The UFC heads back to London, England this weekend as middleweights Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Michael “The Count” Bisping headline UFC Fight Night at the O2 Arena.
If you have not subscribed to UFC Fight Pass yet, it may be time to do so considering what is at stake in the main event on Saturday. Silva is considered by many to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, and Bisping has faced some of the toughest fighters in the UFC for the last 10 years. Additionally, the winner of Saturday’s contest could see a title shot in their near future.
The matchup from a stylistic standpoint is interesting considering where they are at in age. Silva is 40 years old and Bisping will turn 37 this month, so it is fair to say that neither of these fighters is in their prime. However, they still have abilities that can be dangerous to any middleweight opponent they face.
Coming off of a year-long suspension, Silva is at a point in his career where some have faltered. Although Silva seemed untouchable just a few short years ago, his last three fights consist of two losses to Chris Weidman and a no contest against Nick Diaz. Just about everybody loses in this sport, but Silva is in prime position to reach his former glory with just a couple of impressive wins.
Silva loves to strike, plain and simple. His highlight-reel knockouts are stuff of legend and he loves to get into the head of his opponents. He uses a variety of faints that usually provokes his opponent into coming into his range, where he then will look to counter. What he lacks in power is made up for in pinpoint accuracy that can finish his opponents quickly.
But Silva is getting older, and it will be interesting to see if his strikes still have enough speed to catch Bisping off guard. If the fight goes to the ground, Silva has BJJ skills that could threaten Bisping’s top game, so look for him to go for a triangle if he is forced on his back.
Bisping is one of the greatest fighters to ever compete inside the octagon without receiving a title shot. For the last decade, he has fought the greatest middleweights the world has seen, except for the elusive Silva. Although this fight is not for the title, it may be the most important fight in Bisping’s career.
Bisping is a fighter of many words, but they will have no part in what happens on Saturday night. However, his striking skills have to be at their best to compete with Silva’s muay thai. Bisping has always had clean, precise striking, but the lack of power in his punches has been a theme in his career.
Although Bisping is an all around good fighter, it is hard to say he is great in any certain area. His wrestling is solid, but Silva has seen far more dangerous wrestlers in his career. If he comes in looking for the kill, he will fall right into Silva’s game and be countered. But if he remains patient and looks for his spots, he could pull off the upset in his home country.
Prediction: As much as it feels like Bisping’s time, it is hard to imagine that he has anything that can threaten Silva’s experience. Michael likes to fight with emotion, and the London crowd will surely have him hyped for a fight of such magnitude. This could force him to fight too aggressively, which Silva will be looking for.
Silva may not get a finish, but I see him picking Bisping apart for most of the fight.
Silva by unanimous decision.