Rockhold vs. Bisping 2: Predictions

The Story so Far

After Chris Weidman was forced to pull out of UFC 199, as a result of a serious neck injury, Michael Bisping was asked to step up. Jacare Souza the Middleweight Division’s #2 Contender declined the fight, likewise due to injury, which left the door of opportunity open. A fiery competitor, Bisping will have two weeks to prepare for his shot at the title. But even with the shortened camp he’s as confident as ever.

“I know (Rockhold is) technically very good, but I’ve been in there with him. I’ve felt him. I’ve sparred him for five rounds once, and I whooped his ass there,” Bisping said on Sirius XM’s The Luke Thomas Show. “I know what I’m expecting. I know what I’m getting myself into. Is he going to have better cardio than me on that night? Of course he is. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. I’m going to go forward and I’m going to fight with everything I’ve got. No one’s got more heart than me.”

Reality Kicks In

Bisping can say it “doesn’t matter” how long a camp he has, but the fact of the matter is – it’s a big deal. A shortened training camp means less time to dissect video of Luke Rockhold, and fewer opportunities to look for weaknesses. It also means less time to physically prepare his own body. Bisping wasn’t gearing up for a fight at all before accepting this bout. In fact, he was training for his upcoming role in the latest installment of xXx. There is a big difference between being in “great shape” and getting into fighting shape.

This reality isn’t exactly positive for a guy whose last loss came to Rockhold in 2014. The good news however is that Rockhold also, has only 2 weeks to prepare. Rockhold knew he was fighting someone, so it won’t have quite the same effect, but it will be a wildcard..

Jason Parillo (Michael Bisping’s coach) in his conversation with Submission radio:

“Where is the gameplan? We got two weeks to prepare for a fight. We gotta go, we gotta stay sharp like we did [against] Anderson. He avoided a lot of Anderson’s Bullshit. He’s gotta fight his fight. Mike’s gotta take control of this fight and let Luke in his mind right now and sort of be his nemesis, okay? Because he thinks that he can whoop Mike. When he finds that that’s not going to happen, when he finds out that Mike’s digging into him and he’s making him pay, we’re going to flip the script. You know, Mike believes in himself. Mike’s got the ability to beat him. Anyone can win on any night if you’ve got the right tools to be there. Mike’s got the tools to be there. Mike’s a top ten guy. Mike’s a top-four, top-five guy right now. He’s there for a reason. He’s not just there because he was gifted that. You know, the promotion, nobody’s been doing that guy favors. He’s fighting top-ten guys every fight. He’s a mentally tough son-of-a-bitch, man. You know, on different levels. And for me, we can look at it as a blessing. We spend 10 weeks sometimes and we’re burnt out, but Mike needs to do it. Mike’s mind needs to do it, work out hard that time. He’s going to be fine. Mike’s gonna give Luke a shock.”


Breakdown

Michael “The Count” Bisping – (28-7) Bisping has won each of his last three fights. He has much more UFC experience than Rockhold, but at the same time, he is quite a bit older. At 37 years of age, this is Bisping’s first shot at middleweight gold.

As a fighter, he’s technically sound with his footwork, and relies heavily on his ability to land a high volume of punches over the course of a fight. He doesn’t necessarily have that big power punch, but he has demonstrated an ability to finish. Bisping has as much heart as anyone, which may account for his tendency to try and outlast the competition.

Bisping has some impressive wins in his career. Most notable, and recent, he defeated Anderson Silva, taking the win by way of a controversial decision. Westling, Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing are all areas of strength for “The Count.”


Luke Rockhold – (15-2) Rockhold is riding a five fight win streak, and has won 14 of his last 15. He outright dominated Chris Weidman in his last fight, and the judges scored every round in favor of Rockhold. After a technical knockout of Weidman, he clinched the Middleweight Belt.

Rockhold trains with Daniel Cormier and Cain Velazquez at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). He has an extremely strong base in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, and Kick Boxing. A World Champion in Jiu-Jitsu, he holds the record for most submission victories in Strikeforce history.

While his last loss was to Vitor Beltfor in 2013, Rockhold has made significant improvements since. His striking is where he especially excels, and his ‘Question Mark’ kick is a staple of his style.

Areas of Advantage

  • Striking – (Rockhold)
  • Grappling and Ground Game – (Rockhold)
  • Speed – (Rockhold)
  • Strength – (Rockhold)
  • Cardio – (Bisping) This is a close call, especially with a shortened camp
  • Experience – (Bisping)
  • Heart – (Bisping)

Prediction

While Michael Bisping is always a threat, Luke Rockhold is the better all-around fighter. This will be an entertaining fight, no doubt, but it’s difficult to see Bisping getting his hand raised in the end. Rockhold already beat Bisping handily just two years ago, and the skills gap has likely increased since then. Rockhold is in the prime of his career, fighting at the pinnacle of his abilities.

A war of words:

By: Landin Murphy
FightBookMMA.com


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