The UFC put everything they have into their return to New York; UFC 205 on November 12 is the greatest card in league history. UFC 204 coming immediately before it was at a disadvantage, but in the main event, middleweight champion Michael Bisping retained his title in a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous fight with Dan Henderson.
Bisping survived not one but three H-Bombs. The secret to his success may have been the left high kicks into Henderson’s forearms, that slowly took some of the megatons out of the most famous right hand in MMA. The first H-Bomb very nearly put Bisping out. The second one put him down, but he was able to immediately secure a Closed Guard and wait out the round. The third one Bisping fought through.
Afterwards, Bisping looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone, as seen through a fish-eye lens. Hendo looked like he just got done sparring in the gym.
Judges Andreas Gruner from Sweden and Jeff Mullen from the USA scored it identically, giving Henderson the first two rounds, and Bisping the final three. Judge Andy Roberts from England saw Bisping winning every round but the first. No judge gave Bisping’s near win in the first round a 10-8.
Andreas Gruner: 48-47 Bisping
Jeff Mullen: 48-47 Bisping
Andy Roberts: 49-46 Bisping
Dan Henderson saw it different, feeling he won the first round 10-8, and Round 2, and Round 5. Hendo gave Bisping Rounds 3 and 4, making it in his eyes:
“I left it all in there and I felt like I did everything I needed to do to win that fight,” said Henderson to Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting after the card. “It just, unfortunately, everyone didn’t see it that way.”
“The first round I mean, it was almost finished, real close, I thought that it was obviously a 10-8 round, but you never know. But I probably won the first two rounds, he won the third and fourth, and I wanted to make sure I went out and won the fifth. I got the takedown, landed some decent shots on him, honestly I didn’t feel hurt once in the whole fight from anything, with the exception of one leg kick that hurt my thigh a little.”
“Obviously by looking at him, he felt some of the shots that I hit him with. “So obviously I’m a little frustrated, I’ll have to go home and watch it again and be a little more educated on talking to you about it. But those are the thoughts going through my head during the fight, I didn’t want to end up with the draw, I wanted to win the fight.”
Dan Henderson has retired at 46. The argument can be made that he is the greatest fighter in MMA history. He touched on some of his favorite memories.
“There’s a few,” said Henderson. “Probably winning the second PRIDE belt would be on the top, along with winning a tournament a long time ago, a 32-man tournament, those are probably two of the toughest nights of fighting I had. I have to look back, especially getting ready for this fight, I didn’t want to spend too much time soaking things in, making sure I got prepared and didn’t want to get emotional about it.”
“I spent every bit of energy I had and left everything in there. I’m completely satisfied with what I did tonight.”