In celebration of The UFC’s grand return to the UK, weather permitting, of course, we have decided to bring you the second of our eight-part fun facts series. The articles focus on some of the lesser-known trivia from our hometown shows. Today’s focus is on the land of the free. It’s the UFC in Scotland.
UFC in Scotland: What’s The History?
Glasgow is the only Scottish city to host the global combat leaders, with the SSE/OVO Hydro playing host to both the events. The first event in Alba was UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Leites in February of 2015.
UFC in Scotland Equals Another Record to Count for the Count
Headlining the card against Thales Leites, Micheal Bisping became the first fighter to the main event for the UFC in four different UK destinations.
Even more impressively, he has won the main event in each of them. The feat is unlikely to be met with many challenges in the near future.
- London (Akiyama, Anderson Silva)
- Glasgow (Leites)
- Manchester (Henderson)
- Birmingham (Leben)
Following a decision victory over Leites, Bisping’s next three opponents were Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson.
This is considered the most remarkable underdog run in the sports young history. “The Count” defied all odds by beating one of the greatest to throw a front kick since Sensai Seagal himself, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
He would follow this by conquering what many considered the most well rounded and dominant looking champions of the day, Luke Rockhold, earning a shiny UFC belt and a new nickname, Left Hook Larry, to go along with it.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
One of the original Scottish flag bearers in the UFC, Robert Whiteford, became the first Scottish competitor and victor in the UFC as he flatlined Paul Redmond. Whiteford went on a two-fight skid following the win, resulting in him being cut from the UFC. He returned to Glasgow following this, where he would again win, and hasn’t lost since.
The only fight on the UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leite’s card not to feature a European fighter was the debut and only European fight so far for Jimmie Riviera. Riviera knocked out TUF alumni Marcus Brimage on the prelims. This would be the only knockout of Riviera’s UFC career and his second total. He had won by stoppage the fight before getting signed.
The night started in a fan-friendly manner, with three consecutive first-round knockouts. The aforementioned Riviera and Whiteford were joined by Polish MMA legend Daniel Omielańczuk, who picked up the quickest knockout in the short history of the UFC in Scotland, flatlining Chris De La Rocha in only 48 seconds.
Four fights later, the record was nearly caught as Swedish powerhouse Ilir Latifi knocked out Dutch fighter Hans Stringer. Latifi finished the fight with a counter left followed by a diving right to his grounded foe, winning in 56 seconds. In total, the first UFC in Scotland had six total first-round finishes on the card.
Rainy Day for the Scots
The UFC’s return to Glasgow for UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio was a much less fortunate affair for the Scottish delegation. Out of the four that fought, only debutant Danny Henry came out victorious. He took on Daniel Teymur, who was previously undefeated.
Santiago Ponzinibio became the first South American to win by knockout in the OVO Hydro in the main event. He overcame the odds to defeat SBG’s Icelandic grappling wizard Gunnar Nelson.
The Brazilians finally got a win in Caledonia. It was their first in five attempts, as Alexandre Pantoja choked out Irishman Neil Seery in the Irishman’s last fight.
In another unfortunate turn for the Irish, Galore Bofano gained a victory over SBG fighter Charlie Ward after he lawn darted Ward headfirst into the canvas and separated him from consciousness.
Ward was released shortly after and is currently experiencing a career resurgence in Bellator.
Bofano only had one more fight in the UFC before being released, yet it is still part of a more recognisable knockout in Scottish UFC history.
Well, that’s all for Scotland until the UFC decides to invade Glasgow once again put the world-famous Scottish fans.
What would be your dream headliner for a UFC return to Scotland?.