This week, the UFC comes to London and brings a main event between two of the most recognisable names in UFC middleweight history as the consensus greatest in MMA history Anderson “The Spider” Silva takes on England’s own Michael “The Count” Bisping. For this debate, Matthew Wells will be arguing Silva’s case, while Tony Sisombath represents Bisping.
To start with, both men explained their pick for what is, undoubtedly, the biggest fight in UFC Fight Pass history.
Tony Sisombath: Anderson Silva, much respect for what he’s done for the sport, but he’s barely been active in the cage. Silva has fought only once in the past two years and his last fight against Nick Diaz was not very impressive to be honest. I think the layoffs and the leg injury has affected his fight game big time. Michael Bisping has stayed active and consistently fought ranked opponents such as Thales Leites and the current champ, Luke Rockhold.
Matthew Wells: If you compare the skillsets between both men, Anderson Silva excels in all areas, with the exception of wrestling. Anderson needed to get a win under his belt after coming back from his broken leg, and did just that against Diaz. In that fight we saw a tentative, cautious Anderson that was relatively quiet leading up to the fight. He was nervous. This week we have seen Anderson’s playful personality shine again. He’s comfortable again, and that’s extremely dangerous for any opponent.
TS: A playful Anderson may be dangerous but a motivated Michael Bisping in England is equally as dangerous if not more and he has the 16-0 record to prove that. One thing most people would agree on is that Bisping has the wrestling advantage. Especially training with Mark Munoz, Anderson’s former wrestling coach, we can expect to see several takedowns from Bisping this fight. Working with someone who has coached your opponent is a gigantic advantage and help throughout camp.
Attention then turned to the strengths of their chosen fighter’s opponent and how they would be dealt with on Saturday night, should such a situation arise.
MW: The wrestling advantage will only take Bisping so far. It’s all about what he will be able to do once he gets Anderson to the canvas. Chael put him on his back for most of the first fight and got tapped. Getting him down won’t be enough. On the feet, I expect Anderson to utilize the Thai clinch to land strikes as Bisping tries to pressure him against the cage. Look for Anderson’s guard to come into play if this goes to the ground. First fight with Chael, 2nd fight with Weidman. He will seem to be comfortable working from his back and probably will stay longer than he should to land short elbows and setup submissions.
TS: Anderson’s biggest strength honestly has to be his legacy. Most fighters are beat before even stepping in the cage against Anderson because of what he has done in the past. Well that’s the past and unfortunately he’s no longer in his prime. He’s 40 now, he’s not as quick, probably not as strong as he’s used to and probably doesn’t have the cardio to go 5 hard rounds anymore. Bisping is already physically and mentally prepared. Chael has pretty weak submission defense in comparison to Bisping. He is going to match Anderson for speed, overpower him physically and outlast the former champ. The first round will be close, no doubt but Bisping is going to mix up his striking and takedowns throughout the second and later rounds.
MW: Luckily for Anderson, he’s never relied on great physical traits to win fights. Speed has been his biggest attribute, which, even at a deteriorated level, is still enough to pick apart Bisping utilizing the precision striking that has ended so many fights for him in the past.
TS: I just don’t think Anderson is as fast as he used to be, it definitely didn’t show in the Diaz fight. Bisping will push a much faster pace than Diaz did and wear down Anderson with takedowns, ground and pound and even his own striking. We don’t know where Anderson’s conditioning lies, he fought a slow pace 5 round fight with Diaz. Bisping easily outworks him as the fight goes on.
MW: Anderson’s speed didn’t have to shine in the Diaz fight, because Nick was too busy taunting instead of fighting, which played perfectly into what Anderson needed to accomplish. He needed to get time in the cage in a real fight to get his comfort level back to where it needs to be. I believe we will see an Anderson that is extremely confident wherever the fight goes.
TS: Still taunting, Nick Diaz landed 77 strikes on Anderson. How is Anderson going to deal with a more versatile striker that can threaten takedowns? I’m not sure if Anderson is ever going to be as comfortable as he once was. He rarely taunts now because of the first Weidman fight, rarely throws kicks because of the second fight. I’m judging all of this based on his last fight because you’re only as good as your last fight. Cliché as that is.
