38-Year-Old UFC Middleweight 31-8-0
November 12, 2017 Michael Bisping News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Bisping will face Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight fight at UFC Fight Night 122 on November 25 in Shanghai, China.
Bisping looks to be jumping right back on the horse after losing his title to Georges St-Pierre on Nov. 4. The No. 2 UFC middleweight has decided to fill in for Anderson Silva against Kelvin Gastelum in two weeks. Silva was pulled from the fight due to an anti-doping violation. Bisping is 31-8 overall and will be a huge challenge for Gastelum to prepare for on short notice.
Michael Bisping: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisAs tough as they come, Bisping refused to tap and instead went to sleep. It will be particularly frustrating for Bisping as the momentum appeared to be trending in his direction. "The Count" got off to a slow start before GSP began to slow down. Bisping's cardio turned the tide of the fight but he ate a huge left hook that flattened him and though he fought like all heck, he was never able to recover. Bisping, especially at age 38, doesn't have the physical gifts of some of the other top fighters in the sport but he makes up for it with experience, toughness and work ethic. He handled the loss like a pro and while this was likely the only time that Bisping will have the opportunity to see UFC gold, it was great to see him get to the top of the mountain after all he did for the company and the sport itself.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping appeared to have lost this opportunity as recently as this week when UFC President Dana White said that the "ship had sailed," but White appeared to change his mind after Tyron Woodley -- the champion in St-Pierre's former division -- put on a lackluster title-winning performance at UFC 214. Bisping has been inactive due to a knee injury, which led the UFC to crown an Interim Middleweight Champion when Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero at UFC 213. Whittaker suffered a knee injury of his own in that bout, however, so he won't be ready in time for the November event. Instead, Bisping will get the money matchup he had been clamoring for since GSP announced his return. His 64 percent takedown defense is cause for concern against a fighter like St-Pierre that leans so much on his wrestling game, so despite currently holding the title, Bisping has opened as the betting underdog. That said, Bisping will be the taller man on fight night, though GSP owns a deceptive reach advantage. Bisping's activity over GSP's three-year layoff is another advantage, though "The Count" is actually the older fighter. Barring another surprise announcement, the two will conceivably headline the New York event.
Fantasy AnalysisBoth Bisping (knee) and GSP (eye) are dealing with health issues at the moment, which has postponed their fight that was originally supposed to go down during International Fight Week in July. Due to the delay, the UFC instead decided to schedule an interim title bout between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero at the July 8 event. This all makes for a confusing middleweight title picture, as logic would dictate that Bisping defends his title against the winner of that fight in a unification matchup. Instead, Bisping says he wants to fight GSP, title or not. Depending on how long he's on the shelf, UFC brass may have some difficult decisions ahead regarding what to do with the current middleweight champion.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping and St-Pierre had been tentatively scheduled to face off for the UFC Middleweight Championship on July 8 in Las Vegas, which would have headlined the UFC 213 card during International Fight Week. Recently, however, St-Pierre has said he wouldn't be ready until November, which led to UFC President Dana White calling the bout off and deciding that Bisping would instead defend his title against No. 1 contender Yoel Romero. It's now Bisping that needs the extra time, calling GSP's request for a delay a "blessing in disguise." According to Bisping, his recent knee injury has left him unable to train entirely, and he won't be ready to fight any time soon. Surely, Bisping much prefers a fight with GSP, as he stands to make more money due to name recognition, and will be facing a smaller fighter who hasn't seen the Octagon for nearly four years. Romero, on the other hand, is a dangerous fighter in the middleweight division with plenty of momentum, and poses a significant risk to Bisping's belt.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping recently underwent surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus, which is why the fight will have to be put on hold for several months. He was originally scheduled to face top contender Yoel Romero, but that all changed when St-Pierre announced his comeback, which was made official just weeks ago. GSP is a much bigger "money fight" opponent than Romero, and has significantly less knockout power, so it makes sense for the 38-year-old Bisping to not only accept, but implore the UFC to grant him this fight. Matchup-wise, Bisping will have to make takedown defense his main priority in the upcoming fight camp. He owns a career rate of 64 percent, which might not be good enough against GSP, one of the best wrestlers the promotion has ever seen. That being said, ring rust could certainly be a factor for St-Pierre, which is arguably Bisping's biggest advantage. "The Count" has fought eight times under the UFC banner since GSP decided to walk away from the sport in 2013. Furthermore, Bisping will hold roughly a two-inch height advantage over the former welterweight, though their reaches will be approximately equal.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping had originally intended to defend his middleweight title near the beginning of 2017, but those plans were put on hold when he discovered the injury. Following the surgery, the middleweight champion took to Instagram on Monday to show off a photo of a severely swollen left knee, post-surgery. According to an earlier report from John Pollock of The Fight Network the surgery is expected to sideline the 37-year-old Bisping until May. Once he does return, "The Count" is expected to put a five-fight winning streak on the line against Yoel Romero, per UFC President Dana White on Monday's UFC Unfiltered podcast.