Thursday, February 22, 2007

UFC Fighter Profile: Michael Bisping, The British Invasion

The moment Michael “The Count” Bisping opened his mouth on The Ultimate Fighter, avid viewers were already predicting him to be a favorite for Season 3. Bisping’s presence, attitude, and character demanded respect when he talked to the camera. What comes as a disadvantage to his opponents is that his demeanor isn’t just an act, he can fight too. Bisping’s aggressive stand-up, sprawling, and painful wrestling was simply too much for his TUF rivals. Such a formula allowed Bisping to capture the Season 3 Light Heavyweight trophy, earning him a contract in the UFC. Now, with Michael’s UFC debut behind him, the Liverpool native finds himself at the bottom of the UFC food chain, trying to garner respect in beating his way to the top

Michael Bisping Fighting Style Analysis – Strengths
The best way to describe Michael “The Count” Bisping is relentless. Regardless of where the fight takes him, or whether he has good or bad position, Michael Bisping doesn’t quit. Fighters who face Michael may be better in one particular aspect of MMA, but due to Bisping’s unrelenting pace and power, fighters have a hard time capitalizing on advantageous positions against Bisping, which frustrates and discourages his opponents over a period of time. Most fighters, undergoing a bad position, take time to think of an escape, which can prove costly with their opponents getting time to catch their breath and employ a strategy to finish. Bisping curtails those possibilities with constant movement and adamant strategy which, when he is able to reverse and attain good position, his opponents become psyched out, allowing Bisping to finish them off.

Michael Bisping Fighting Style Analysis – Weaknesses
“The Count”, with all due respect, isn’t spectacular at any particular style. He does portray good striking, ground technique, and wrestling ability, but he is not elite in any particular aspect. Bisping is considered to be a good all-around MMA fighter with good fundamentals, yet there are many aspects of his game that need fine tuning before he is considered a legitimate threat to the upper echelons of the Light Heavyweight division. Such things take time, which in Bisping’s case, he has an ample amount of, since he is a young gun in the division. The UFC should be smart about not over-hyping this British bulldog, but in a few years, we can reconsider how far he has come and note how few his weaknesses have become.

Light Heavyweight Contender
With the right amount of matchmaking, Michael Bisping can become a TUF hopeful for the division much like Rashad Evans is now. Bisping is much greener than his Season 2 counterpart, but both men are considered young hopefuls to recapture audiences to the division which “Iceman” Liddell seems to have cleaned out. I would rather see Bisping face against Forrest Griffen than I would against Rashad Evans, for I feel that Evans has surpassed Griffen in terms of technique and athletic ability. Eventually, Bisping would face Evans for a crack at the top fighters, which in the case if Bisping wins, he can face a tough as nails opponent in Tito Ortiz or Babalu Sobral. The latter, however, wouldn’t take place for another few years. Bisping just needs to face a few more fighters to fine tune his skill and presence in the UFC, and a crack at Griffen would provide a notable stepping stone. Bisping has a long road ahead.

- Bardia Mehrabian BuddyTV Staff Columnist


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