Saturday February 27, London England, a legend returns and we finally get to see a fight ten years in the making. European MMA trailblazer Michael Bisping will take on the long time middleweight king, Anderson Silva in a bout with more at stake than meets the eye. Legacy, legitimacy, title shots and history will be contested, and it’s all live and exclusive on UFC Fightpass.
Michael Bisping has been called the best UFC fighter ever not to receive a title shot. Coming off the ultimate fighter, Bisping has had a very successful run in the UFC, he has only ever lost to big names, coming up short in number one contender match ups against the likes of Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson. ‘The Count’ has long been calling for a shot at Silva, the belt may no longer be on the line, but everything else is.
Anderson Silva is the consensus GOAT. The best there ever was and the best there ever will be, he still holds multiple records in the UFC including longest title reign and most consecutive title defences. A Brazilian born in the matrix, born to fight. His footwork and counter striking ability is mesmerizing, he has produced some of the most spectacular moments in sports history, but all good things must come to an end.
‘The Spider’ is now 40 years old. A long career of MMA will take it’s toll on any man, and Silva is certainly not the fighter he once was. Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson to win the middleweight belt and make history, an immediate rematch ended in a devastating leg injury to Silva and it seemed as though we might have seen the last of the best to ever grace the Octagon. However the GOAT returned to take on Nick Diaz in 2015. A somewhat lacklustre event ended in a decision win for Silva, but was later mired by scandal after both fighters failed drug tests, Anderson for PED’s and Nick for marijuana. This was the first test Silva had ever failed, it brings his entire legacy into question, but going by the facts we have, it was a one time mistake. Coming off a brutal KO loss and a devastating leg injury, it’s possible that Silva relied on PED’s to help speed up recovery and restore confidence. We may never know the truth, but when it’s all said and done, history will record it’s own perceived reality.
One common misconception is that Anderson Silva looked terrible in his last fight against Diaz. It’s true that he didn’t score a brutal KO. He didn’t put on the show UFC fans have been accustomed to, he didn’t wow. But he did win, decisively, every round against a very game and very talented Nick Diaz.
Michael Bisping is a great fighter, however he brings to mind the old combat sports cliché, he’s good everywhere without being great anywhere. His cardio is relentless, his striking crisp and technical, his defensive wrestling strong and his jiu-jitsu usually enough to avoid danger. However he lacks a trademark finishing ability, he has never had the knock out power seen with other top middleweight fighters such as Belfort, Silva or Rockhold, his strength lies in his will and his ability to push the pace over five gruelling rounds. Bisping’s chance to win this fight is by decision, by wearing the aging Silva down and avoiding the inevitable counters. There is also the wildcard of Anderson’s chin. There comes a point in most fighter’s lives when a punch they would have laughed off in the past, ends up shutting out the lights. We have seen it famously in the past with fighters such as Chuck Liddell. The Weidman fights proved one thing, the Anderson Silva that once dared Jorge Rivera to punch him in the face, before finishing him in a brutal TKO, is no more. Bisping may not possess true KO power, but he may not need to.
Anderson Silva’s footwork, counters, leg kicks and pin point striking is a lethal combination for a traditional fighter like Bisping. The question remains, which Anderson Silva will show up come Saturday night? A motivated, straight out of the Matrix, rejuvenated GOAT will score a spectacular KO or a comfortable decision. A has been past his prime Silva could succumb to the lightest of head strikes. If Anderson shows any weakness, cardio kingpin Bisping will seize his chance of a lifetime and put the final nail in the coffin of The Spider’s storied career.
Bisping can definitely win this fight, he can silence his critics, move on to a title fight and taint Anderson’s legacy forever. However he needs a lot to go his way in order for that to happen. Silva is deadly on the feet, his chin may be gone, his speed might have slowed, but his fight IQ, his experiences and his essence remain. He is always dangerous, and five rounds should be enough to finish the brash Englishman. With a win here, Silva will experience a resurgence, talks of a title match up against Like Rockhold will dominate the headlines. The Spider will want HIS belt back, and history will be kinder to the greatest of all time.
Prediction: Anderson Silva by KO within two rounds.
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