This weekend, the UFC returns to Sao Paulo, Brazil with their UFC on FX 7 offering headlined by the Middleweight match between contenders Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort. Right now, the books have a completely pick ‘em fight, with -110 on Bisping and -120 for Belfort. Of the two, it is Bisping who is probably hungrier, as he has been on the waiting list for a shot at Anderson Silva, but Belfort’s skill set makes him dangerous in the fight. Let’s take a closer look.
Bisping made the news with his trash talk recently belittling Middleweights Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher for their recent UFC 155 losses. Both men had trash talked Bisping, and he showed his competitive nature by letting them have it, but Bisping is at risk in this fight with Belfort this weekend.
Bisping has come full circle in the eyes of the fans, who originally hated the Brit for his role on the ‘TUF’ series, and they revelled in his KO loss to Dan Henderson. Since then he has won his fights, and he has re-cast himself. For a title shot to materialize, he must get by Belfort.
Belfort wil be dangerous throughout the fight with his explosive hands, and Bisping has been hit before. Staying safe for 5 rounds is a tall order for anyone, and Bisping will likely count on a grinding style that involves fighting in close with Belfort.
Belfort will enjoy the home field advantage fighting in Brazil, and the crowd will be loud and emotional. Bisping brings a tough mental game and is unlikely to be too affected by the noise, however he will want to come out and have a big first round. This will have the effect of easing the pressure of the crowd as well as get into Belfort’s head. It is no secret that Belfort is a fast starter and that if he does not get off his punches the Brazilian starts to question himself and he tires.
Since it is an even money fight, if you like one particular fighter over the other, so be it. It seems to me that Bisping is going to have to fight and stay safe for five rounds without getting into a boxing match, and it favors Belfort to get a finish by KO somewhere along that path.