Michael Bisping vs Thales Leites

Top British middleweight Michael Bisping fought past a grisly toe injury to outpoint Thales Leites on Saturday night, taking a split decision (49-46, 48-47 and 47-48) in the main event at UFC Fight Night in Glasgow.

Taking place at the SSE Hydro Arena, the Englishman split the flesh in his big toe while throwing a kick but survived the Brazilian’s slick striking to earn triumph.

Fighting in Britain for the first time since 2010, Bisping was under pressure as Leites, 33, landed a variety of strikes against the fence before finishing the first session in back mount.

Things went from bad to worse for “The Count” as he injured his toe when attacking with low kicks, hopping away in pain as the visitor looked to pounce.

As the battle continued, the rivals landed bombs from crafty angles in round three, with both suffering cuts on the eyebrows from inside exchanges.

Still, Bisping hasn’t won 17 fights in the UFC for nothing. The Brit switched his tactics during the latter stages to pick his punches and show the classier striking to get the close judges’ nod.

The co-main event featured less joy for British warriors as lightweight Ross Pearson was outpointed by Evan Dunham with verdicts of 30-27 twice and 29-28.

Sunderland’s “Real Deal” fought off an armbar in round one while Dunham’s superiority in wrestling was the story of the bout.

The Las Vegas man was well ahead on the cards by the decider with this latest contest once again showing why Americans are some of the best wrestlers in the UFC.

In the same division Joe Duffy exhibited his boxing pedigree before submitting Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Ivan Jorge, at 3.05 of round one.

After Duffy buzzed his man on the feet Jorge pulled guard, only to fall straight into a tight triangle from the bottom. The Donegal man moved to 2-0 in the UFC just in time for the promotion’s return to Dublin in October.

Women’s strawweight mainstay Joanne Calderwood, 28, was backed up in round one by Cortney Casey-Sanchez before seeing out a verdict of 30-27 twice and 29-28.

After a hesitant start “JoJo” slowed the pace with a Muay Thai based assault, even scoring a knockdown with a spinning-back kick from close range. Scotland’s Calderwood was fine value for her victory in the end.

Birmingham welterweight Leon Edwards, 23, had to settle for a unanimous decision (30-27 x3) despite smashing Pawel Pawlek to the deck with a left high-kick.

The UTC man picked his moment to strike when Pawlek dropped his hands, but for the most part, the Englishman was frustrated by stalemate exchanges against the fence and on the mat. Edwards knocked out Seth Baczynski in eight seconds in April, but this time, his opponent cancelled him out.

Scottish lightweight Stevie Ray, the former Cage Warriors world champion, moved to 2-0 in the UFC by stopping Brazil’s Leonardo Mafra at 2.30 of round one.

Shipping a right counter down the pipe, Mafra stumbled and endured a barrage of blows before he was finally finished with ground strikes.

Fife’s Ray, 25, showed experience beyond his years to select his punches when he hurt the visitor.

Mickael Lebout of France, another 155lbs contender, dominated Finnish debutant Teemu Packalen earning scores of 30-27 twice and 29-28.

On the undercard, SBG Ireland flyweight Paddy Holohan notched up three convincing tallies of 30-27 to outgun Vaughan Lee.

Holohan, 27, attacked with triangles early in the initial scrambles but boxed and moved late on, throwing step-in elbows and spinning back-fists.

Home favourite Robert Whiteford and Allstars MMA ace Ilir Latifi both got it done early, scoring knockouts in the first round.

Featherweight Whiteford leaped into the crowd after stunning Ireland’s Paul Redmond, finishing with ruthless ground-and-pound at 3.04.

Light-heavyweight Latifi, the Swede, stopped Dutch jiu-jitsu practitioner Hans Stringer with a right counter bang on the chin at 0.56.

Elsewhere, bantamweight Jimmie Rivera ran through Marcus Brimage with a TKO at 1.29 of round one, while heavyweight Daniel Omielanczuk enjoyed early success against Daniel de la Rocha with a TKO in 48 seconds.

By Alistair Hendrie