QUEBEC CITY – After plenty of trash talk in the buildup, and a heated face-off at Tuesday’s weigh-ins, Tim Kennedy left disappointed – after a dominant win over Michael Bisping.
Kennedy picked up a unanimous decision win with a pair of 49-46 scores, and even a 50-45 from one judge. But he spoke of being less than thrilled with his performance in his post-victory interview.
The middleweight bout was the main event of today’s TUF Nations Finale event at Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
The two angrily pounded gloves before the fight started, a carry-over from Tuesday’s heated and profanity-laden weigh-in. But it wasn’t really a sign of things to come. The fight had a few shootout moments, but it was mostly Kennedy winning on points thanks to takedowns, keeping Bisping at bay on the ground.
Kennedy shot in for a single-leg takedown quickly into the fight. Bisping initially defended, but Kennedy adjusted and scooped him up for a double-leg along the fence. With the takedown complete, Kennedy tried to go to work from half-guard as Bisping tried to work back to his feet. Kennedy worked valiantly to pass to mount, but Bisping defended. After two minutes, he briefly got to his feet, but Kennedy brought the fight right back to the canvas. With a minute left, Kennedy got to mount, then took Bisping’s back and looked to sink in a rear-naked choke. But Bisping’s defense was on point, and though he clearly lost the round, he survived to see the second.
And in that second, Bisping looked to settle in. He landed a good right after a minute of light work. But Kennedy fired back with a right of his own, and with three minutes left, he again wanted the fight on the floor. But this time, Bisping defended and kept the fight standing. A flying knee from Bisping was just off the mark, but he landed a right hand afterward. With a minute left, Bisping looked to land in bunches, but pulled away and stayed patient. It was a frame in which Kennedy seemed to have slowed.
Kennedy landed a right, then a takedown in the third, and while he wasn’t able to do major damage to Bisping, he kept him off his feet. In side control, he had to fend off Bisping’s brief armbar attempt. But with about 100 seconds left, Kennedy again jumped to mount and landed a big elbow.
After Kennedy couldn’t get a takedown early in the fourth, the two traded sporadically for two minutes. When it looked like Bisping had gotten the better of an exchange with 90 seconds left, Kennedy fired back and caught the Brit and tried to keep the pressure on. But Bisping landed, too, and it was Kennedy who needed the most work done on his cuts in between rounds.
A minute into the final round, Kennedy landed a good takedown, then dragged Bisping right back to the mat, then briefly got to mount. Midway through the round, with Kennedy working from half guard, referee Yves Lavigne ordered a standup. Bisping landed few solid shots as the fight wound down, but nothing enough to put Kennedy in trouble.
Kennedy (18-4 MMA, 3-0 UFC) stretched his winning streak to four fights, including a perfect 3-0 in the UFC. Bisping (24-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) heads back to the loss column and now hasn’t had a winning streak since 2011.
Up-to-the-minute TUF Nations Finale results include:
- Tim Kennedy def. Michael Bisping via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45)
- Patrick Cote def. Kyle Noke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Elias Theodorou def. Sheldon Westcott via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:41
- Chad Laprise def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Dustin Poirier def. Akira Corassani via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:42
- K.J. Noons def. Sam Stout via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:30
- Sarah Kaufman def. Leslie Smith via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ryan Jimmo def. Sean O’Connell via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 4:27
- George Roop def. Dustin Kimura via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-26)
- Mark Bocek def. Mike De La Torre via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Nordine Taleb def. Vik Grujic via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Richard Walsh def. Chris Indich via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mitch Gagnon def. Tim Gorman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
For complete coverage of the TUF Nations Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
Mike Bohn contributed to this report on-site in Quebec City.