This past weekend's sold-out UFC event in London, UFC Fight Night 84, was one to remember as much for its bizarre moments as it was for the excitement provided by the fighters. Here's a recap of the most strange and sensational highlights.
Arnold Allen is among Britain's top MMA prospects, and looked to improve his record in London when he faced veteran Yaotzin Meza. The young featherweight eventually got the win via unanimous decision, but came painfully close to getting the stoppage at end of round one.
Allen dropped Meza with a solid punch at the last second to close out the first round, and seemed convinced he'd finished the fight as he slammed his gumshield into the canvas and let out a roar of victory. But, unfortunately for the Brit and much to the disappointment of the fans in attendance, the referee hadn't called a stop to the action and the fight continued. What makes this rare incident all the more bizarre is that another, very similar incident would occur later that same evening...
Michael Bisping was looking outstanding in the early rounds against former middleweight champ Anderson Silva in the UFC Fight Night 84 main event. But the tides turned when Anderson showed a flash of the brilliance he is known for and landed a flying knee that knocked down Bisping at the end of round three.
The entire situation was chaotic - firstly, Bisping dropped his guard when he dropped his gumshield and signaled to referee Herb Dean to pause the action so he could put it back in. Then, after the knee landed as a result of Bisping dropping his guard and Dean had stepped in to end the round, Anderson assumed he had gotten the win and began celebrating - shades of Allen vs. Meza - before being talked down by officials and his cornermen. Order was eventually restored and the fight continued, but the air of confusion seemed to remain in the O2 Arena for some time.
One more chance¬†for 'One Punch'
37-year-old Brad Pickett entered the Octagon against Francisco Rivera on a three-fight losing streak, with talks of possible retirement following 'One Punch' closely. As he revealed after the fight, a loss could have spelled the end for the Englishman.
"I started my career here in London and I was prepared to finish it here tonight, but I want to carry on fighting as long as I can - stay on this horse," an emotional Pickett said in his post-fight interview. "The crowd here in London means a lot to me, this company means a lot to me, so I'm happy I've stayed within a job. Tonight I was fighting, not just for my newborn son, my family, but for my job. I'm old, I'm from a working-class background. I just want to work hard and put food on the table."
As luck would have it, Pickett got the decision win and will live to fight another day. It is unclear whether or not his next loss will spell the end of his pro MMA career, but his mind surely won't be occupied with such thoughts; at least for now.
Bisping vs. Silva was nothing if not¬†controversial, both during and after the fight. After the bizarreness surrounding Anderson's flying knee at the midpoint, more heat was stirred up after the fight was done and the judges' verdict was announced.¬†
Bisping was awarded the unanimous decision win after five rounds, though there were certainly those who felt Silva had done enough to deserve the victory. But, regardless of that, to see the elation of Bisping at picking up the biggest win of his career in his native England was something special. Seeing one of the all-time greats of MMA in Anderson Silva being beaten is a rare sight in itself, so to see such a thing set to the backdrop of a passionate, sold-out crowd in the winner's own country is a momentous thing indeed.