By: Tim Mutohfan
November 7th, Sydney, Australia’s Allphones Arena is the host for the 55th UFC Fight Night featuring middleweights Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping as the main event.
We start our preview with that main event. MMA lightning rod and winner of TUF 3 Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold, these two have been pretty vocal about their dislike for each other, taking their beef to the current favorite bastion of trash talk….Twitter. Not before of course Bisping had some choice words for Rockhold after his TKO win over Cung Le in Macau, China back in August of this year. No love lost to say the least.
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is fighting in the UFC for the fourth time in his career, his lone set back was the KO loss to Vitor Belfort in Brazil in May of 2013, but he has rebounded nicely with a TKO win over Costas Philippou and a submission win over Tim Boetch. Rockhold is currently 12-2 in his MMA career (2-1 with the UFC).
Michael Bisping, has been so very close to that title shot. Getting as far as a disputed loss to Chael Sonnen in a title eliminator. He won TUF season 3 and was a coach on 2 other seasons (opposite Dan Henderson and Jason Miller). 20+ fights in the UFC without a title shot, that is the type of stat that will define someone’s career, even a career as good as Bisping’s.
Co-main event features lightweights Ross Pearson and Al Iaquinta. Pearson who was the winner of the TUF USA vs. UK under Coach Michael Bisping, and he also did a stint as head coach of the Smashes season. He is another fighter with a long history and strong following but can’t seem to break through that ceiling. Pearson is currently 8-4 with 1 no contest in the UFC (16-7 overall).
Al Iaquinta who was a finalist of TUF 15, didn’t win his season, but he has shown spots of promise. The five year veteran has fought his way to an MMA record of 13 wins with 3 losses and 1 draw (4-2 in the UFC). Iaquinta is also coming of an impressive TKO victory in his last outing, stopping Rodrigo Damm in the 3rd round in their fight at UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Mousasi in September.
Middleweights Robert Whitaker and Clint Hester are set to face off at UFC Fight Night 55. The 23 year old Whittaker is a 5 year MMA vet, has had 16 pro MMA fights fighting his way to a record of 12-4 (3-2 in the UFC). His most recent scrap was a victorious one over Mike Rhodes at UFC FN: Te-Huna vs. Marquardt in June.
Clint Hester is making his 5th trip inside the Octagon he is currently 4-0 in the UFC (11-3 overall), he has been in there with good opposition. Most notably a decision loss in 2009 current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
Rounding out the main card is heavyweights Soa Palelei and Walt Harris.
Palelei is looking to rebound from his decision loss to Jared Roshold in June at UFC Fight Night: Te-Huna vs. Marquardt. The 12 year veteran has an MMA record of 21-4 (3-2 in the UFC).
Walt Harris is hoping to end his 2 fight losing streak in the UFC, having lost to Nikita Krylov and Jared Rosholt (2 fighters that Palelei also faced), Harris has an overall MMA record of 7-3 (0-2 in the UFC).
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 55: Rockhold vs. Bisping
Middleweight: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping
Lightweight: Ross Peason vs. Al Iaquinta
Middleweight: Robert Whittaker vs. Clint Harris
Heavyweight: Soa Palelei vs. Walt Harris
Lightweight: Jake Matthews vs. Vagner Rocha
Light Heavyweight: Anthony Perosh vs. Guto Inocente
Welterweight: Dylan Andrews vs. Sam Alvey
Welterweight: Vic Grujic vs. Chris Vlements
Flyweight: Richie Vaculik vs. Louis Smolka
Middleweight: Luke Zachrich vs. Daniel Kelly
Bantamweight: Jumabieke Tuerxun vs. Marcus Brimage