Liverpool-based fighter Michael Bisping was the star of UFC 105 in Manchester, securing ‘Fight of the Night’ as he stopped his opponent in Round Two.
The MEN Arena hosted the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship event with Bisping needing to bounce back from his second professional loss at UFC 100, the biggest show in the company’s history.
Bisping was worried in the first round when he was caught and knocked down with a right-handed punch but despite being grounded, his defence remained strong until the end of the round
He managed to recover to dispatch Canadian fighter Denis Kang in round two, scoring the victory through a technical knock-out. In this instance, the TKO was called as the referee adjudged Kang to be defenceless to Bisping's punches.
Despite numerous changes to the fight card in the months leading up to UFC 105, fight fans were not disappointed by the main event. Hall of Famer Randy Couture emerged victorious against Brandon Vera, who at 30 years old is almost 16 years his junior. Couture took the bout by unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring it 29-28 in favour of the veteran.
This was Couture's first UFC win for 28 months, following a year-long dispute and departure from the company, and two defeats since his return. In defeating Vera, Couture became the oldest ever competitor to win an official UFC fight.
In other action, the highlight of the night for those in attendance was undoubtedly the breakthrough of Nottingham fighter Dan Hardy. Hardy went the full distance of three rounds with his American opponent Mike Swick, clinching the win by unanimous decision with two of the judges scoring every round in his favour.
Hardy made his name on the mixed martial arts [MMA] circuit before joining UFC and this win takes his unbeaten record in the company to 4-0, although in all forms of MMA it was his 23rd fight on English soil and his 20th victory.
The win also earns Hardy a Welterweight Championship match against Georges St-Pierre, widely considered to be one of the best fighters in the world, with the match rumoured to be taking place in February 2010.
By Michael Parr
Bisping celebrates victory at UFC 105 (absurd meridian, Flickr); In action against Denis Kang at the MEN.