AFTER his first year in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Clitheroe cage fighter Michael The Count' Bisping has been honoured in the brand's unofficial half-year awards'.

The awards, listed on the UFC's official website, highlight the best action of 2007 so far.

And the rising star's last fight, against veteran Elvis Sinosic at the Manchester Arena in April, has been hailed as the fifth best of the year.

Bisping, 28, said: "Obviously it's the unofficial awards' so I won't get too excited but it is great to be recognised.

"In the UFC there is an event every month - with about 10 fights on each card - so to be picked as one of the top fights is really an honour."

The former pupil of St. Augustine's RC High School, Billington, defeated the 36-year-old Aussie in the second round by technical knock out in front of 14,921 fans but there were some tense moments in the fight.

He said: "The first half was really good for me, but in the second round he set me up with a good knee and he had me in some submission moves.

"He came back and really turned the tables, and that made it a really exciting fight."

Now he hopes to continue his mixed martial arts undefeated streak of 14 wins (three in UFC) in eight weeks' time when he comes up against an old foe.

Bisping secured his $1million UFC contract by winning reality TV show Ultimate Fighter 3 last year and will fight his former housemate from the show, Matt Hamill.

The atmosphere between the two was tense during filming so he is looking forward to settling their dispute once and for all'.

He said: "Me and Matt didn't really get along so this is a good old fashioned grudge match for us.

"He has been calling me out and wants to show the world who is the ultimate fighter - so I'm looking forward to getting in there, shutting him up once and for all and teaching him some respect."

The pair will square up at the O2 Arena in London on September 8.

Details of his training will be available on his new website set to be launched in a week.