Michael Bisping (file photo) scored an emotional win over Jorge Rivera at UFC 127. | Sherdog.com
Michael Bisping got what he wanted out of UFC 127.
The British middleweight found himself victorious in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday night, his hands raised high as his fallen foe lay crumpled beneath him. The route Bisping traveled to arrive at that moment, however, may be talked about for some time to come.
After dictating the striking early in his co-main event scrap with Jorge Rivera, Bisping began to execute takedowns for which Rivera had no answer. Following one such grappling exchange, Bisping grabbed the kneeling Rivera in a Thai clinch and blasted “El Conquistador” square in the face with a knee.
It appeared the fight would be stopped by the cageside physician, but at the last moment, a game Rivera informed referee Marc Goddard that he could continue. Bisping was docked a point, but Rivera appeared to be on rubbery legs from that moment onward. Postfight, Rivera’s camp reportedly complained that the illegal knee was thrown deliberately. However, “The Count” claims that the strike was an accident that may be chalked up to emotion and adrenaline taking over.
“The knee certainly wasn’t on purpose,” Bisping said during the postfight press conference. “He was getting up off the ground, and I pulled the trigger too early. It happens a lot. This is a fast-moving sport. No one wants to see a fight won or lost in that fashion.”
The 185-pound contest carried with it some extra heat, due in large part to a series of YouTube video released by Rivera in which the American relentlessly mocked his English opponent. According to Bisping, the videos hit a bit too close to home. Following the fight’s finish, the Wolfslair Academy product spat at the American corner and verbally taunted Rivera before eventually embracing the man he had just battered.
“He was very insulting toward me. He was mocking me on the Internet, talking about myself and my family. But it built up inside me, and I blew up a little bit, so I apologize,” said Bisping. “[The videos] definitely motivated me and made me work harder. Trash talk is part of the game, and I let it get to me too much. But I’m an emotional guy. Everything that comes out of my mouth comes from my heart. I am who I am. He embarrassed me, mocking me all over the world. But I should have been the better man and taken that on the chin a little better.”
Regarding the fight, Bisping believes he executed his game plan against a worthy adversary, regardless of the illegal blow.
“I thought I gave a good performance. I respect Jorge. He’s been around the game a long time. He gave Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin good fights, so he is no walk in the park,” Bisping stated. “I prepared for this fight hard fight like always do. I thought I had his number. I was getting those takedowns. I hit him with that right hand and felt him wobble a bit, and I knew it was time to go for the finish.”
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