Ladies and gents, it has finally happened. Michael Bisping will get his long awaited title shot this weekend at UFC 199 against Luke Rockhold for the middleweight championship. With his defeat of Anderson Silva, Bisping proved he was still relevant and top 5 in the division despite his detractors saying otherwise. He lost his first bout against Luke via submission, but the odds of that happening again to the Brit are less than they were the first go round for sure. Today, we look at five things The Count must do to win.
We have omitted fighting with revenge in mind because let’s be honest – this is about revenge.
Be Captain America
It’s a strange number one to be sure, but it has meaning. Just bear with me. Captain America is at his best in the final rounds, when he’s taken to the limit and has to dig deep. Michael Bisping is the same because when he is tested and pushed to the edge of defeat – that’s when he digs in and pulls victory out of the jaws of defeat. If Bisping takes cardio machine Rockhold in to the final rounds it becomes more about heart and he has it in spades. Heart in spades, yeah I just typed that. If he can’t finish Luke he can beat him 49-48 on the scorecards.
Use his quickness
Rockhold has a ridiculous size advantage over most middleweights and his reach is sometimes impenetrable. Bisping has made a living off of being hard to hit and landing the most strikes in his fights and there is a reason. He is unpredictable, technical, and quick on his feet making him a nightmare for counter-strikers.
Patience is a virtue
Bisping is patient and he makes people frustrated. Occasionally, the crowds boo the feeling out period of a bout, but they have come to understand the way Michael is calculating and methodical in his approach, and once he gets going the fight becomes a whirlwind. His haters will remind him of the Dan Henderson fight, but that was a frustrated Bisping who is in a different place mentally now, and the Silva win has helped to fade the knockout he received.
Takedowns must be fully committed
Bisping is a striker and while he does have a ground game it will not be where he wants to be with Luke. Michael must shoot hard for the takedowns if he wants to be successful. Any half hearted attempts will most likely end up with him being submitted. He must be quick enough to get a hold of him and take him down immediately because the longer he holds the bigger fighter the harder it will be to get him to the mat.
Great, don’t get cocky kid
Most fighters see themselves with the belt before, or during the fight only to lose. Chael Sonnen smashed Anderson Silva in their first bout, but lost in the fifth round via submission because he got sloppy. Bisping is not usually one to do that, but it has happened to champions, too. Michael needs to fight every round like he is losing on the scorecards and keep the pressure on. Luke could fold if he is not allowed to breathe from Michael’s constrictive style.
If Michael wins his bout the entire country of England will explode and many of the fans in the USA, including myself, will be cheering as well. Win or lose, Michael has earned this shot.