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UFC 127 preview: Can Michael Bisping take out the smack talking veteran Jorge Rivera?

Michael Bisping (left) will try and shut Jorge Rivera up, and then down at UFC 127. Photo credit: UFC

In this piece we look to preview the co-main event of “UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch“, a middleweight match-up between Michael “The Count” Bisping and Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera.

If you haven’t heard, there’s been a lot of heat building in this one sparked by some Youtube videos done by Rivera leading up to this fight.

Those videos may have gotten under the skin of Bisping, which could make for a spectacular throw-down in Sydney, Australia this weekend.

Jorge Rivera comes into this match-up riding a three-fight win streak, finishing his last two opponents with heavy punches. He brings an overall record of (19-7) with 13 wins via TKO/KO and two wins via submission.

That’s an incredible finishing rate of 79% in his wins.  Rivera prefers to fight standing and has really heavy hands as evident by the number of TKO/KO wins in his career.

Michael Bisping comes into this match-up with a career record of (19-3) with 12 wins via TKO/KO and four via submission. He is 2-2 in his last four fights, winning a decision against Yoshihiro Akiyama in his last outing.

Bisping is like the middleweight version of Forrest Griffin.  He’s not going to knockout anyone out with one punch. He usually wins just by the sheer volume of strikes he throws combined with good conditioning.

Linesmaker has Bisping as the huge betting favorite at (-500) with Rivera as the underdog at (+300).

While both fighters are pretty well rounded, they both prefer to stand up and trade strikes. If I were a betting man, I’d probably put a small wager on Rivera on these odds because this fight will probably not hit the ground often. That is unless someone is knocked down.

As I mentioned earlier, Bisping doesn’t have huge power in his strikes, so the edge there certainly goes to Rivera. Bisping will probably be the busier fighter, but Rivera is pretty accurate with the strikes that he does throw.

I think the trash talk that Rivera has done will play a factor in this fight as well. It was probably done purposely to try and get Bisping to get into a slug-fest with the heavy-handed Rivera.

So it’s going to be volume of punches against economical power shots in this one. We’ve seen Bisping get flat-lined by Dan Henderson and rocked by Wanderlei Silva as both guys have big power. Rivera certainly has a shot here, as 15 minutes is a long time to go without getting stunned and finished.

The fight is going to go one of two ways in that Bisping will just out-point the aging Rivera winning a decision, or Rivera will land a big shot and follow up on those to put Bisping away. Bisping is the favorite, but I like Rivera here for the possible upset as well.

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