Michael Bisping showed off an impressive, well-rounded offensive arsenal against Jorge Rivera at UFC 127, using a combination of takedowns and punches to win a second-round technical knockout.
The fight was the culmination of a rivalry between Bisping and Rivera that included bad blood and harsh trash talk from both fighters over the last few weeks, including Bisping spewing a homophobic slur toward Rivera at the weigh-in. After the fight Bisping and Rivera appeared to have some more harsh words for each other, as did their respective corner men. But they eventually exchanged a hug, and Bisping said he was sorry in his post-fight interview.
"I just want to apologize," Bisping said afterward. "He touched a nerve and I'm a sensitive guy."
As for the fight itself, a minute into the first round Bisping shot in for a great takedown and ended up on top of Rivera on the ground, although Rivera got back to his feet after 30 seconds without taking much damage. Rivera landed one hard punch when they were back to their feet, but Bisping got his second takedown of the first round after that. Bisping appeared to be in control, but he stood up and landed an illegal knee to the head of Rivera while Rivera was still on the ground, leading to a pause in the fight. Rivera was examined by the doctors, and ultimately allowed to continue, while Bisping had a point deducted.
For the rest of the first round it was Bisping who was getting the better end of the striking exchanges, and he also secured another takedown. Bisping deserved to win the round 10-9, so with the point deduction it was a 9-9 round.
At the start of the second round Rivera rocked Bisping with a big right hand, and it looked like Rivera might bounce back. But after that one big punch, it was all Bisping: The Brit started battering Rivera with punches and eventually knocked Rivera down with a hard right hand and then unleashed a couple more punches on the ground before the referee stopped the fight, awarding Bisping the technical knockout victory.
The win improves Bisping's record to 20-4. Rivera falls to 19-8.
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