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Is Rockhold Versus Bisping II More Than Just a Rerun?

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As the new Middleweight Champion prepares to make his first title defense, the UFC brass has replaced one Luke Rockhold rematch with another. Rockhold was set to take on the man from which he won the UFC Middleweight Championship, Chris Weidman until a serious injury forced the Serra-Longo protégé to withdraw from the scheduled bout. When the revelation came that an injury rendered Jacare Souza unable to replace Weidman, Michael Bisping stepped up to the challenge to take another crack at Luke Rockhold and his first shot at UFC gold.

Michael Bisping always wears his feelings on his sleeve and the outspoken Brit has vocalized his title aspirations literally every time there has ever been a microphone or a camera in front of him. But the number one contender position has eluded him multiple times, so many that hope of Championship gold seemed like nothing more than a far-fetched pipe dream… until now.

Bisping fought Rockhold in November 2014 when he lost via submission early in the 2nd round of their main event match. The fight was not very competitive, a fact many pointed to as evidence that their rematch is nothing more than a rerun, destined to produce the same result. But, is there more to the story?

Another outspoken character, Chael Sonnen, is a former challenger to the UFC Middleweight title as well as a former Bisping opponent and he has offered a different perspective to Rockhold vs Bisping II. “A lot of people are saying ‘I know he can’t beat him, I’ve already seen the fight’”, Sonnen mentioned on his weekly podcast titled “You’re Welcome”.

He went on to say, “It’s not as simple as looking back at the first fight and saying ‘well, Luke Rockhold finished him’, it’s not that simple. There was a head butt that hurt Bisping and it changed the fight, you saw it change the fight.”

What the “West Linn Gangster” is referring to happened approximately 2 minutes into the UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs Bisping main event. During a clinch exchange that saw Rockhold put Michael Bisping’s back on the fence, there was most definitely an inadvertent clash of heads; a blatant clash indeed, one that changed the dynamic of the fight.

It was so blatant that referee Herb Dean called a pause to the action in order to have a ringside physician enter the octagon and inspect a cut on Michael Bisping’s eye. The keyword here though is inadvertent, therefore, Luke Rockhold was not penalized for the infraction.

The one who was penalized was Michael Bisping, who suffered a deep gash above his eye and a possible concussion. He spoke to Ariel Helwani about the incident on the MMA Hour.

“I actually think I won the first round. Uh.. we clashed heads. You know, he head butted me, I think would be a more accurate description. It split my eye wide open. There was blood pouring into my eye. After that, all I could see was a lot of red.”

Bisping has had a storied history of career-threatening eye damage. In fact, he suffered a detached retina in his right eye when he was TKO’d by the same spinning back kick that Vitor Belfort used to finish Luke Rockhold in his only UFC loss.

Chael Sonnen, on his “You’re Welcome” podcast went on to comment on Luke’s perspective of the head butt. “The media went back to Luke, obviously trying to stir something up, and he goes ‘yeah, I head butted the hell out of him. I drilled him with my head and it did change the fight. I felt it change the fight. I’m not sure if I didn’t give him a concussion’”.

People may form their own conclusion about the upcoming rematch. One could argue that the first fight was not all that competitive, head butt or otherwise. Nevertheless, it was only 2 minutes into the fight so it’s hard to say. Bisping is known for great cardio and he is one of the few who are able to maintain the same pace and intensity for an entire 15 minute, or even a 25-minute fight.

Regardless of the speculation about what could have been, the UFC 199 main event rematch will certainly answer the question of who will be the UFC Middleweight champion at the end of the night. Most, if not all, would unanimously agree that Rockhold is the better fighter overall. But MMA math cannot be allowed into the equation at any level, least of all in a championship fight.

Is Rockhold the more accomplished of the two? Yes. Is he the UFC Middleweight Champion? Yes indeed. Is Rockhold truly the better fight? Most likely. Can Michael Bisping pull off a tremendous upset and win UFC gold? Absolutely!

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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