Bisping edges Leites by split decision

Published on Saturday, 7/18/15, at 5:28 p.m. Eastern.

Michael Bisping captured a split-decision win (49-46, 47-48, 48-47) over Thales Leites in Saturday’s main event at UFC Fight Night 72 in Scotland. The 36-year-old middleweight hooked up his betting supporters as a -135 favorite, while ‘over’ backers (3.5 rounds) also cashed tickets.

It was a difficult fight to score. Leites was in control of the Octagon for most of the fight, one that was waged standing for nearly all of the last three rounds. Leites seemed to land the harder shots, but Bisping appeared to connect with more volume. He was also effective by tagging Leites with a slew of inside leg kicks.

Leites hurt Bisping with a strong combination early in Round 2. The strikes opened up a cut above Bisping’s left eye. However, the TUF Season 3 winner weathered the storm, recovered quickly and created a cut above Leites’s right eye later in the stanza.

Bisping has now won back-to-back fights and three of his last four, with the only defeat coming to current No. 1 contender Luke Rockhold. The victory keeps his career-long dream of getting a title shot at 185 pounds alive.

The loss was the first for Leites in nearly five years, halting an eight-fight winning streak.

In the co-main event, Evan Dunham pulled an upset over Ross Pearson with a unanimous-decision victory (30-27 twice, 29-28) as a +190 underdog. Dunham controlled the fight with his wrestling and grappling, nearly finishing the bout in the opening round with an armbar that Pearson somehow got out of after refusing to tap.

Dunham didn’t want to stand with Pearson and was able to get the takedown early in all three rounds. The ‘over’ (even money) was a loser and a heartbreaker after Dunham seemed seconds away from a submission in Round 1.

In other news today, the UFC announced that Daniel Cormier will defend his light-heavyweight title for the first time against Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson at UFC 192 in Houston on Oct. 3. Cormier is currently listed as a -285 ‘chalk’ at 5Dimes.

If Jon Jones hasn’t sorted out his legal issues by October, we’ll likely see the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans get a title shot versus the Cormier-Gustafsson winner early in 2016. Bader vs. Evans is also on the Houston card and will probably be the co-main event.

Share this post: