|Image from yahoo sports|
This fight came about because Mark Munoz injured his elbow and a spot opened to fight Chael Sonnen for the right to fight Anderson Silva this summer. Mike Bisping was only to happy to fill the it. The talk going in to the fight was all about Sonnen's ability to take people down and Bisping's lack of truly top level opponents thus far. Bisping came into the bout on a four fight win streak and coming off of two TKO finishes. For his part, Sonnen had just run easily through a durable and highly rated fighter in Brian Stann.
Straight off the bell Chael Sonnen rushed Mike Bisping, taking him immediately to the floor. He looked super powerful and it seemed like this was a sign of how things might go. The Brit immediately got to his feet and that to and fro of taking down and scrambling up punctuated the next two rounds. In between these takedowns, Bisping lit Sonnen up on his feet, with Sonnen admitting in the post fight press conference that he was severely rocked in the first. Sonnen had his moments in the second round taking The Count's back towards the end. The third round was all Sonnen as he took down and smothered his opponent. He failed to do much damage but stayed in dominant positions for majority of the time. Finally, Bisping finished the round with a takedown of his own and a few sharp, short elbows.
Going to the judges, I was pretty sure Bisping had edged the decision as in his areas of dominance he had landed the most damaging blows. However, there was also a feeling that maybe the judges would weight the takedowns more strongly than Bisping's ability to control Sonnen on the fence and his ability to dominate the striking. As it turns out, the decision went in favour of Sonnen. In the post fight press conference Sonnen made it clear that there was relief when he heard the decision because he knew it could have gone against him.
The two GIFs below do not exactly tell the whole story of the fight, but what they do show though is that Bisping was able to a lot more in this fight than people were expecting in the run up.
Chael Sonnen will fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. This will most likely happen this summer in Brazil. No surprises there. As for Bisping, it will be tricky for the UFC to decide what to do with him next. He is coming off of a loss but he lost looking a lot better than most people predicted he would, arguably doing enough to win the decision and at the very least can take a moral victory from this fight ("Moral victories suck," Bisping says). I would love to see him put back in a position to fight a high level opponent, what about Mark Munoz upon his come back for the right to fight the winner of Sonnen vs Silva? Sounds good to me.
GIFs from ironforgesiron.