Saturday features the first UFC event of 2013 and a main event that features an opportunity to fight against Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Michael Bisping will take on Vitor Belfort in the main event and, while we have come to expect trash talk from Bisping, the brash Brit has taken it to a new level prior to his fight with Belfort.
For Bisping this fight is all about putting his money where his mouth is. He has been outspoken throughout his career about not having an opportunity to face Silva, but over the last year Bisping has started to put things together and take a step forward in his career. In his first fight this year, one that was a huge step up in competition, Bisping took on Chael Sonnen and, although he lost, he impressed us with his performance. He was able to stuff some of Sonnen’s takedowns and even get up off his back. His next fight took place against Brian Stann, a fight that Bisping was able to win by utilizing a wrestling game that he has added to his arsenal, which earned him a No. 1 contender bout with Belfort.
Saturday’s fight against Bisping is a story of redemption for Belfort. It has been covered before, but it must be repeated, that Belfort is a fighter that never lived up to “the Phenom” label that has been given to him. He nearly changed all that when he took on Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title and nearly defeated the champion with a first round arm bar. Belfort ended up losing that fight, however, he should have some added confidence for hanging with the champion after taking the fight on short notice.
The keys to victory for each fighter are simple. Bisping would like to utilize his technical skills and possibly some takedowns to earn a decision win. Belfort will attempt to use his explosiveness and big knockout power to earn a quick victory. The cardio of Belfort has always been questioned, even by Bisping prior to the fight, and Belfort needs to prove he can go five rounds without fading in the fight. Bisping, on the other hand, has never had cardio issues, but although it has not been a suspect chin, it is not the strongest and he has been caught before by Wanderlei Silva and most notably Dan Henderson.
The card fills out as such:
Main Card on FX:
Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping
Daniel Sarafian vs. CB Dolloway
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell
Thiago Tavares vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Fuel TV Prelims:
Godofredo Pepey vs. Milton Vieira
Ronny Markes vs. Andrew Craig
Diego Nunes vs. Nik Lentz
Edson Barboza vs. Lucas Martins
Yuri Alcantara vs. Pedro Nobre
Wagner Prado vs. Ildemar Alcantara
Francisco Trinaldo vs. CJ Keith