After a solid block of preliminaries, Dana White makes his way to the floor at the O2 Arena, Baba O'Riley is queued up and we're ready to kick off the main event, broadcast live on Spike.
Cyrille Diabate vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Gustafsson lands a shot to the face that buckles the knees of Diabate. He clams up and stays alive but he's still in a lot of trouble. Gustafsson begins to lose his momentum and Diabate stands back up. Gustafsson tags him again. Diabate answers back and opens up a sloppy exchange on the feet.
Locked up in the clinch Gustafsson lifts Diabate and slams him to the mat. Gustafsson looks for an armbar. He can't get it but he gets the mount and tags Diabate with two sharp rights. In trouble, Diabate gives up his back and Gustafsson locks a rear naked choke that forces the tap.
Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
Travis Browne comes out swinging for the fences. He whiffs on a shot and almost falls over from the momentum. Browne is full of power. Kongo lands two leg kicks that dig into the meat. Browne goes after him again with everything he's got and gets Kongo on the run and backed against the cage. Kongo puts together a nice combo right before the ending bell.
Browne is using a lot fakes and feints but Kongo times one perfectly and lands a clean right hand, then promptly follows it up with a knee to the balls. Kongo opens up and chases Browne to the opposite side of the cage but most of the punches are blocked. Kongo locks it up against the fence and the ref puts an end to hug-fest. Browne misses with a big overhand right. Maybe he should grab some pointers from Roy Nelson. Just before the horn, Browne scores a big takedown.
Browne tries for an immediate takedown but it's stuffed and he drives forward and gets Kongo backed up on the fence again. The referee breaks the action and takes a point from Kongo, apparently for holding the shorts. I didn't see a warning, but he must have said something earlier. Kongo is all of a sudden more aggressive but soon goes back to the clinch. Kongo finally lets his hands go a little bit and Browne responds with a brief flurry of his own.
Another fight goes to the judges but this one ends in a draw.
John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle
Not afraid of the hostile British crowd, Mike Pyle comes out to an All-American rendition of Born in the USA.
Hathaway puts together a quick combo, ending with a glancing uppercut and cracks a crocked smile. A hard right form Pyle lands and knocks Hathaway off balance, but he recovers nicely. The hometown kid has gotten the crowd right back into this after a slow fight with Kongo. Pyle scores a nice trip a takedown and lands a big bomb on the ground.
Pyle is not interested in standing toe-to-toe with Hathaway but the Brit is doing a nice job of keeping things on the feet. Hathaway's confidence seems to grow every minute and he continues to stuff takedown and out-point his opponent. Pyle finally executes a good hip toss and gets Hathaway on the ground and locks in a sort of reverse triangle. He's not getting choked, but his head is hanging out unprotected and Pyle looks like he's trying to open up a cut as he cuts down with repeated elbows. The bell rings and no cut, but Hathaway has a big black and blue on his forehead.
Hathaway lands a nice right. Pyle gets his takedown early this time and rides out Hathaway for the rest of the round. Hathaway's wrestling is just not where it needs to be against a stud like Pyle. He showed impressive takedown defense in the first two rounds but on the mat, it was all Pyle.
Unanimous decision for Mike Pyle.
Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit
Following suit, Carlos gives a huge middle finger to the locals, as Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner rocks on the PA.
Hardy lands a deep leg kick. Condit lands a combo. Carlos Condit just landed a clean spinning back elbow –I think that's the first one of those I've ever seen land. Hardy comes back with an answer. Condit unleashes a beautiful combo, ending with a head kick. Both men throw left hooks at the same time, Condit's is just out in front by a split second and lands clean on the jaw. Hardy buckles and falls to his back, he's barely awake and Condit comes in for two more before Dan Miragliotta calls the TKO. Knockout of the night.
Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Akiyama lands a big right to open the bout. Flashback. Bisping goes for a takedown it's stopped. He follows up and it pays off, as Akiyama goes sailing to the canvas. He's right back up. Bisping lands a 1-2. And another. The spinning backfist makes another appearance. Right before the bell, Bisping files a flying knee, just to make sure everyone is paying attention.
Akiyama's right gets though again. Bisping is pretty active, throwing a lot of combos, but he's not landing at high percentage. An eye poke from Akiyama briefly pauses the action. Akiyama's right keeps scoring. As the round winds to a close, both fighters begin to let their hands go. Inside the 10 second warning Akiyama lands a barrage.
A clean right hand from Bisping has Akiyama a little disoriented. Bisping lands a kick right in the gibblies and Akiyama collapses, writhing in pain on the mat. It actually came at a pretty good time for Akiyama, as he was starting to head into troubled waters. Back to the action, the break seemed to have woken both guys up a bit. Bisping is more aggressive now and landing much more frequently. If he can put a little more mustard some of these rights, Akiyama could be in big trouble. Now it's Akiyama coming back and unloading everything he has in the final few seconds of the match. If he would have launched that kind of offense earlier in the fight, it might have turned out very differently, but instead it looks like BIsping is going to walk away with the decision win.
Bruce Buffer announces a unanimous decision for Bisping.