Comeback Fight Falls Short in London

ufc-fn84When you’re the champion things generally lean towards you and what you are comfortable with including where your fights are held.

Anderson Silva knows this probably better than anyone as his entire reign as the middleweight champion featured very comfortable situations.

The fighters might have been more challenging or less challenging but more often than not Silva was fighting in places he was very comfortable with.

When the UFC travelled to Brazil they often looked to Silva as a hometown favourite that would guarantee sold out crowds and plenty of hype throughout the country.

The UFC also featured Silva in their favourite place and the place that becomes a home away from home for every great fighter in Vegas.

When they needed a big boost on a card where they travelled to a new market they looked to the biggest name in the sport to help them out.

When you’re on the top of the promotion things lean your way and you get to go to the best spots and the biggest fights for you and your career.

When you fall from those heights though things change and at UFC Fight Night 84 Silva got that lesson.

After years of ruling the middleweight division and being the best fighter in the UFC Silva lost two fights in a row to Chris Weidman.

His comeback from the second loss, which ended with a broken leg, was a successful one when he beat Nick Diaz but a failed drug test took the win away and put him out of the octagon for another year.

The losses and failed drug test seemingly had the UFC cautiously optimistic about his return as he did not come back in a pay-per-view and most fans didn’t even get to see his return.

Instead, the UFC put the smaller card on their subscription service, UFC Fight Pass, which was likely to drive subscriptions and partially a way to get Silva back without risking another major setback on a big stage.

More than that though they put the fight in London, England, far from Silva’s comfort zone, and made the fight against one of the best British fighters in the game.

Michael Bisping is a trailblazer in the UFC as one of the first major UFC stars from the UK but more than that he has never lost a fight in his home country.

In a career that has seen him regularly rise to within a fight of the title only to lose that fight and fall back to the middle of the pack, Britain has been his one saving grace.

Coming up into the UFC, Bisping fought on the British circuit and was undefeated until he entered The Ultimate Fighter.

Since joining the UFC he has been constant in many British cards as a fan favourite for the entire area.

He has had a total of seven UFC fights close to home and in every one of those fights he has ensured that the crowd went home happy.

The place where these fights take place may not be of the most important thing in a fight but there is something about it for some fighters.

Silva likely didn’t care when he walked off the plane in a new country that was much colder and far away from his home.

Bisping certainly did as the Brit who lives in the USA likely walked off of the plane to a sense of comfort that only comes when a fighter goes home.

That comfort can produce confidence and the winning streak at home only helped Bisping and his belief that he can win.

If there is anything that most people can agree on in fighting it is that the mental aspect of the game may be just as important as the physical side of things.

Heading into the octagon with a sense of comfort and confidence might have been the difference for Bisping and the final push he needed to get past the greatest of all time in Silva.

Once both fighters entered the octagon it seemed clear that the fight wasmma-sidebar.fw going to be a test of patience for both fighters and fans.

Silva didn’t try to take the fight to the ground where he would have been the far superior fighter and instead played around on the feet.

He did what he had become famous for in goading his opponent to come forward while he waits, avoids, and counters.

Many fighters get frustrated by this and although they know what is happening they still eventually charge and that is when they get knocked out.

Bisping was not going to do that as he waited for his openings even when Silva stood with his hands down against the fence.

Through the start of the fight, Bisping was in complete control of himself and found his openings landing shots and almost knocking Silva out multiple times with well-timed shots.

After the second round ended with Silva barely getting out after a big shot from Bisping the fooling around stopped and Silva began closing the gap that the Brit had created.

Things got confusing at the end of the third round though when Bisping looked to referee Herb Dean after his mouthpiece came out only for Dean to shout stop just before Silva launched a flying knee.

That knee knocked Bisping out but the horn had sounded and despite Silva and his corner believing he had won the fight went on amid plenty of controversy.

Bisping took some time to recover but in the fourth began landing a lot more shots than other rounds.

It wasn’t until the fifth and final round that Silva really began putting Bisping in trouble, at least before the horn, but Bisping remained standing and finished the fight.

In the end, the judges saw that Bisping had done enough in more rounds to get the win with a unanimous decision.

Silva took the loss amid some controversy after the third round but with the fight continuing Bisping just did more in more rounds to get the win and stay undefeated in England.

Silva took the loss in his comeback but by no means is going to be gone after the confusing third round and an impressive fight overall as he will be back to continue a run at the middleweight division.

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