UFC 148 – The good, The Bad and the Ugly

Been a while since I did a post-event run down but after Saturdays event, I feel it’s time to bring this bad boy back. It was one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history, but it left a bad taste in some peoples mouths and was not without it’s contentious moments. It was also a card that was mostly disappointing. The co-main event showcased just how much Tito has declined, I still feel he won the fight, but he looked slow and gassed hard at the end. Forrest was back to his bizarro-best (worst?) and ruined Tito’s last ever moments in the Octagon, a moment that win or lose he deserved to have.
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UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs Davis – Preview and Predictions (Main Card Only)

Without so much as a pause for breath, the heavy 2012 schedule for the UFC continues unabated with UFC on Fox 2. This is an event with some BIG fights that have real meaning on the title picture in the 185lbs and 205lbs divisi,ons. The UK’s own Michael Bisping could finally get the UFC title shot he has dreamt of with a strong showing on Saturday night. He will have it all to do however, if he is to get past the outstanding wrestling of Chael Sonnen. Bisping was bumped up to fight Sonnen after the unfortunate withdrawal of Mark Munoz due to injury. Bisping is a heavy underdog in this match but ‘Count’* him out at your peril. With only 3 defeats in 25 fights and a long and successful UFC career behind him he is a legit opponent for Sonnen. Sonnen has lobbied for a rematch with Anderson Silva ever since the Spiders amazing come comeback snatched the title back from under Chael’s nose. With a win here, Sonnen is the out-and-out #1 contender and Dana White has stated that Silva WILL rematch him for the title in the summer.
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TUF 14 Finale : Bisping vs Miller – Preview and Prediction

TUF 14 has been one of the best series so far, with some of the most talented fighters ever to take part in the show duking it out for our viewing pleasure and their place in the MMA premier league. As ever at the the finale, the series coaches will face each other in the headline bout. This is a much talked about fight: The American audience particularly absolutely hate Bisping and Miller is a massive fan favourite around the world. To be fair, I think Bisping hasn’t done himself any favours in the series. I’m a fan of him as a fighter and a proud supporter of UKMMA and always root for the UK guys doing well for themselves in big organisations all over the world. However even I have sat watching TUF this year thinking that Bisping is coming off like a bit of an arsehole. Particularly when he was shown pretty much beating the crap out of one of his team who was next in line to fight (can’t remember which cast member it was, but if you’ve seen the show you’ll know who I mean). He also missed fights, fight picks and weigh-ins with no decent explanation and that has to be demoralising for his team. Miller, by contrast, seems to have a great rapport with this team and his cageside coaching has been much more precise and deliberate than Bispings.
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UFC 136: Edgar vs Maynard 3 – Preview and Predictions

The fourth UFC show in as many weeks is looming and has two titles up for grabs. In the previous two weeks we have seen Dominick Cruz successfully defend his Bantamweight title and Jon Jones defend his Light Heavyweight title. It was Jones who was the last successful title challenger in the UFC, when he won the belt from Shogun in such spectacular fashion back in March this year. In the five title fights that have taken place across all divisions since Jones’ victory, no title has changed hands. In fact you have to go back to Lesnar vs Velasquez almost a year ago to find the last successful title challenge prior to Jones. It seems then, that title belts changing hands in the UFC is becoming a rarer and rarer event! UFC 136 though, brings us the very real possibility of both the Lightweight and Featherweight titles changing hands on the same night. Edgar and Aldo, the respective champions of their divisions face their toughest opponents in Maynard and Florian. Obviously there is a history between Edgar and Maynard and their last title bout – ironically on the event titled Resolution – actually resolved nothing, ending in a split draw. Aldo became the first ever UFC featherweight champion after defending the WEC belt at WEC 51 and the WEC was absorbed into the UFC. In Kenny Florian he faces an opponent with a tonne of big show experience and he will be at a severe size disadvantage, with Florian having competed at every weight from 185lbs downwards in the UFC.
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Everyone wants to fight Mike!

Michael Bisping

Image via Wikipedia

It’s not really news to say that Mike Bisping is one of the most widely-hated fighters in the UFC. Something about him really seems to rub up the (mostly american) fans the wrong way. Maybe they just don’t get his sense of humour? His appearance on TUF9 where he came across very brash and cocky didn’t do him any favours either, but I like him. Seems I am in the minority though and in recent months a few UFC fighters have started putting his name about as a fighter they want to face.

Irrespective of his fan popularity, Mike Bisping has earned his stripes in the 185lbs division. In my opinion he can stake a legitimate claim as a top 5 middleweight in the UFC and there is a big crosshair centred on his forehead right now!

Fighters were calling him out prior to his most recent appearance in the octagon. Nate Marquardt was the first to mention him as a possible opponent after his win against Palhares. It was a fight Bisping wanted, but Marqaurdt was matched against Okami and lost that match so is now unlikely to face Bisping who has won three on the bounce now.

In january Anderson Silva said to ESPN that he would love to fight Bisping in the UK A fight I’m sure all UK fans would love too, but not one that is on the immediate horizon methinks.

However since UFC127 and the furore that has surrounded Bispings illegal knee and the spitting incident a few others have joined the fray all clamouring for a fight against the Brit. We can add world-class shit-talker Chael Sonnen and the Phenom Vitor Belfort to that list now. These two fights are VERY possible and would make sense in the grand scheme of the divisions. However I don’t think either of these are a particularly great fight for the Brit in terms of getting another tick in the “w” column, but they are the sort of opponent he needs to face if he wants to get his hands on the title.

From a pure fighting viewpoint, I think Bisping vs Belfort would be a more fan-friendly fight as it would take place mostly on the feet and would almost certainly end within the distance. Obviously it isn’t my job to make fights, but if I were Joe Silva (and Sonnen gets through his impending court case relatively unscathed) I would be booking Chael vs Bisping. Sonnen made his name for shit-talking opponents and after the way Rivera got under Bispings skin it would create a huge hype train for the fight if he copped it both barrells from Sonnen.

Bisping would have an awful lot to do to win either of these fights. Belfort is the far superior boxer and grappler and Bisping would have his hands full there. Against Chael he would be pure wrestle stomped, but I would LOVE to see that fight as the off-chance that Bisping would shut Chael up would be great to see and the fight build up would be great entertainment.

It will definitely be interesting to see what Joe Silva line up for these guys and we could end up with the Bisping vs Okami curve ball. Also Demian Maia is in the mix somewhere there and these are interesting times in the middleweight division. Should GSP beat Jake Shields, move up to 185lbs and then go on to fight and beat Anderson Silva, all bets are off and the division would be thrown wide-open.