Michael Bisping believes Luana Pinheiro was legitimately hurt after being hit with an illegal upkick during her fight against Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 26, and to suggest otherwise is unfair to her.
During an exchange on the ground towards the end of the first round, Markos caught Pinheiro with an upkick to the face. The reaction of the Brazilian was to fall back to the canvas in obvious pain, but many — including UFC color commentator Paul Felder and Markos — questioned its authenticity considering how delayed it was.
The main point of contention here is how Pinheiro threw her arms back when falling back to the canvas. It was said to be quite strange and almost like a ploy to secure a win, but Bisping quelled this accusation on a recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast.
“Listen, a lot of people are suggesting that she was acting and I think that it is a little unfair, to be honest,” said Bisping. “I spoke to some people and they thought she was hurt and some people said she was laying it on thick. I guess the only thing is…if you look when she gets hit in the face and I feel like this is why some people are saying maybe she was acting — and by the way I’m not saying that. I think she took an upkick to the face in a fight she was clearly dominating and she was on the path to victory before the [disqualification] but look at the hands.
“The hands come back to catch herself,” Bisping continued. “Watch as she hits the floor, she doesn’t catch herself but the hands go back. People are saying, ‘Well hold on, if you’re knocked out, your hands wouldn’t go back to catch yourself’ — which is correct.”
Bisping also addressed the unfounded idea of Pinheiro wanting to take a disqualification win despite her already doing well enough to win cleanly.
“The thing is she was winning the fight,” said Bisping. “She was dominating the fight. However, she was struck with an illegal blow that clearly hit her hard enough to knock her back reeling. Faking or not, that was initiated by the kick to the face that ejected her body back to the canvas. It was a hard shot is what I’m trying to say. So, she’s been hit with an illegal shot. Realistically, it’s not her obligation to continue. Now as a fan and as a former fighter, yeah. You say ‘I’m fine’ and you continue. As a fan, you want to see someone say, ‘Nah, [expletive] that. That’s not how I want to win’. But if she is hurt, just like Aljamain Sterling — you got to give Aljamain, to be honest, the same thing. He taken an illegal blow, he’s hurt and if the referee disqualifies your opponent, that’s not really your fault. You shouldn’t take flak, backlash from the fans or anybody for that because you never pulled the trigger on that illegal move.”
Regardless of the reception she has received since the fight, Pinheiro was declared the winner once Markos was disqualified. The Contender Series alum now holds an overall record of 8-1 after her promotional debut at UFC Vegas 26.