Tim Kennedy (18-4) settled the grudge with fellow middleweight Michael Bisping (24-6) in the octagon at the TUF Nations Finale on Wednesday. Kennedy came out victorious with a somewhat unexpected dominant performance against the British fighter, who was coming off eye surgery and a one year layoff.
Kennedy did what Bisping’s previous opponents, the likes of Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann, Rashad Evans, and Matt Hamill, couldn’t do in the past. As he was able to take down and keep down Michael Bisping in 4 of the 5 rounds in the main event. And as a result earned a clear unanimous decision victory (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) over Bisping, Kennedy’s 4th straight win and improving to 3-0 in the UFC.
Post-fight the two fighters shook hands and settled their grudge inside the cage, as Kennedy said he had a lot of respect for Bisping, and Bisping reciprocated by saying the same.
Tim Kennedy attributed his ability to control Bisping on the ground to his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and training with some of the top grapplers in the world on a daily basis.
“I’ve been a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu for a while, I’ve had the humility to train with some of the best guys in the world, Rodrigo Cabral, Rodrigo Medeiros, and my coach from Gracie Barra, Roberto Tussa in Albuquerque, I mean these are some of the greatest grapplers on the planet, and these are the guys I roll with on a daily basis. Unless you train with the best, you’re never going to be the best, so I surround myself with the best and I guess the end result is being decent at jiu-jitsu. I’ve been doing this for 13 years, you guys haven’t seen anything on the ground yet. I got a lot more to show, you’re going to get little glimpses of what I can do, and that was a little glimpse, I got a lot more to show.”
Despite the victory, Kennedy was very critical of his performance, disappointed that he didn’t get the finish. Finding strictly negatives about his performance personally, and deflecting the praise to his coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn, and their gameplan.
“It was a good gameplan, my coaches put together what I was supposed to do–which is big entries, big punches, set up the takedowns, make him scared of the takedown so I could hit him with big punches. So good game planning by my coaches,” Kennedy said. “Another positive is, one of my friends was spit on, another one of my friends was illegally kneed on the ground and I wanted to get a little revenge, so I guess that’s a positive. I Got a long road to make sure I execute, what I’m supposed to do in a fight, which is finish fights. I’m a finisher, I have one of the highest finishing rates in the UFC. Michael Bisping is super tough, but I should’ve been able to finish him.
“I dont know, I don’t have anything positive right now. Ask me something I did bad and I can answer you.”
While it appeared momentum was about to shift in the 2nd round when Kennedy slowed down and Bisping was able to begin getting off on his strikes, throwing combinations. We later found out that it was due to the fact that Kennedy may have broken his hand in the first round.
“The rhythm change was to try and lure him forward, what Greg [Jackson] and [Mike] Winklejohn started screaming at me was I kept moving backwards, which is what you’re not supposed to do. You’re supposed to let them start moving forward and then you explode forward, I was like I’m going to move backwards, and then I’m going to move backwards some more,” Kennedy said followed by a sigh. “I think I broke my hand in the first round, I didn’t want to lie to you, so I’ll just be honest. I’m going to get an X-ray tomorrow. So I kind of had to stop being a pussy in the 2nd round, I was like ‘ahh my right hand really hurts, screw it I’ll hit him with it’.”
The 8th ranked Tim Kennedy is sure to see a bump in the UFC rankings come Monday morning, having defeated the 5th ranked Michael Bisping. However when asked if Kennedy was any closer to a middleweight title shot,
Dana White responded with “I have no idea. No idea.”
“I was disappointed. I finish fights and I didn’t finish the fight tonight, so that’s not touting, that was complaining about myself for sucking tonight.”
When asked if there was any opponent he wished to fight next, Kennedy named a couple of middleweights who are set to do battle in the near future. And ruled out fighting past any opponents that he had already fought.
“Mark Munoz, [Gegard] Mousasi, they’re right around me. They have a big fight coming up, that’s a big fight. Unfortunately both my Strikeforce team guys are in the same kind of rankings as I, with Luke Rockhold and Jacare [Souza]. They both have big fights, or Jacare I guess was calling the winner of Bisping and me out. I already fought both of them, I want to keep fighting marquee UFC guys. So Mark Munoz winning, if he beats Mousasi, that would be a good fight for me. I’m going to start calling guys out on twitter in about 5 days.”