UFC 159: You'll poke your eye out.
MMA gloves suck, and Saturday, April 27's action solidified this notion with multiple eye pokes—none worse than the fight-ending blow in the evening's co-main event.
Michael "The Count" Bisping caught Alan "The Talent" Belcher with a clean index finger to the eyeball, and Belcher crumpled immediately, clutching his bleeding eye. The referee was forced to halt the fight and call upon the judges to issue the evening's second technical decision.
After so much trash talk and anticipation, the ending was a major letdown to an otherwise solid showing by Bisping.
What we'll remember about this fight
Any time a fight ends in strange, technical-decision fashion, the finishing blow is obviously what fans will remember most about the bout.
However, if we try to pretend the poke did not happen, Bisping would have cruised to a unanimous decision. In that case, we would have recalled Bisping's conditioning, quick, accurate strikes and relentless attack.
Belcher had no answers for Bisping's speed through nearly 15 minutes of action. This fight proved that Bisping represents an upper echelon of middleweight fighters and Belcher does not.
What we learned about Michael Bisping
Nothing. We knew Bisping was quick, we knew he was well conditioned and we knew he could outpoint anyone for 15 minutes with his striking. In predicting this fight, you probably opted for a Bisping decision, and you probably thought it would look exactly like it did.
What we learned about Alan Belcher
He needs to wear safety goggles at all times. Poor Belcher has suffered injury after injury to his eyeballs, and the poke that concluded this bout may put his career in jeopardy.
Before the poke, though, we saw that Belcher was too slow and too tired to keep up with Bisping. If The Talent wants to reclaim his status as a top middleweight inside the Octagon, he will need to revamp his training regimen and work on his conditioning first and foremost.
What's next for Bisping
Bisping is in an interesting position. He's good enough for another No. 1 contender fight, but will he get one? If so, who does the middleweight division have to offer right now?
The winner of Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Constantinos Philippou at UFC on FX 8 sounds like a reasonable opponent to me.
What's next for Belcher
A visit to the optometrist is first up for Belcher. By the time he is ready to go, the middleweight division may look completely different, but I like the loser of Luke Rockhold vs. Vitor Belfort for the Talent's UFC return.