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping could always return earlier if medically cleared, but at the very least, the middleweight champion will have to sit out for 60 days (45 days no contact). He took quite the beating in his first title defense against Dan Henderson, as Hendo connected with several big right hands that resulted in significant facial bruising, as well as the aforementioned laceration. Two important middleweight top contender fights are scheduled to take place before the end of the year, so Bisping likely wasn't in a hurry to get back into the Octagon anyway.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping's chin and his cardio are the two main reasons that he remains champion. He was the more effective fighter in all five rounds, but he ate one massive punch in each of the first two rounds, and he was lucky to survive both instances. Although since he is known as one of the most durable fighters in the game, it should come as no surprise that Bisping managed to worm his way out of each round. Bisping got considerably better as the fight progressed. He ate fewer punches from Hendo and he landed more of his own. Despite the win, it wasn't the type of dominant effort that gives you much confidence in Bisping moving forward. It's unclear who the next challenger for Bisping's title will be, but any of the current top-four ranked middleweights - Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero - would be a consider favorite over Bisping when the fight takes place. It's been said before, but it's quite clear that Bisping's grit and durability are his greatest assets at this point.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping's victory over Luke Rockhold that won his the UFC Middleweight Championship in June was truly shocking. It came out of nowhere, especially when you take into account what little power Bisping has displayed over the course of his career. There are countless top contenders at 185 pounds (Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, etc.), but Henderson isn't one of them. The UFC's decision to give Hendo a title shot may very well allow Bisping to successfully defend his belt at least once.
Fantasy AnalysisThis was the fight Bisping wanted, and the UFC has granted his wish. Not only will he get a big money fight against fan-favorite Dan Henderson, he'll have the crowd behind him fighting in his own country. Many consider Henderson to be nearing the end of his career (he's 45 years old), and although Michael Bisping is no spring chicken himself at 37, he will likely enter as the heavy favorite. Bisping has an advantage in nearly every aspect of the sport, but as UFC fans have seen over the years, Henderson can end a bout with an epic H-bomb at any moment.
Fantasy AnalysisAll the way back at UFC 100 in 2009, Henderson dealt Bisping a knockout loss. It was just his second career professional loss at the time, and Bisping doesn't appear to have forgotten about it. At 37 years old, Bisping is now the middleweight champion for the first time in his career, and has top-tier opponents such as Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza lining up to face him. Instead, it seems as if Bisping prefers to put his four-fight winning streak on the line against the 45-year-old Henderson. At the same event where Bisping claimed his belt, Hendo earned a knockout victory over Hector Lombard in what was the final fight on his UFC contract. Henderson is almost surely better suited to ride off into the sunset on a high note, but for some, a title opportunity is simply too much to pass up, regardless of age or ability. Although the UFC is typically highly protective of their plans and have yet to comment on Bisping's request, it's tough to deny that this matchup has the potential to be a big money maker for the promotion.
Fantasy AnalysisThis is certainly a deserving nod of respect for the storied UFC veteran. Bisping shocked the world with a knockout victory at UFC 199 on Saturday, and will now get to live the life of a champion, at least until another opponent is lined up. It's unclear if former champion Luke Rockhold will get an immediate rematch, but one possible return date could be a matchup against Chris Weidman (neck) at the Madison Square Garden in November. If that doesn't pan out, look for No. 3 contender Jacare Souza to get the call.
Fantasy AnalysisTaking the fight on 17 days notice and being given the opportunity of a lifetime, the veteran took full advantage. Never known as a fighter with much power in his hands, Bisping clocked Rockhold with a left hook that led to the finish. Bisping was coming up on the short end of the striking exchanges early on, but all it takes is one well-placed punch to change the outcome of a fight. This is going to go down as one of the bigger upsets in recent memory. Even with Rockhold entering the fight with a torn MCL, virtually no one gave Bisping a chance to win this fight. People are going to say that Bisping got lucky, and that is almost certainly the case, but the bottom line is that he is the new UFC Middleweight Champion. Rockhold isn't going to get an immediate rematch, so Bisping's first title defense figures to be against either Jacare Souza or Chris Weidman, likely Jacare. The odds are better than 50/50 that Bisping will come up short in his first attempt to defend his belt, but on this night he is the UFC Middleweight Champion and no one can ever take that away from him.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping has been a good solider for the UFC for many years, and although it is obvious that he isn't the second or even third-best middleweight in the UFC, he deserves this fight. Bisping has won three in a row, including the most impressive victory of his career, a unanimous decision win over Anderson Silva in London in February his last time out. Bisping doesn't move as well as he used to, something that is going to be a huge issue against an elite athlete like Rockhold who is in the prime of his career. If Bisping has one clear strength at this point in his career, it's the fact that is cardio appears to be as strong as ever. Even at age-37 and taking this fight on short notice, Bisping is going to be ready for a five-round fight on Saturday. Engaging Rockhold in a brawl is a terrible idea, but it's difficult to see Bisping being competitive if he tries to mix up the game plan. It's highly likely this fight will end exactly are the first one between the two did some 18 months ago (an easy Rockhold win).
