Michael Bisping pulled out a close unanimous decision over veteran Dan Henderson on Saturday (Oct. 8), in the headlining fight at UFC 204.
In front of England’s Manchester Arena, the British champ outpointed Henderson in their rematch, which ended with all three judges scoring the fight in Bisping’s favor: 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47. He also retained the UFC middleweight championship for the first time, and avenged the knockout loss he suffered to Henderson at UFC 100 in 2009.
Despite the win, it was close. Henderson dropped Bisping twice in the opening two rounds, and the champ suffered a deep cut under his left eye, which bled throughout the 25-minute fight. By the end of the fight, his face was severely busted up.
Bisping landed a number of jabs and leg kicks en route to his win, allowing him to dictate range and avoid the right hand as Henderson tired. According to Fightmetric, Bisping outlanded Henderson in total strikes, 130-87. He attempted 348 total strikes compared to 227 for Henderson.
Bisping improves to 30-7, while Henderson’s record drops to 32-15, in what is the 46-year-old’s final fight. He said he would retire after UFC 204 — win or lose — and is sticking with the decision.
“This is the last time anyone will see me fight,” Henderson said. “I gave my heart and soul to this sport. Fans like you, even though you booed me at the beginning of the night, made it worthwhile for me to compete year after year. I absolutely love this sport.
“Thank you, Michael Bisping, for giving me this opportunity — my last fight, for the belt. I came up a little short. I wish they’d judge the fight on how you look after.”
“I know people spoke and said, ‘Oh, he’s not the No. 1 contender,'” Bisping said. “This guy knocked me out cold. Cold. Worst knockout in UFC history. The jitters I had this week — look at my face, for crying out loud. You know what this guy can do to you.”