Saturday night in London was supposed to be another leap forward for mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the Great Britain.
Ideally, UFC 120: Bisping Vs. Akiyama would've given the local fans a chance to roar in live approval as favorites Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, and John Hathaway each put on dominant displays of some magnitude or another. Even if all didn't go according to plan, the organization was probably contemplating a lackluster victory or two, maybe one loss in three at worst.
Instead, the sport's popularity will continue to grow in the United Kingdom because it appears there's no stopping this particular train and it certainly won't be derailed in one four-hour span—no matter how catastrophic. But the anticipated leap became more of a tiptoe.
The Count managed to forge on in his quest for a middleweight title shot (chuckle), but he was the lone winner. The Outlaw was on the receiving end of punishment he's accustomed to dispatching while the Hitman got dominated from Minute 1 to Minute 15 in his bout.
Two Americans ruined part of the festivities when Carlos Condit clocked Hardy into oblivion after the latter spent most of the first round making the Natural Born Killer's game plan—stand and trade—look questionable at best. Only minutes earlier, the young Hathaway got severely outclassed veteran Mike Pyle.
Luckily for England and the UFC's promotional efforts across the Atlantic, the company's most bankable Brit—the abrasive Bisping—managed to pepper out a unanimous decision over a wilting Yoshihiro Akiyama in the main event.
The 31-year-old ended the evening on an triumphant note for his native land, but the rest of the card was a bit of a, ahem, howler...