You can Count on Bisping

Michael Bisping mixed up his offence and took down Brian Stann during their match. (JACK BOLAND/QMI...

Michael Bisping mixed up his offence and took down Brian Stann during their match. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

TORONTO - Michael Bisping put his money where his mouth was on Saturday night, disposing of Brian Stann at the Air Canada Centre. But it wasn’t a patented Bisping win and probably won’t do a lot to cement his place as the top contender in the middleweight division.

Bisping, who is known for chirping off just as much as he is for what he does in the ring, used four takedowns, rather than his boxing skills, to secure a unanimous decision win over Stann in their non-title, three-round middleweight fight at UFC 152.

“He’s one tough son-of-a-gun,” the 33-year-old Brit told Joe Rogan after the fight.

And indeed Stann did take some hard shots and was cut on his forehead during the final round of the fight. And the American did manage to inflict some damage of his own, stunning the Brit toward the end of the first round with a couple of hard shots. But it was really the only damage he did all night — other than a low-blow kick that shook up Bisping and stopped the fight momentarily.

This was a much-anticipated bout, but those expecting it to be a slugfest in the centre of the octagon may have been both surprised and disappointed.

Bisping relied a lot on a ground game, taking Stann to the mat often and missing on several other attempts, though he really didn’t accomplish much once the two were down there.

Bisping seemed a lot more cautious than he normally is, sparring with the 31-year-old Stann in the centre of the octagon rather than looking to take him out.

The 6-foot-2 Bisping said his plan was to try to mix things up as much as possible.

“I have a more rounded skill-set, so I tried to take him down and mix it up,” Bisping said.

Bisping’s win really doesn’t do anything to clear up the middleweight division. In fact, with champion Anderson Silva seemingly preoccupied with bigger things, it’s as clear as mud.

Silva came out Friday and told Brazilian media that he hopes Georges St. Pierre is the next man he faces in the octagon.

“I believe everybody wants to see that fight,” Silva said.

And before Silva even fights St. Pierre, if that even happens — though in all likelihood it will — the Brazilian is set to face Stephen Bonner at UFC 153 in Rio on Oct. 13.

So that leaves guys like Bisping in a bit of limbo.

At any rate, the TUF 3 winner will be hoping that a superfight between Silva and welterweight champion St. Pierre doesn’t happen just yet.

Arguably robbed of a title shot after a controversial decision loss against Chael Sonnen in January, his first loss after putting together a four-fight win streak, Bisping was looking to make up ground on the likes of Chris Weidman in the middleweight division with a convincing win over Stann. But it really didn’t happen.

Bisping is always talking about how he deserves a title shot and winning on Saturday certainly won’t hurt his chances but he probably didn’t accomplish against Stann what he was hoping to.

Stann, a former WEC light-heavy-weight champion, had won four out of five fights since moving to the middleweight division in the UFC but his overall record now falls to 12-5, while Bisping improves to 24-4.

Bisping was clearly the favoured fighter on this night. Stann may get plenty of support in America where he’s considered a hero for the silver star he was awarded for bravery in combat as a U.S. Marine, but north of the border it was The Count who received a royal reception as he strutted around the octagon. And chants of “let’s go Bisping” rang out in the early going of the opening round.

 


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