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UFC 89 Review: Bisping outpoints Leben

UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben came to us all live on October 18, 2008, from the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England. Guess who was in the main event?

That's right: former TUF winner Michael "The Count" Bisping of England. Bisping, who took on Chris "The Crippler" Leben in the main event, was hardly the only British fighter on the card, as Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor also fought in front of the pro English crowd.

So without further ado, let's get this going.

First up was a fight between Marcus Davis and Paul Kelly. "I'm gonna come out here, I'm gonna perform for them, and I'm gonna give them the knockout that they're waiting to see," said Davis before the fight. So would his words prove prophetic, or would he fall to the bigger British fighter?

The fight started off with a nice left uppercut counter by Davis after landing some early low kicks. Though there wasn't a lot of activity through the middle part of the stanza, Davis was clearly in control, utilizing his jab effectively. Then around the 1:30 mark of the round, Davis took Kelly down and achieved side control before his adversary got up. While on their feet, Davis landed a nice body kick. Then the bell.

First round easily goes to Marcus Davis.

The second round started off with Davis landing some decent counters. Then Kelly went in for the takedown. Unfortunately, for him Davis began to get to his feet after it was achieved. This caused Kelly to look to once again assert his dominance on the canvas. While this was going on, Davis sunk in the guillotine.

End of story.

Marcus Davis wins via guillotine at 2:16 of round two.

Next up was a match between Chris Lytle and Paul Taylor. With two fighters that are as tough as they come going at it, who would prove to be the better technical fighter?
This bout started off with both guys connecting with bombs in flurries. Along the way, both landed excellent shots, though an uppercut by Lytle was perhaps most noticeable. From there, the fight moved toward dirty boxing. That's when Lytle threw Taylor to the ground, but the British fighter got right back up.

Taylor then connected with a nice right. The rest of the round saw both combatants connect with strong shots, Taylor with short fast inside punches and Lytle with strikes of the looping variety. At the tail end of the stanza, though, Taylor hit home with a nice elbow and perhaps landed the crisper punches during the second half of the round.

Not sure who won that one. Maybe give it to Taylor.

Lytle came out and connected with some huge hooks in the second. Yet somehow Taylor managed to stay on his feet. In fact, you really couldn't even tell if the punches hurt. Perhaps that's why Lytle decided to take the fight to the ground. Though Taylor turned things over for a moment on him, Lytle regained his dominant ground position.

But then Taylor came to his feet. For his efforts, he got hit with both kicks and punches that were not of the light variety. After a brief and somewhat surprising takedown by Taylor, Lytle got to his feet and the two clinched. Still, upon every separation Lytle connected with huge shots. Then the bell.

Chris Lytle definitely won the second stanza. This one is either even going into the third or Lytle is up two.

Lytle came out early in the third stanza and just pounded away at his adversary with big hooks to the body and face. But Taylor never once even looked dizzy, and came back with some nice inside punches of his own. Lytle, looking very tired, decided to take the fight to the ground later in the stanza after tasting some low kicks by Taylor and opportune punches. But Taylor once again got back to his feet. From there, the two traded shots with Taylor hurting Lytle with some huge punches. But Lytle managed to get through, though he was clearly hurt. Then the bell.

What a great fight!

I give the last round to Lytle due to what he was able to accomplish early in the round. But the fact that he was hurt toward the end of the stanza may not play out well for him.

Chris Lytle wins via unanimous decision.
This was a very close one, for sure. Both Taylor and Lytle have awesome jaws.

Next up was a much anticipated bout between Ramieau Thierry Sokoudjou and Luiz Cane. "This is the biggest fight of my career. I want to show everybody what I'm capable of and I want to win this fight," said Cane beforehand.

Here's how it went down.

Several low kicks were landed by Sokoudjou early. Then came some body kicks by the Team Quest fighter. After blocking several hard punches to his face over the course of time, Cane landed a very nice body kick himself. But once again Sokoudjou applied the pressure, continuing to throw hard punches and kicks, landing some, others hitting Cane's arms. Around the two minute mark, Sokoudjou hit home with a very nice flurry of strikes, including some hard shots to the body.

But then Sokoudjou started looking tired, and ate a jab and hard body kick because of it. Still, Sokoudjou came back with his normal aggressiveness.

The first stanza clearly went to Sokoudjou.

The second round started off somewhat slow with Sokoudjou being the aggressor for the most part. But the action picked up, with Sokoudjou throwing and landing more strikes. But around the three minute mark Cane began using the jab effectively.

Then another hard body kick by Sokoudjou. Cane can take a shot.