MW: If you’re only as good as your last fight, Bisping easily should lose this matchup. Leites lost a split decision, a fight than many people believe Leites won. As history shows, the bigger the name, the more likely it is for Bisping to lose. While Michael is a very well-rounded fighter, he doesn’t do anything particularly spectacular. He’s a grinder that frustrates his opponents, and Silva is all but immune to frustration.
The guys certainly exchanged views on that score and they weren’t finished there. There are factors for both fighters which could play a part in their downfall in the O2 Arena, but our debaters were confident that these personal issues could be overcome.
TS: Bisping definitely has some bad scar tissue over his eye. One accidental eye poke and the fight could be over. I don’t think Anderson will be able to hold Bisping in the clinch well enough to land big shots to open it up though. I’m sure Bisping has worked on his clinch defence and if Anderson does try to tie up, Bisping can threaten/secure a takedown.
MW: The only thing that concerns me about Anderson is getting too comfortable fighting from his back, which is something that will happen if his cardio isn’t on point. He will still attack with elbows. But I don’t believe the layoff has any bearing on the outcome on the fight, based on the challenges that Bisping presents.
TS: I don’t think he’ll be able to hold Bisping to land elbows either. Bisping presents more challenges than Diaz and Diaz went to decision, even won a round or two in my opinion. Sure Anderson won the fight at first but we still don’t know why he was using steroids. To improve his performance or to heal his leg quicker.
An interesting added incentive for the winner in this fight is the very real possibility of it thrusting them straight into title contention in the 185 pound division. Would either man stand a realistic chance of capturing that belt from current champion Luke Rockhold?
TS: The winner may get a title shot because of what the division is now with Romero out due to the drug test issues. But would either of them win against Rockhold? Definitely not. Rockhold beats either guy within 3 rounds.
MW: Anderson wins and gets a title shot due to the state of the division and namesake for selling a fight. Bisping may have to get one more win, depending on how he may walk away victorious against Silva. Rockhold would have a much tougher time with Anderson than Bisping. He would try to out strike Anderson, which would play perfectly into his ability to counter strike and elude strikes. Asking me today, I’d say flip a coin on Rockhold vs Silva at this point, Rockhold would finish Bisping. This opinion could change after what transpires in London.
To finish off, the official predictions were logged.
TS: Bisping by unanimous decision, 48-47 or 49-46 across the board.
MW: Anderson Silva def. Michael Bisping via TKO (strikes), Round 3.
The UFC London debate is in the books. Who do you think argued the better point for their fighter and has either man forced you reconsider your own prediction? Get in touch and let us know!
Forget Cormier vs. Jones – Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson Should Headline UFC 214
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones II is all but confirmed for UFC 214 in Anaheim, California on July 29. Despite the magnitude of the light-heavyweight championship rematch, the UFC would do well to look elsewhere for their UFC 214 main event — namely in the direction of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and Megan Anderson.
The UFC’s schedule for the first half of 2017 is largely booked as of now. Fight announcements for July are coming in daily but there is still no clue as to who might headline UFC 213, the promotion’s International Fight Week pay-per-view offering. Jon Jones is expected to make his long-awaited return in July however not for 213.
UFC President Dana White has stated that Jones will not be eligible to compete during International Fight Week due to his suspension, making UFC 214 in late July the most likely option. White also insisted that Jones cannot be trusted to headline an event due to his past transgressions.
If White holds true to his word it’ll be a bizarre and unfortunate set of circumstances to promote the most important rematch in the history of the UFC. Many titleholders are booked for the moment, so the Cormier vs. Jones rerun would seem the most logical choice. However, as has been the norm in the past two years of UFC promotion an interim title can be slapped on to any semi-interesting match.
Countless arguments are made about how interim titles are senseless and harmful to the actual titleholder but those arguments although valid, are not much more than gripes.
The absence of sanctioning bodies in mixed martial arts are a contentious point of debate in the MMA community and combat sports in general but sanctioning bodies in regard to titles are almost always a nuisance in the world of boxing.
Any educated fan knows who the real champion is. Even in the rare instance where the interim titleholder is held in higher regard or more popular than the actual champion as was the case with Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo, nothing was done to diminish the value of the featherweight belt.
