by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
In the grudge match of UFC 110, former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Wanderlei Silva made his official middleweight debut against the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Michael Bisping.
Silva pulled out a close unanimous decision over the Brit in a back-and-forth battle that had it all.
Bisping came out looking like the faster fighter, bouncing in and out, landing punches on the Brazilian, mixing it up with takedowns as well.
In the closing moments of the first round Silva came on, possibly stealing the round on the scorecards with a flurry.
Silva caught a leg kick in the opening moments of the second round and quickly swept Bisping’s leg for the takedown, but was unable to capitalize on the dominant position. Bisping later got a takedown of his own in the round, but the time expired on the second stanza Silva was working a guillotine choke that had Bisping in trouble.
Most of the fight took place on it’s feet where neither showed a clear advantage until the final seconds of the fight where Silva caught Bisping with a series of punches sending him to the canvas.
For Silva, the win is a step in the right direction to returning to previous glory. One of the most decorated fighters in mixed martial arts history, Silva had lost three of his for fights since returning to the Octagon.
“In your life you have bad moments. Everybody has bad moments, but if you believe in God and working hard, good moments they’ll come,” an emotional Silva told the audience.
Silva attributed his success to working with his previous trainer Raphael Cordeiro.
“For me, he’s the best coach in the world. He’s very, very important.”
“It was an absolute pleasure to fight Wanderlei,” Bisping told the Aussie crowd. “I grew up in this sport watching him fight. I know that there was bad blood going into the fight, but I do have absolute respect for the guy.”
“Wanderlei’s a great opponent,” added Bisping. “I felt the reason he got the decision was the knockdown right at the end.”