Bisping gives fans reason to cheer at UFC 120

Michael Bisping reminded British fans that if there’s one man they can rely on it’s the UFC’s original breakout British star, with the "Ultimate Fighter" winner shining in what was otherwise a bad night for home fighters.

In front of 17,133 fans at London’s O2 Arena, Bisping defeated highly regard Japanese veteran Yoshihiro Akiyama in a three-round standing battle. Bisping was rocked early in the first round after Akiyama caught him with a right hand. Despite the punch severely affecting his vision Bisping was able to recover to win every round on all three judges’ scorecards.

Despite this shutout victory for Bisping, the fight was an even one with both fighters showing tremendous punch resistance, shot selection and workrate. There was a tense moment when Bisping accidentally kicked Akiyama below the belt and it looked like there was a real danger of Akiyama being unable to continue. Fortunately Akiyama was able to recover and bring to a proper close a fight that deservedly earned him a third consecutive Fight of the Night award.

Bisping’s fellow countrymen fared less well, with no other British fighter winning on the main card. In the co-main event Dan Hardy was finished by Carlos Condit in the first round after the American dropped him with a devastating left hook that earned Condit the "Knockout of the Night." Condit had been getting the better of Hardy as the round progressed, with Hardy struggling to put his punches together or cope with the power of the American.

John Hathaway and James Wilks also lost in convincing fashion with both losing after failing to cope with the wrestling of their American opponents. Xtreme Couture veteran Mike Pyle manhandled Hathaway, surprising many who had been impressing by the wrestling skills that Hathaway had demonstrated in defeating Diego Sanchez at UFC 114. Pyle was able to repeatedly put Hathaway on his back and came close to finishing the fight in the second round when he landed multiple punches unanswered after trapping Hathaway in side control. While Patrick never came close to finishing Wilks, he was if anything even more dominant, spending the overwhelming majority of the round comfortable in top control.

In the only fight in the main card to not feature a British fighter, Cheick Kongo and Travis Browne battled to a draw after Kongo was docked a point for excessive holding of Browne’s shorts. Kongo started the fight poorly as while it was clear he was the more skilled kickboxer he was unwilling to push the action. While the fight had its moments, the two kept getting stuck against the cage in scenes eerily reminiscent and with the same lack of entertainment value as Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop.

On the undercard, Paul Sass earned the "Submission of the Night" award when he caught Mark Holst in a triangle choke after dominating the fight with repeated submission attempts despite spending most of it on his back.