UFC Fight Night: Michael Bisping's return spoilt by dominant Tim Kennedy
Last Updated: 19/04/14 5:35pm
Michael Bisping's return to the Octagon ended in a lacklustre defeat as Tim Kennedy took a unanimous decision victory with a stifling performance.
An eye injury had sidelined Bisping for the past year and he was unable to prevent Kennedy's takedowns and positional superiority on his comeback at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in Quebec City, Canada.
The middleweight pair had exchanged ferocious words but it is Kennedy that emerged with his career highlight while the door closes further on the 35-year-old Bisping ever competing for a world title.
The judges awarded Kennedy a 49-46, 49-46, 50-45 victory with Bisping only laying claim to the second round.
Kennedy secured a takedown within a minute and held Bisping down for the opening round, before the Lancashire fighter rebounded by forcing a stand-up contest in the second and winning that battle with shots from the outside.
Another takedown in the third led to Kennedy dominating top position without doing any significant harm although he also landed the fight's best strike in the fourth by wobbling Bisping.
The English veteran needed to pull something out of the bag in the closing stanza but had looked rusty all night and Kennedy again persevered with a takedown and submissive ground control.
Kennedy said afterwards: "I finish fights, I didn't finish the fight tonight.
"I hit him with my best shots, my hat's off to him and I respect him. I'm just going to keep getting better. "
Bisping took the opportunity to quash any pre-fight issues between the two.
"What happened has happened," he said. "It's done, it's history, congratulations."