Michael Bisping's UFC middlewight title shot will be put on hold after an eye injury picked up in his last fight against Alan Belcher is likely to put him out of action until October, reports ESPN.
A legion of potential opponents must now wait to see him back in the octagon as he recovers from a detached retina suffered at UFC 159.
In a bizarre twist following the Englishman's technical-decision victory over Belcher in Newark in April, which ended with Belcher floored following an accidental eye-poke, it is Bisping who emerged with a serious eye injury while Belcher escaped with stitches to a gashed eyelid.
In the first round, Bisping established himself as the more well-rounded fighter, when he managed to out-box his opponent, score a brief trip take-down, as well as landing a very accurate, clean and extremely solid knee, whereas the only mountable offense Belcher managed were a few kicks that landed, but were only glancing attacks.
Bisping then noticeably stepped up the pace of the fight in round two (after a relatively slow-paced first round), landing some heavy kicks and multiple combinations of solid punches.
The fight was then stopped at 4:29 of round three as Bisping inadvertently poked Belcher in the eye, rendering Belcher unable to continue. Bisping won the bout via a clear and unanimous, technical decision. The judges' scores in Bisping's favour read exactly: 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
"After the fight against Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping completely lost all peripheral vision in his right eye," UFC Tonight host Ariel Helwani announced on FUEL TV.
"He went to see an eye on doctor on Tuesday and he found out that he had a detached retina. On Thursday, he had surgery to fix the detached retina. He's hoping to return to the UFC in October."
The news is a blow to Bisping's hopes of moving into title contention, particularly with Rich Franklin, Luke Rockhold, Constantinos Philippou and Cung Le each calling out the Manchester-based fighter in recent weeks.
On the plus side, the enforced period on the side lines gives Bisping the opportunity to recover from another surgery, a planned minor procedure to correct a nagging nerve issue in his vertebrae.
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