The notion that a title fight must headline a card may be antiquated but it seems that is the manner that the UFC will continue to handle business for the foreseeable future. Five rounds are seldom a negative in high-level MMA and an interim belt would be most justified if a match is made between former Invicta featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and current champion Megan Anderson.
If Cormier vs. Jones will play second fiddle to another fight, an interim featherweight title fight between “Cyborg” and Anderson would be a sensible headliner for UFC 214. Given the lack of options and the current featherweight champion’s fighting future in doubt, the fight would merit its headlining spot.
Jones in a co-headliner may seem strange business wise. It is rare for Dana White to put morale ahead of dollar signs but if it is the case it may be for the better. An alpha male like Jones doesn’t want to be second to anyone. The very fact that the marquee will say Cormier vs. Jones instead of Jones vs. Cormier most likely rankles with the superstar.
Yet the promotion of Jones is more intriguing now than it ever has been. Jones reportedly pulled in right under 500,000 buys for UFC 197. Not too shabby for a 15-month layoff with a lukewarm undercard.
Moreover, a fight with the magnitude of Cormier Vs. Jones will be heavily promoted under any circumstance. ESPN, TMZ, Deadspin, will all be pulled towards covering the event, so the co-main event placing may not be that big of a deal. The benefits that the Cormier/Jones rematch can provide for the women’s featherweight division are substantial.
..that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.
UFC 208 was the official introduction of the featherweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and it wasn’t loved by many spectators. Germaine de Randamie outpointed Holly Holm in a 25-minute striking affair.
Technically, the fight was brilliant but provided not a single awe-inspiring moment. The fact that there was controversy regarding some illegal blows, a contested decision, and that the fight itself was between a 135 pounder who had lost her last two and a fringe top 10 bantamweight didn’t make matters any better.
The great thing about a Cyborg/Anderson fight is that both women really want the fight and also happen to be great kickboxers that have genuine horsepower. “Cyborg” trounced Leslie Smith in less than a round and utterly pummeled Lina Lansberg in just over five minutes. Anderson is young and still relatively raw but has some exceptional power at featherweight.
The desire to improve is also not lost on the talented Aussie. Her Invicta FC debut was an embarrassingly one-sided loss to notorious overachieving veteran Cindy Dandois.
Grappling is an aspect of MMA that Anderson hasn’t fully grasped as of yet but is miles ahead of where she was in 2015. Anderson’s 2016 was outstanding with three knockouts in a row and she showed her artistic side as she used Charmaine Tweet’s blood to splatter the canvas red like a deranged college activist student.
There was a USADA flagging for “Cyborg” after her last win that was retroactively cleared. Unfortunate and badly timed, it ended up rekindling an old hatred that some in the MMA community have had for the Brazilian since her first positive test in 2011.
“Cyborg” is a respectful competitor and her fighting style is barbaric but her past with PEDs rubs some fans the wrong way, making her a lightning rod for controversy. More often than not, controversy sells.
In the skills and experience department “Cyborg” will hold a distinct advantage, however, Anderson is not lacking in confidence and may be the first fighter that can match “Cyborg’s” power. Anderson also happens to be a fan favourite in Invicta and isn’t shy about trash talking when the opportunity calls for it.
Justino vs. Anderson would not only be a well-matched and entertaining scrap, it would possess something many women’s MMA fights are too commonly missing, intrigue.
Ronda Rousey is unlikely to come back and that leaves the UFC looking for ways to create a new female star. This bout would seem like the most probable one to do that.
Rousey had a great home backing in Southern California from early on in her career and it might be time for “Cyborg” to take some of those fans as she has been a SoCal native for years. Anaheim is only a few miles from “Cyborg’s” hometown of Huntington Beach and it shares an ocean with The Land Down Under.
If a sacrifice is made by the UFC to prove a point, then let it be one that carries some positive possibilities for other athletes who are hungry and deserving of the spotlight. Step aside Jones, and let the ladies handle this one.
Reports: Vitor Belfort to step in against Anderson Silva at UFC 212
UFC 212 may have a new co-main event featuring two legends from Brazil.
Ag.Fight has reported Vitor Belfort has offered to fill in for Kelvin Gastelum to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio on June 3.
