of Rockhold's face. And how. What a phenomenal win and a big upset. I don't think many people who even picked Bisping saw Bisping getting a 1st round KO, but that's what he managed.

More thoughts on tonight's card, which was absolutely superb:

PPV main card

  • UFC champions in 2016: Robbie Lawler and Michael Bisping. Let that sink in.
  • That's a devastating loss for Rockhold. No two ways about it. He got straight up KO'd by a guy he guillotined not even 2 years ago after toying with him in the 2nd round. I would assume that he'll be back and still at the top of the division, but this one has to sting. And if Cormier doesn't watch out, AKA will have lost all of their UFC titles in a year.
  • Dominick Cruz did his Dominick Cruz thing, which is to not get hit very often, use his footwork well, and frustrate the hell out of his opponent. Urijah Faber had nothing for Cruz after round 1, and Cruz nearly finished Faber in rounds 2 and 4. It's very possible, based on the post-fight interview, that tonight was Faber's final fight, and what a bitter pill to swallow in an otherwise fantastic career. Cruz just owned him, and he owns the 135 lbs division again.
  • Whether he fights the Aldo vs. Edgar winner or the Aldo/Edgar vs. Conor McGregor winner, Max Holloway better get the next featherweight title shot. Another fine showing by the 24-year-old against a tough opponent in Ricardo Lamas. Nine wins in a row is enough. He's beaten multiple contenders. Give him his title shot.
  • Dan Henderson sensationally KO'd Hector Lombard without using the H-Bomb. Instead, he went with the head kick + back elbow + murder elbows combination to get the win. He had Lombard hurt in round 1, then was nearly KO'd, then KO'd Lombard. I don't know what to say. If that's the last time we ever see him in the UFC, what a way to go out.
  • Bobby Green clowned around and thought Dustin Poirier couldn't hurt him. Oops. Dustin Poirier hurt him a lot and then knocked him out. Time for another step up in competition for Poirier, because he's looked nothing short of spectacular at 155 lbs. He was patient, poised, and downright surgical in his 3 minutes of work tonight.
  • Of the several Muhammad Ali tributes tonight, I thought the Dana White-narrated one of Ali's life -- not just for Ali's in-ring accomplishments, but his place in American and world history as a civil rights activist, humanitarian, and polarizing icon -- was well done. May you rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.
  • The UFC announced Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 for UFC 202, as well as Brock Lesnar vs. pesky TBD as the UFC 200 co-main. There's a real chance BROCK LESNAR fights in the UFC in 2016 and Ronda Rousey does not. Next thing you'll tell me is Michael Bisping will knock Luke Rockhold out in the 1st round.

FS1 preliminary card

  • We know that 5th round Lawler is a beast, but I present to you 3rd round Brian Ortega. He was possibly going to lose a kickboxing match to Clay Guida on the scorecards 29-28, but he drilled Guida with a vicious knee and got himself his 3rd straight 3rd round stoppage win. Another last-ditch finish by "T-City" and only the 2nd knockout loss of Guida's career. The judges had it 19-19 (x2) and 20-18 Guida, so it was going to be a nailbiter had Ortega not gotten the stoppage.
  • Beneil Dariush wanted redemption after the loss to Michael Chiesa, and he gave James Vick a healthy dose of fists to the face. After two early eye pokes -- Vick has made a habit of this -- Dariush just smashed Vick with hard left hands, with the final one knocking the tough-as-nails Vick out cold. Dariush is still a top 10 fighter and that was a great performance on short notice.
  • Jessica Penne has now been bludgeoned twice in as many UFC fights to the point where she was stopped standing. Joanna Jedrzejczyk did it last June, and now Jessica Andrade did it tonight. Andrade looked great in her 115 lbs debut. MMA corners remain terrible, as Penne really shouldn't have been out there in round 2. You can also throw in the towel, per CSAC rules. But you know, "anything can happen in MMA," including more punishment.
  • Alex Caceres turned in a terrific first two rounds against Cole Miller, striking from all angles and hurting "Magrinho" with hard punches and kicks, as well as tossing Miller around like a ragdoll. Then the final 3 minutes of round 3 happened, and Miller nearly submitted Caceres with an armbar and went aggressively for a choke in the closing seconds. It's still a great win for Caceres, and his striking was the best it's ever looked, but those final few minutes also exemplify the frustrations of watching Caceres fight.

Fight Pass preliminary card

  • Sean Strickland beat out fellow prospect Tom Breese by split decision in a largely forgettable fight. Not really much to talk about other than Strickland continuing to chug along and pick up the wins at 170 lbs.
  • Luiz Henrique da Silva stopped Jonathan Wilson with punches from mount, but not before nearly getting knocked out just moments earlier. Wilson, however, just got soundly outgrappled by Luiz and got swept and insta-mounted. I'm a fan of Henrique's body work, which took apart the Xplode product throughout round 1.
  • Kevin Casey, fighting one day after the loss of his father-in-law Muhammad Ali, fought to a split draw vs. Elvis Mutapcic. Casey was totally spent in round 3 and was on the wrong end of a 10-8 as a result. I'm honestly fine with the call, as round 2 wasn't clearly Casey's and Kevin had close to zero offense in round 3. Casey has now managed 2 no-contests and a draw in the UFC. This. Is. Middleweight.
  • Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim ("Maestro", not "Stun Gun") showed total disregard for defense, making for a stupidly entertaining fight that inexplicably went to a 3rd round. Reyes sealed the deal with a pair of right hands to get the KO, but what an insane battle to kick off the card.