UFC Fight Night 55: Rockhold vs. Bisping Date: November 8, 2014 Location: Sydney, Australia Venue: Allphones Arena Broadcast: Fight Pass UFC Welterweight Contender Luke Rockhold Luke Rockhold (12-2) came into the UFC as the final Strikeforce middleweight champion. He was a force in the San Jose-based promotion, winning nine of his 10 fights there, including defeating Jacare Souza for the middleweight title. He also had successful title defenses against Tim Kennedy and Keith Jardine. Rockhold has sharp hands and a deep gas tank, which has allowed the 29-year-old surfer to overwhelm his opponents until they give up the rear-naked choke, a submission he’s won with four times. 10 of Rockhold’s 12 wins overall have been decided in the first round, as he has submitted seven of his opponents and knocked out three. When Strikeforce folded back in January of 2013, Rockhold anxiously awaited his opportunity to compete in the UFC, but his welcoming party was a spinning heel kick to the face courtesy of Vitor Belfort. Using that loss as motivation, Rockhold took out his frustrations against Tim Boetsch and Costas Philippou in his next two fights, finishing both men in the first round. Riding a two-fight win streak, Rockhold called out top contender Michael Bisping, and the two rivals will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 55 this fall. UFC Middleweight Contender Michael Bisping The brash Michael Bisping (25-6) always has something to say, and after winning season two of The Ultimate Fighter and going 11-6 in UFC, he’s backed up his talk for the most part. The 35-year-old Brit was one of the top contenders at 185lbs and was closing in on a title shot, but after losses to Vitor Belfort (via head kick KO) and Tim Kennedy (by decision), he was written off by most as a serious title contender. In his last bout, Bisping took on Cung Le at UFC China in a five-round fight and knocked him out in round four with a knee and punches in one of the most impressive victories of his long career. The win put Bisping back in the good graces of the UFC, and the promotion rewarded him with a fight against top-ranked Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night 55. With his well-rounded style — Bisping has underrated wrestling and technical striking, plus great cardio — he is one of the top fighters in the division and a threat to anyone in the weight class, and this fight against his rival Rockhold should prove to be quite exciting. Opening UFC Fight Night 55 Main Event Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Rockhold a -385 favorite (bet $385 to win $100) while Bisping opened as a +265 underdog (bet $100 to win $265) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Rockhold and Bisping have been talking smack to each other on Twitter all year long and finally the two will meet in the cage to settle their score in what should be a very exciting matchup. Rockhold is coming off of two-straight impressive finishes over Boetsch and Philippou while Bisping is coming off the best win of his career over Le, so when these two meet in the cage we are likely to get the best version of each man we’ve seen in a while. However, while the bout will no doubt be exciting, Rockhold owns a number of stylistic advantages in this fight and absolutely deserves to be favored, which he is. That being said, Bisping is a very talented fighter and certainly has a puncher’s chance here, so you can’t completely count him out. But based on the styles, Rockhold should win this fight and that’s why he opens a sizeable favorite.
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