UFC 204- “Hendo’s” Last Ride

Dan Henderson now has the accolade to his credit of being one of the best fighters…to never win a UFC title. Reigning middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping retained his 12 pounds of gold last night in his hometown of Manchester, England.

Bisping gets going early by being the clear leader in cage control. He crouched and trying to make Henderson play a guessing game but meanwhile takes a jab before evading a classic overhand right from the legend. The Brit evades a single-leg from the man who KOed him at UFC 100 and fires off a high kick. He’s starting to increase his punch volume before his crumbles inside the last minute of the first after another overhand. Henderson knows though that the champion has recovered and conserves his energy.

Henderson is the first to strike blood.

The age of the American (46) is starting to show, but he’s rolling with the jabs and low kicks that Bisping is sending his way. The champion adds on with a straight right hand and a knee to put an exclamation point on the combination. They finish the round ground-fighting when Henderson goes back to the well again for a right hand. He takes the first ten minutes.

The transitional round gets underway with Bisping continuing to force his man to back up. This time, a right cross lands in the midst of more jabs and biting kicks. Bisping is now almost fully controlling the fight as the one punch Henderson has been using is becoming more and more ineffective. “The Count” is doing what he wants as Henderson fails to add variety to his move-set. He gives the retiring Henderson a deep rib kick for his troubles.

Henderson stutter-steps on a right and has to collect himself briefly as the contest enters the championship rounds. He has the last word, but his signature punch no longer has the same force.

The leg work now favors Bisping, who trades body kicks, powering forward almost like a Superman punch. He takes one to the ribcage himself before the contest is paused after an errant one connects with Henderson’s groin. The official notes that he missed an initial low blow and warns the titleholder that he will take a point if it happens again. They reconvene.

Bisping takes another kick to the body but finishes the fourth with a left hook as continues to take Henderson’s legs out from under him and edge away on the scorecards.

It’s more of the same to begin the last five minutes of Henderson’s career until he goes for a clinch knee. The effort is countered with a right hook before an immediate response as Henderson duplicates the hook. As he starts to defend against the hooks, Bisping returns to working on his torso.

A right hand tags the Bisping again just before the wrestler in Henderson goes to the ground where he can’t keep his heated rival. He stuffs another takedown attempt as the fight is down to its final seconds. They both go wild until the final horn.

(C) Michael Bisping def. Dan Henderson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

Bisping did more than just keep his belt following a somewhat controversial decision win, he now has the most overall wins in UFC history with 20 according to the promotion.