The biggest beef I had with the fight between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2 was that it wasn't given proper time for the build-up it deserved. They are possibly the two best talkers in the business and the fans of mixed martial arts lost out on the chance to hear some of the best sound bites in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Whoever wins this fight will get a crack at Anderson Silva and the UFC middleweight championship. A Sonnen win would set up a rematch in Brazil, where Silva may be the least of his worries. For Bisping, a win would give him credibility in a sport where most fans don't take him seriously.
Within 15 seconds of the first round, there was a takedown by Sonnen, but Bisping was able to get back to his feet. Coming into the fight, those were the two biggest questions asked and the answers weren't hard to find.
The story of the early part of the round was Sonnen smothering Bisping, taking him down, landing shots, before Bisping fights back to his feet and starts the process again. Several times, Bisping had Sonnen against the cage, but was unable to do serious damage. When they separated, both men connected with punches, but Bisping looked sharper.
My scorecard: first round to Bisping, 10-9, but I can see a Sonnen round.
The first couple of minutes of the second round saw Bisping in control of the standup game with solid strikes. Sonnen took the shots and charged in for a takedown and got it. He held him there for about a minute before Bisping fought back to his feet. Again, Bisping held Sonnen against the cage and seemed to tire him out with his constant movement.
My scorecard: second round to Bisping, 10-9. He may not be doing great damage, but he is constantly moving forward and attacking the former title contender.
As the third round began, Sonnen immediately got a takedown and kept him there. Bisping did a good job of holding Sonnen back from his back and worked his way to his feet. By doing so, he allowed Sonnen to take control of his back. With less than three minutes left in the fight, Sonnen transitioned into full mount, putting Bisping in a bad place. Bisping was able to work towards half-guard and eventually got back to the cage, where he landed a takedown of his own before the final whistle.
My scorecard: third round to Sonnen, but Bisping gets the victory, 29-28.
It was a close fight, but one that I think Bisping did enough to win. Whatever the decision was, Bisping proved to all his doubters that he is a contender in the division.
Official decision: Chael Sonnen via unanimous decision.
I wouldn't have been shocked by Sonnen getting the win, but I can't see how one judge gave him all three rounds.
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.