Even though Alan Belcher required eight stitches to patch up a cut in his eyelid, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Michael Bisping believes "The Talent" looked for a way out of the UFC 159 co-main Saturday night (April 27, 2013) in Newark, New Jersey.
The fight was stopped in the weaning seconds of the third and final round when Bisping accidentally poked Belcher in his surgically repaired eye. The contest then went to the judge's scorecards where "The Count" was awarded the technical decision win.
While the finish of the fight was not ideal for any of the competitors involved, Bisping was happy with his efforts in the cage and has some positives to take away.
"I was happy with my performance," Bisping said at the UFC 159 post-fight press conference (watch it here). "It was obviously a very disappointing end to the fight. I was trying to finish the fight, I felt I was well in control, it's just one of those things. I was landing big shots, I was reading all his movements -- I could read him very well. It was unfortunate."
Unfortunate it was.
The nearly 15-minute battle was far from being a "Fight of the Night" contender, but after long and grueling training camps both men deserved the chance to fight to the final bell.
Bisping would have liked the opportunity to fight the remaining seconds an try and score a knockout; however, he feels Belcher was aware a loss was on the way and took the easy exit route from the fight.
"I wanted to finish him," Bisping said. "That's what I really wanted to do. I landed some big, heavy right hands and he led on the floor a little bit maybe. Who knows, I think maybe he looked for a way out."
Even though Bisping's claims have undisputedly been proven wrong in the form of more than half a dozen stitches currently in Belcher's eyelid, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 3 winner wants fans to remember his effort until the fight-ending sequence, not the poke itself.
"I don't think [the eye poke] took away from the fight," Bisping said. "I don't think it affected the fight -- I was clearly winning."