Cane began to take over from there, picking his opponent apart with jabs and straight lefts. Soon after, he landed a hard knee to the face and followed it up with a hard left hand that dropped his adversary. Several punches later on the ground and it was all over.

Luiz Cane wins via TKO at 4:50 of round two.
He is clearly a fighter to watch.

"Winning's not everything, winning is the only thing. And tonight, you going to see that winning is the only thing in my mind," said Brandon Vera before taking on Keith Jardine, a man that had formerly defeated Chuck Liddell but was coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Wanderlei Silva.

Get ready, get set, go!

Surprisingly, Jardine immediately came in and took his opponent down. While on his back, Vera connected with several elbows that opened a cut on the top of Jardine's head. Vera held a Kimura for a period of time before letting it go. That's when Jardine started in with some serious ground and pound for a brief moment. From there, the two traded shots on the ground with Vera landing elbows and Jardine hitting home with ground and pound in spots.

The referee then stood them up. Why, I have no idea.

From there, Vera landed a big punch that dropped Jardine for a moment. Jardine then got up and dropped Vera. The round ended with Jardine connecting with hard punches on Vera while he was on his knees.

Jardine wins the initial stanza easily. He hurt his opponent at the end of the round.

With the two trading strikes in the center of the ring, Vera landed a nice left. As the two continued to throw strikes, Vera caught a leg and took him down. Jardine got up but ate some knees in the process to the body. For the rest of the stanza, the two traded with Vera connecting more, particularly with body kicks.

Vera takes the second round. Though Rogan and Goldberg are saying that Vera belongs in the 205 pound class, he just doesn't look nearly as explosive as he did at heavyweight to me.

Early in the third stanza, Vera connected with shots in spots. Later, Jardine went in for a takedown and hit home with some strikes along the wall. After some even trading, Jardine connected with a couple of decent shots to end the fight.

Who won? No idea. The third round was very close. Let's go to the scorecards.

Keith Jardine wins via split decision.
Can't argue with the decision, especially considering he got hit in the knee with a kick early on that hurt him. It was probably his late flurry that secured victory.

Next up was the main event of the evening between "The Count" Michael Bisping and Chris "The Crippler" Leben. "I can't tell you exactly how the fight's going to go," said Leben beforehand, "but I can tell you one thing? don't blink." Usually that's good advice when he fights.

Leben started off connecting with some hard low kicks that did the job. Bisping connected with a nice right after accepting the blows. Then Bisping followed with a nice combination that didn't even seem to phase Leben. Still, throughout the round Bisping continued to utilize good footwork to counter his adversary with punches. Though Leben's low kicks no doubt hurt and there were times when he almost hurt his opponent with punches that only grazed, he lost the stanza.

The second round started off with Bisping once again countering while Leben moved forward. However, Leben did hit home with a lot of shots in the middle of the round and at the tail end of the stanza. But Bisping connected with numerous counters throughout the round. Hard one to call.

Leben's eyes are both swollen big time.

Leben landed a strong left hand to start the stanza. Bisping started his countering and landed some jabs. But Leben kept moving forward. Still, the British fighter clearly was connecting with more shots along the way.

Then came a takedown by Leben. On his way back up to his feet, Bisping got tagged a few times. But once on his feet, the British fighter hit home with a very hard right. For the most part, he connected with a lot of punches to end the round. Nothing that hurt Leben, but enough to win the fight.

The judges agreed. Michael Bisping wins via unanimous decision.

In the end, UFC 89 was an average night of fights in the UFC. The Brandon Vera- Keith Jardine fight lacked some excitement, even if it was a good win for "The Dean of Mean". The Chris Leben- Michael Bisping fight was good, but not great. Still, Marcus Davis once again came through and the Chris Lytle- Paul Taylor fight was awesome.

Besides, the event was free on Spike. Can't beat that.


UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben
Saturday, October 18, 2008
National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England

1. LW: Per Eklund def. Samy Schiavo via submission (RNC) - R3 (1:47)
2. LW: Jim Miller def David Baron via submission (RNC) - R3 (3:19)
3. LW: Terry Etim def. Sam Stout via unanimous decision
4. LW: David Bielkheden def. Jess Liaudin via unanimous decision
5. HW: Shane Carwin def. Neil Wain via TKO (strikes) - R1 (1:31)
6. WW: Dan Hardy def. Akihiro Gono via split decision
7. WW: Marcus Davis def. Paul Kelly via submission (guillotine choke) - R2 (2:16)
8. WW: Chris Lytle def. Paul Taylor via unanimous decision
9. LH: Luis Cane def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via TKO (strikes) - R2 (4:15)
10. LH: Keith Jardine def. Brandon Vera via split decision
11. MW: Michael Bisping def. Chris Leben via unanimous decision

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