UFC’s first visit to Scotland was headlined by the Brit Bisping against the re-surging Brazilian Thales Leites., who came into the fight undefeated in his last eight bouts including 5-0 since his return to the UFC. Leites had his most success in the third round, when he connected early with several heavy punches, rocking Bisping both at the start and end of the round. I feel like Leites has a big edge if this fight hits the floor and on the feet I feel like he has a very good chance of knocking Bisping out. Leites landed some hard, clean shots and rocked Bisping on two occasions.
Bisping continued to pace around the outside of the ring trying to keep his distance.
“Some guys, they pick and choose their fights very carefully”, Bisping said.
Steven’s debut UFC win – a TKO stoppage over Marcin Bandel – came after he was called up as an injury replacement on just two weeks’ notice. There are plenty of potential matchups for him in the future, even as a headliner for cards like this. When I fought Dan Henderson (July 2009), I watched tapes with my boxing coach and said, ‘This guy is f– awful.’ And if you look at Henderson’s technique and critique his form from a technical standpoint, he is disgusting – but that doesn’t mean he’s not effective, as I found out that night.
The fight was relatively close early on, as Leites was extremely tentative throughout the 25-minute bout. It was a grind’em out, savvy approach from the well-rounded American, who was deep on an armbar late in the first round before staying on Pearson’s hips and dragging him to the mat over the rest of the fight.
Dunham has only won just one of his last four under the UFC banner, with that lone win coming over Rodrigo Damm at UFC 182. Joe Duffy in never going to make the same brash statements that Conor McGregor does, but so far, he looks every bit as capable of climbing to the top of the lightweight division just like “The Notorious” has done in the 145-pound ranks. As the Brazilian scored a takedown, Duffy locked up a triangle and forced the tap quickly there after. It was a attractive finish for the up-and-coming Irish fighter. Joanne Calderwood (9-1) will be performing in front of a hometown crowd and she needs a strong performance to gain some traction in the division. Casey would have had a better shot if she didn’t take the fight on a week’s notice, Calderwood smashes Casey into oblivion for a first round finish.
Leon Edwards picked up a decision over Pawel Pawlak, using his kicks and wrestling to claim the victory. In a scramble, Leites took Bisping’s back but couldn’t do anything significant. “It’s great to be in Glasgow and it’s unbelievable to see so many people here”, said Calderwood. Dunham strung together back-to-back wins, after being awarded the unanimous decision. He’s now won five in a row and he’s learned to knock opponents out.
Bisping has now arrived in Scotland in the build-up to Saturday’s fight at the SSE Hydro and admits he has been shocked by the levels of support for the sport north of the border. Between his headhunting punching combinations, Leites slips in vicious left and right low kicks. After a few punches on the ground, it was over. When I sat down with an agent, he said, ‘Michael, it comes down to this: Either you’re watchable or you’re not watchable.