Every Wednesday, The MMA Corner’s Duncan Price will bring a view of the MMA world from across the pond in England, covering well-known British fighters within the UFC and Strikeforce, and also looking at significant events put on by British promotions within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Bisping vs. Sonnen – Review

Whether you agree with the final outcome or not, no one can deny that Michael Bisping showed his critics a thing or two on Saturday night.

The British middleweight contender took on Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2 in a bout most pundits thought he would have virtually no chance of winning. Although the unanimous decision went against him in the end, several prominent figures, including UFC President Dana White and apparently Sonnen himself, thought that Bisping had done enough to win the contest.

The opening round got off to a predictable start as Sonnen scored with a takedown early on. Much to everyone’s surprise though, Bisping was able to scramble back to his feet almost immediately and land some stinging strikes. Sonnen forced another takedown towards the end of the first, but he appeared to have no answer for Bisping’s improved clinch game and grappling ability on the feet.

The second stanza seemed to belong to the Brit as he avoided going to the mat with Sonnen and continued to edge his rival on the feet. Whilst neither man was particularly dominant, many viewers awarded the round to Bisping.

In the last and likely decisive round, Sonnen was able to take Bisping to the mat early and subsequently transition into full mount. Although he wasn’t able to land anything too damaging, there was no denying that Sonnen controlled the majority of the action. Bisping fought back late and landed a few strikes of his own from the top, but the final frame clearly belonged to Sonnen.

The first two rounds were very close and the third would certainly have been scored for Sonnen. Ultimately, the judges handed Sonnen the unanimous decision, one even giving him all three rounds, but many fans the world over had tallied the fight in favour of Bisping. Unfortunately, fan opinion counts for nothing when it comes to win-loss records.

Reflecting on the bout, Sonnen was complimentary towards his opponent:

“Having fought Bisping and the alleged champion [Silva], I can tell you Bisping could beat him today.”

“I was surprised by everything. He hit me so hard I didn’t know what round it was. I was never in a position where I was comfortable.”

“I looked at him and thought ‘my God, you have no idea how hard you hit me’.”

Bisping took the decision well, bearing in mind how close the fight was, only taking exception to the judge who awarded every round to his foe:

“No way on earth was that a 30-27. That judge needs to consider his position.”

“Tonight didn’t go my way, I picked up a moral victory but moral victories suck, it was a good fight and this is not the last you’ve seen of me.”

“I will fight for the title.”

So Sonnen now moves on to face Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship in the summer and Bisping will have to await news on his next Octagon appearance.

The loss could in some ways be a blessing in disguise for “The Count” as a victory over another contender, perhaps in the main event of a U.K. card later this year, could propel him to a title shot at the end of 2012.

UCMMA 26 – The Real Deal

UCMMA delivers its first show of the New Year on Feb. 4, and it features a roll call of impressive domestic talent.

Luke Sines (Ultimate Challenge MMA)

The highly-anticipated card, to be held at The Troxy in London, is headlined by a K1 bout between the sniper-like welterweight champion Luke Sines and the always dangerous Peter Irving.

Irving jumped at the chance to compete for the welterweight gold after former UFC star Paul Daley was forced to withdraw following other contractual commitments with Strikeforce. UCMMA figurehead Dave O’Donnell added his views on the main event:

“Peter Irving has come into the picture and we’ve had more coverage about this match up than before. Everyone wants to know about this bout more and there’s been a huge amount of interest. It’s a great fight and it’s one for the fans to enjoy.”

The event also features a vacant light heavyweight championship match between potential breakout star Linton Vassell and the durable Aurelius Kerpe, who will no doubt be looking to stop the hype train dead in its tracks. Kerpe stepped in to take on Vassell after Przemyslaw Mysiala was forced out through injury.

There is no shortage of promising young prospects on show as Corey Tait, one of the most explosive fighters on the UCMMA roster, faces off against Spencer Hewitt.

Top middleweights Luke Barnett and Ben Callum will also lock horns in an intriguing contest which has seen both fighters exchange harsh words through the media in recent weeks.

With all events broadcast on Sky Sports and to a massive online following, there can be little doubt that 2012 is set to be a colossal year for UCMMA. The organization has a packed twelve months ahead with a variety of shows across different platforms with the central focus on making huge steps.

The ever-present O’Donnell is also keen to move on from the Cage Rage brand with a focus on his promotions corporate standing:

“One of the big things about planning in 2012 is that we’ve looked at the show from a corporate point of view and assessed where we want to go. What we’re going to push forward is UCMMA; that’s the brand moving forward.”

UCMMA 26 – The Real Deal

Fight Card:

  • Luke Sines vs. Peter Irving (WW K1 Title)
  • Aurelius Kerpe vs. Linton Vassell (LHW Title)
  • Spencer Hewitt vs. Cory Tait
  • Stav Economou vs. Tomasz Czerwinski
  • Ray Edgar vs. Ashleigh Grimshaw
  • Iain Martell vs. Mohamed Ali
  • Paul Taylor vs. Marian Rusu
  • Chi Lewis Perry vs. Ollie Beard
  • Ben Callum vs. Luke Barnatt
  • Andy Cona vs. Walter Gahadza
  • Miguel Bernad vs. Jason Radcliffe
  • Sam Gilbert vs. Dean Bray
  • Sam Boo vs. Michael Page
  • Ricci Woodward vs. Mark Carling
  • Florian Calin vs. Stephen Stanley

Thanks to UCMMA and Fortuna PR for the information.

Cage Warriors – Updates
Middleweight Tournament

Cage Warriors revealed plans for an eight-man tournament back in November to determine a new CWFC middleweight champion.

The first two quarterfinals feature on the imminent Cage Warriors Fight Night 3 card where Victor Cheng faces Matt Gabel and Gareth Joseph meets Faycal Hussin. The promotion once again ventures to the Middle East for this event, which takes place Feb. 11 in Beirut, Lebanon.

Just a week later, Jack Mason battles Chris Fields and John Phillips takes on Tony Machado for the remaining two slots at Cage Warriors 45, which will be held Feb. 18 at the HMV Forum in London.

The winners progress to the semi-finals and square off April 12 in Saudi Arabia. The final will then be held July 12 in London, where the new champion will be crowned.

Speer Joins Cage Warriors

The Ultimate Fighter 6 veteran Tommy Speer will make his Cage Warriors debut on the upcoming Fight Night 3 card. He won’t have an easy start though, as his opponent will be experienced Swedish grappler Mats Nilsson.

Speer currently trains out of Fiore MMA in Illinois and is on a four-fight winning streak stretching back to 2010. He made it to the finals of TUF 6 where he was submitted in just the first round by Mac Danzig. The 27-year-old competed once more in the UFC before receiving his marching orders after he was knocked out in under a minute by Anthony Johnson.

A native of Helsingborg, Sweden, Nilsson is on a run of his own, as he is unbeaten in his last three outings. He holds a notable victory over recent UFC acquisition Magnus Cedenblad, who he defeated back in 2009.

Top Photo: Michael Bisping (L) battles Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2 (Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC)

This piece was authored by Duncan Price. Follow him on Twitter, @DuncMMA

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