UFC middleweight contender Tim Kennedy (18-4 MMA, 3-0 UFC) defeated Michael Bisping (24-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale in Quebec City on Wednesday night in what was arguably the most important win of his career. An ugly war of words took place between the combatants in the run up to this fight, and both men entered the octagon looking like they meant business. This victory was rendered all the more impressive given the fact the Kennedy broke his hand early in the fight. The Californian confirmed the news on Twitter earlier today:

Kennedy was the more active man over the course of the fight. He landed 48% of signature strikes (51 of 106) and 45% of total strikes (76 of 141), and his takedown success was 45% (5 of 11), according to Fight Metric. Bisping landed 40 of 137 signature strikes and 53 of 151 total strikes with no takedowns.

Bisping’s one-year injury layoff showed as he looked a little octagon rusty, but Kennedy never allowed the Englishman to settle, and the former Army captain used his wrestling expertise to frustrate Bisping when he needed to. At the end of the fight, all three judges scored in favor of Kennedy, 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45. “I’m furious,” said Kennedy in the Octagon afterwards about not ending the fight, before addressing Bisping directly. “I hit you with my best shots. You took them. I have nothing but respect for you.”

Bisping, to his credit, put an end to any perceived feud between the two when he replied in kind: “I have all the respect in the world for what you did in the military, and you could be the nicest guy on the face of the earth. I understand that you had to promote the fight. What’s happened has happened. No hard feelings here, congratulations.”

It will be interesting to see what Dana White has in store for Kennedy next once he recovers from his broken hand. For Bisping, this loss now firmly places him in a gatekeeper role in the middleweight division. Check out the fight highlights: