Three weeks after losing the UFC middleweight championship to Georges St-Pierre in New York, Michael Bisping got back in action against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai, and it proved to be a bad decision.
Gastelum bounced back into the winning column with a first-round knockout in China, landing a vicious left hand that dropped Bisping unconscious. Gastelum followed up with more punches, but referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight at the 2:30 mark of the opening round.
“Man, this is the biggest win in my career,” Gastelum said after the win. “I’m gonna try not to get emotional. I have a huge amount of respect for Bisping.”
“That’s something we trained a lot,” he said of the punch that finished “The Count”. “He throws a mean left hook and an awesome straight right, so that’s something we worked on a lot.”
The 26-year-old talent went on to ask for a shot at interim champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 221, pay-per-view event scheduled for Feb. 10 in Perth, Australia.
“Well, I heard a rumor that Robert Whittaker needs a main event in February in Australia,” Gastelum said. “I’m up for the challenge.”
Bisping, who lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his MMA career, made it clear that he will fight one more time before retiring.
“Kelvin is a great guy,” Bisping said, “but unfortunately it’s going to take a bigger pile of shit to get rid of me.”
“I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying myself. He caught me with a good shot. God bless Kelvin, he’s young. I’ve done this for a long time. I’m getting old, I’m getting old, but God bless you all for being here.”
Jingliang Li scored a big first-round finish in his co-main event bout with Zak Ottow. Li landed two good right hands that rocked Ottow before he eventually knocked him down with another straight punch. Li went for the finish on the ground, landing heavy punches and forcing referee Herb Dean to save Ottow from more damage.
Li is now riding a four-fight winning streak in the welterweight division with a trio of knockout finishes, boosting his UFC record to 6-2.
“Championship. This is all I want,” Li said through a translator. “I want to dominate in my division and get the championship.”
The Chinese party continued with featherweight Wang Guan, who made his Octagon debut against Alex Caceres and scored his eighth victory in a row with a dominant performance to improve to 20-1-1 in MMA.
Guan knocked Caceres down with a vicious left hand and landed vicious punches, but somehow “Bruce Leroy” survived and was saved by the bell. Guan rocked Caceres again in the second round and scored another knockdown in the third, but the win came via split decision.
The preliminary portion of the card included some exciting contests and first-round finishes, like Renan Song’s 15-second knockout over Bobby Nash (watch here), but Zabit Magomedsharipov was the star of the undercard.
Facing UFC newcomer Sheymon Moraes in a featherweight bout, Magomedsharipov completely dominated the Brazilian for 15 minutes, dictating the rhythm of the contest with spinning attacks and takedowns, getting to the mount and back control in multiple occasions.
Magomedsharipov came close to earning a TKO victory with a heavy ground and pound in the second round, but the finish only came with 30 seconds left in the final round, when he locked in an anaconda choke and forced Moraes to tap (watch here).
Now riding a 10-fight winning streak with nine stoppages, including a pair of submissions under the UFC banner, Magomedsharipov suggested a fight with Yair Rodriguez next.
“I wanna fight with some ranked fighter, in the top 15,” Magomedsharipov said through a translator. “I believe Yair Rodriguez is going to be good match-up for me because many people think we’re like the same in the striking style. I think it should be good fight.”
Chinese fighters went 3-3 in the undercard, with wins by Kenan Song, Xiaonan Yan and Yadong Song. Click here for UFC Shanghai results.