Fantasy AnalysisBisping was simply in the right place at the right time. The most deserving option for a title shot was likely Jacare Souza, but he was removed from consideration, most likely due to the fact that he competed less than three weeks before the scheduled event at UFC 199. Anderson Silva was not an option due to gall bladder surgery, and Yoel Romero is currently serving a PED suspension, so that left Bisping as the only top-5 contender remaining. Bisping has faced Rockhold in the past, losing by submission (guillotine choke) in the second round. Now 37 years old, Bisping has put together a three-fight winning streak to improve his record to 28-7. Despite the resurgence, it's difficult to imagine this championship bout going much differently. At 31, Rockhold is in the midst of his prime fighting years, and has put together a five-fight winning streak of his own over a higher caliber of opponents.
Fantasy AnalysisIt is going to go down as the biggest win of Bisping's career. Bisping has long been one of the mainstay's of the UFC's middleweight division and he now has the career-defining win that he was always looking for. There was a lot of back and forth between the two fighters, but it was clear from the very beginning that the two veterans had a ton of respect for each other. Bisping ate a huge flying knee and a front kick to his face, but he managed to somehow survive despite the fact he face was rearranged by the time the bout was over. Bisping is getting by on toughness and grit at this point, but that was enough to win on Saturday. Like all three judges, RotoWire scored the bout 48-47 in favor of Bisping. There is enough uncertainty in the UFC's middleweight division that it's possible Bisping may finally get his shot at UFC gold, but he would be a massive underdog against both current champion Luke Rockhold or former champion Chris Weidman. Saturday will almost certainly go down as the high-water mark of Bisping's career.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping was expected to fight in this event, which will air on the UFC Fight Pass streaming service, but his opponent had been in question until now. "The Count" will now draw the 40-year-old Anderson Silva in his return to the octagon following a one-year suspension related to a positive test for a banned substance. It's unclear how the rust may affect Silva, but Bisping has been keeping busy in 2015, earning victories over Thales Leites and CB Dollaway. Bisping is trying to earn his way back to a title shot in the middleweight division, whereas Silva is simply looking to end a historic career on a high note.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping had to drop out of his last scheduled bout against Robert Whittaker at UFC 193 due to a shoulder injury, but the middleweight fighter will get rewarded with a relatively high-profile event. The 36-year-old Bisping will get an opportunity to build on a two-fight win streak in front of his home crowd, facing an experienced fighter in Mousasi, who owns a 37-6-1 professional record.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping was scheduled to fight Robert Whittaker on Nov. 14, but that will now be off. He said that he will miss only a few weeks after the surgery. He should be back fighting soon, but his fight with Whittaker will just have to wait now. It is unknown if Whittaker will face a different opponent on the same night, or if he will have the night off as well.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping is tough, gritty and still has elite cardio, so he remains a threat despite the fact he is 36-years-old. He defeated Thales Leites via split decision in his last fight in mid-July. It's certainly a step up in competition for Whittaker, but he is younger and more athletic than Bisping, so "The Count" is by no means a lock to win this one. It will be interesting to see the Vegas odds here.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was an extremely close fight. After 25 action-packed minutes, it was still difficult to tell who would get the call. Bisping's mobility was hampered by a ton of leg kicks from Leites, but for the most part, it was a typical Michael Bisping fight. He relied on his boxing and elite cardio to pick up the win. Bisping actually looked a bit more winded than usual late in the bout, but he still was in far better shape than Leites at the end. At 36-years old, Bisping isn't the fighter he was a few years ago, but he keeps himself in great shape and he's still a big name. He isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The guy just loves to fight and he's still reasonably effective.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping is coming off a unanimous decision victory over C.B. Dollaway at UFC 186 back in April. The Manchester, England native has rotated wins and losses in his last eight bouts dating back to January 2012.
Fantasy AnalysisBisping was hurt badly late in round one after being knocked down with a left hook, but he recovered and managed to take rounds two and three on the scorecards. He remains one of the best talkers in the business and is always in superb condition, but Bisping is now 36 years old and he was just 4-3 in his previous seven fights prior to Saturday. He'll remain a relevant name and will help sell tickets, but it's highly unlikely Bisping will ever get back into the middleweight title picture.