The main event of UFC Fight Night 55 is a five-round middleweight bout between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Rockhold is a -420 favorite (bet $420 to win $100) while Bisping is a +335 underdog (bet $100 to win $335). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Rockhold at -385 and Bisping at +265, and so far the bettors are backing Rockhold, as he’s now a -420 favorite. I agree with the line movement as I see Rockhold winning this fight in impressive fashion. Here’s why. Rockhold (12-2) is one of the top middleweight contenders in the UFC. The 30-year-old American is 2-1 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Costa Philippou and Tim Boetsch and a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort. Prior to joining the UFC, Rockhold was the Strikeforce middleweight champion and had wins in that promotion over the likes of Jacare Souza, Tim Kennedy, Keith Jardine, and Paul Bradley. Rockhold is an excellent all-around mixed martial artist with a myriad of skills. He is a great wrestler, he has wicked kickboxing, his submission game is lethal, he he has cardio for days, and he’s huge for his weight class. His only real flaw is his chin, as he’s been knocked out twice in the past, but other than that he has very little flaws in his game. Since the loss to Belfort, Rockhold has looked better than ever, and with a win over Bisping could earn a title shot. Stylistically he is a nightmare for Bisping, and while his opponent has more UFC experience, the betting public favors Rockhold in this one and he’s a big favorite going into the fight. Bisping (25-6) is one of the top-10 middleweights in the world. The 35-year-old Brit is 15-6 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Cung Le, Alan Belcher, Brian Stann, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Chris Leben, and Matt Hamill, to name just a few. While he does have six losses in the Octagon, remember they came against Tim Kennedy, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. Bisping is a very good striker with solid boxing fundamentals and underrated muay Thai. He has very good wrestling for someone without a formal background in the sport, especially as far as his takedown defence goes. He also has great cardio and can go five rounds strong. His chin is questionable as he’s been knocked out and/or rocked and dropped on multiple occasions, and overall his striking defence is rather poor. Still, he is a proven winner and one of the best 185lbers out there. Bisping is coming off of a sweet knockout win over Le that put him back in the mix at 185lbs, and if he beats Rockhold he’ll be close to a title shot, but stylistically this is a difficult fight for him as Rockhold is more-or-less a better, younger version of himself, and that’s why he’s a big underdog heading into the matchup. Both of these fighters have solid wrestling, but I don’t expect either man to really go into the matchup with a wrestling-centered gameplan. Rockhold may shoot some takedowns, but I think Bisping can stuff most of them and keep it on the feet, where he will have his best chance to win. Bisping certainly has underrated power, but at the same time Rockhold is just a better striker. Bisping uses his punches and he has a nice muay Thai clinch, but Rockhold uses his leg kicks to devastating effect and he also uses them to keep his distance, which I believe will be his key to victory here. I think Rockhold batters Bisping on the feet in this fight and either wins the fight by T/KO within five rounds or takes home a decision. The line is -420, and Rockhold should still be a solid piece for parlays.
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