Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the highly anticipated clash between England’s Michael Bisping and former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva. Bisping enters this fight on a two fight winning streak; his last win a narrow split decision win over top 15 middleweight Thales Leites. This is Anderson Silva’s first bout since a unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz in January 2015. That victory was overturned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he tested positive drostanolone and androsterone. Michael Bisping (Record: 27-7, +260 Underdog, Fighter Grade: B) Michael Bisping has been training in martial arts since a very young age. He started with jiu jitsu at just 8 years old and later picked up boxing, kickboxing, and karate. He’s been in the UFC since 2005 making his start in the reality series “The Ultimate Fighter” winning season three of the show. Bisping is near the top of the list of total fights in the UFC; his fight with Anderson Silva will be his 25th in the organization. He’s fought in a title eliminator twice, but never for a UFC title. At 36 years old, Bisping is not the fighter he once was, but he’s still a formidable opponent. He’s a volume striker with some of the best conditioning in the weight class. He’s a fighter who wins by an accumulation of strikes; not by a single shot. That’s evidenced by his last first round win was at UFC 85 in 2008. Furthermore, he only has two finishes since 2010. One over Jason Miller (showed up to the fight out of shape) and Cung Le (last fight in MMA). Bisping uses his assortment of tools well mixing in a combination of punches and kicks. He has an underrated wrestling as well and is capable of utilizing it once he wears down his opponent with his volume attack. On the defensive front, Bisping’s ability to defend strikes has significantly diminished in recent years because of the problems he has had with the vision of his right eye. The detached retina required surgery and has severely limited his vision from it. Anderson Silva (Record: 33-6-1, -320 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B+) One of the greatest fighters in the history of mixed martial arts, Anderson Silva returns to the octagon on Saturday. “The Spider” held the UFC middleweight championship for nearly seven years beating a who’s who of the middleweight division: Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen. Since he lost his belt to Chris Weidman in 2013, he’s gone 1-1 with a loss in the rematch to Weidman and the aforementioned victory over Nick Diaz. Since his last time in the octagon, there is no doubt that Anderson Silva has aged. Recent pictures of the legendary fighter make him look to be a fighter who is 40 years old and on the tail end of his career. With that said, Silva is one of the most gifted strikers to ever step foot in the octagon. He’s an extremely gifted striker with elements of capoeira, muay thai, and tae kwon do in his attack. Of his 33 wins, 20 of them have come by knockout. Silva has been known to put on a show for fans. He’s baited fighters to push forward and fight him in his fights. It’s that type of behavior that has had fans revel him, but also what cost him his championship against Weidman. Match-up This is a matchup a long time in the making. Both fighters arrived in the UFC in the middle of the last decade and are the only fighters left in the weight class who have fought for that duration still in the division and in the UFC. Bisping has wanted this fight for a long time and is the biggest fight of his career. The problem for Bisping in this matchup is both mental and physical. Bisping has struggled in big fights. He went 0-2 in the title eliminators he appeared in the UFC. Furthermore, when matched against the elite in the division such as Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold; he was finished in the second round in both fights. Vision is certainly a concern against a creative striker like Silva. The Brazilian is capable of things other fighters aren’t. His accuracy and variety will give Bisping all sorts of fits. If Bisping is going to win this fight, he will need to force this fight to the ground and out work Silva to a decision. Even if Silva’s skills have diminished, over the course of 25 minutes he will be able to find a home for his strikes to put away his opponent. Silva by KO/TKO (-115) is the most likely outcome here and worth a bet.
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