Gastelum was originally scheduled to face Silva, but due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation which saw Gastelum flagged for marijuana metabolites stemming from an in-competition sample collected on March 11, 2017, a provisional suspension was levied and he was removed from the card.
Silva, who celebrates his 42nd birthday on April 14, will remain on the UFC 212 card which is headlined by a featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo. Silva found his way back into the win column at UFC 208 where he won a unanimous decision over Derek Brunson, notching the 34th professional victory for the former UFC Middleweight Champion. The win over Brunson is the first official victory on Silva’s record since UFC 153 over Stephan Bonnar since the win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 has since been overturned to a No Contest.
Due to Gastelum’s USADA issues, we may have a rematch of a title bout that took place at UFC 126 that saw Silva defend his middleweight strap against Belfort in devastating fashion.
Belfort, who turned 40 on April 1, has one more fight remaining on his UFC contract and expressed his desires to fulfill his contract after suffering a loss in his last outing to the aforementioned Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. The loss was the third straight TKO loss for the former champion, whose last win came over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 77 in November 2015. Belfort always wants the biggest fight available, and name-wise, they don’t come much bigger than Anderson Silva.
While both men have had their bumps in the road in the recent final chapters of their careers, fighting on their home soil in Brazil is something both men always look forward to.
UFC 212 takes place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janerio, Brazil on June 3, 2017.
Confirmed bouts include:
- Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway
- Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
- Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
- Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
- Marco Antonio Beltran vs. Delveson Alcantra
- Yancy Medeiros vs. Erick Silva
- Paulo Henrique Costa vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
- Leonardo Santos vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Rafael Carvalho – I Hope Manhoef Comes to Fight This Time
Bellator 176 takes place this Saturday on April 8th from Torino, Italy and will mark the promotion’s second trip to Italy after Bellator 152 which took place almost one year ago. The main event for the event will be a middleweight title rematch between champion Rafael Carvalho and challenger Melvin Manhoef.
The two first met at Bellator 155 in May of last year. On that occasion, Carvalho left with a decision victory that some felt should have gone the way of his Dutch opponent. Carvalho does not believe that the judges will be required this time, however. “I will defend my title with a knockout,” Carvalho told MMA Latest News. “I hope he (Manhoef) comes to fight this time like the Manhoef we know.”
The fight received some criticism at the time from fans and even Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith. However, Carvalho believes the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Manhoef, whose tactics on the night surprised him. “I trained for, and came with, a tactic to knock him out,” Carvalho explained. “However, he did not come to fight and was not as aggressive as he usually is. He was afraid I would take him to the ground. I do not understand why he ran away from the fight. I was always moving forward but he did not want to come and strike, just to use low kicks. You do not win a fight with only low kicks.”
The rematch takes place in Europe, which is a first for Carvalho, but will also be in front of a crowd that loves striking, as the card takes place in conjunction with a Bellator kickboxing event. That is something which excites the Brazilian. “It will be really good to fight in Europe,” Carvalho enthused. “Europe is the land of the great K-1 strikers – the fans love strikers. Manhoef is a feared striker and I hope he does not sh*t himself scared and comes for a murderous striking fight.”
The fact that the event is happening alongside a Bellator kickboxing event has another level of intrigue to it, as Carvalho also revealed that he is planning on competing on a Bellator kickboxing card in the near future and hopes to fight in both Bellator disciplines. “I think about it a lot,” he said. “My manager has already informed Bellator that I would like to fight in Bellator Kickboxing also.”
The expansion of Bellator in recent times has been there for all to see, from signing big name free agents such as Rory MacDonald and Ryan Bader, to hosting more shows in different countries such as Italy and Ireland. However, one country that the promotion has not yet visited is Brazil, which is something that Carvalho believes should happen in the near future – and one would have to believe that Carvalho would have a strong case to headline such an event. “It would be a great show,” he began. “Bellator cannot stay out of Brazil. Brazilians love MMA – it is where it all started. A show in Curitiba or Rio de Janeiro would be a great success. We have many top Brazilian fighters in Bellator. A card in Brazil cannot wait any longer.”
Bellator 176 takes place on April 8th from Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy. Tune in to see Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef settle the score once and for all to see who will leave Europe with the Bellator middleweight title.
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