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Kennedy beats Bisping to stay perfect in UFC

Apr. 17, 2014 - 05:31PM   |  
Tim Kennedy
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Like many fighters before him, Tim Kennedy wanted to shut Michael Bisping up.

That didn’t happen Wednesday night. But the sergeant first class in the Texas Army National Guard can take some solace in a five-round unanimous decision over “The Count,” which he earned by smothering Bisping on the mat for almost half of their fight in Quebec City, Quebec — and by more than holding his own in stand-up exchanges for the other half.

But after the judges’ scorecards were read, Kennedy’s post-fight interview was interrupted by Bisping (25-6) before the special operator could manage much more than a sentence.

Bisping expressed respect for Kennedy’s in-ring talent and military service. Kennedy said he respected Bisping. They made a half-hearted attempt at a handshake — and so ended a months-long outpouring of bad blood that included trash-talking during photo ops and parody web videos.

“I hit Mike with my best shots,” Kennedy (18-4) said after he got the microphone back, adding, “I’m just going to keep getting better.”

The bout served as the main event for “The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale.”

Kennedy took Bisping down about a minute into the first round and all but smothered him until the bell sounded, bloodying the Brit’s nose in the closing seconds. Bisping stayed off the mat in the second round and returned the favor, bloodying Kennedy’s nose as the middleweights traded punches.

The third round played out much like the first — the special operator in control on the ground, but Bisping able to ride out the barrage. The fourth saw Kennedy stagger Bisping with right hands, but Bisping ended the round with quick strikes that sent more blood running down Kennedy’s nose.

The pattern continued, with Kennedy taking down Bisping about a minute into the fifth and final round. With 2:20 left in the fight, referee Yves Lavigne stood up both fighters, likely because Kennedy wasn’t doing much more than pinning Bisping to the mat. The men traded punches and kicks for the rest of the fight, neither getting in serious trouble.

Both raised their hands in victory after the final bell. The judges agreed with Kennedy, making him 3-0 in the UFC and likely moving him up the middleweight rankings: Bisping entered the fight ranked fifth, Kennedy came in eighth.

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