Preview of UFC Fight Night 84: Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping
By Owen Phillips 26/2/16 Previews
MMA Files previews Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 84 in London and three other standout fights that should not be missed.
Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping (27-7) has wanted to get a fight against Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (33-6, 1NC) for a long time. He would have preferred it was when Silva was champion but he will take this opportunity like it is for a title. UFC Fight Night 84, also known as UFC London will take place in England’s capital on Sunday (Australian time) and ‘The Count’ still believes he deserves a title shot and beating Silva will be the necessary scalp to continue to make such a case.
Ben Fowlkes from MMAjunkie said “…I think Bisping is one of the best fighters to have never held a major MMA title.” He has been fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) since 2006 and has managed to draw a crowd whether people love him or hate him. The haters may suggest he talks too much and he has a terrible accent. The lovers would suggest he has a technical well-rounded skill-set and is one of the best trash-talkers in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Anderson Silva has been the most dominant champion in UFC history. He reigned over the middleweight division for seven years with all sorts of momentous finishes to fights. He possesses high-level Muay Thai kickboxing, utilizing his reach and active head movement.
He chooses to keep his hands low and rely on his reflexes to avoid getting hit. It is an effective technique to avoid the takedown with under-hooks but it proved not to be flawless when Silva got caught by Chris Weidman and relinquished the belt for the first time. That was the first time he had been knocked out and the hands down style was put under the microscope.
While keeping your hands up may be technically correct and a good way to deflect strikes, it is not Anderson Silva’s style. The crowd expects him to be bobbing and weaving to avoid receiving punishment. It is amazing to watch Anderson Silva in true form; almost untouchable.
At UFC Fight Night 84, Michael Bisping will look to get inside against Silva and push the pace of the fight. He will have to make sure he is either all the way in or all the way out to avoid Silva’s kicking game. Bisping will look to his crisp hand combinations and maybe even initiate a clinch and make the fight scrappy.
If possible Bisping will work in a takedown and control the fight from top position, similar to how Chael Sonnen did against Anderson Silva in their first fight. Silva will look impose his kicks to the legs and body, and could set up for a fight changing head kick. If the fight takes place in the clinch then Silva is equally comfortable there and may be at an advantage even though it’s a safer place for Michael Bisping to work.
Anderson Silva has an impressive Thai clinch where he can serve up devastating knees. Bisping needs to really mix things up and implement his full MMA game to continuously give new looks to Silva. If Silva gets too comfortable with Bisping then he will be able to pick him apart and produce more spectacular highlights.
If Brad Pickett is involved you don’t want to miss the fight
A salivating matchup also taking place on the main card is between Brad Pickett (24-11) and Francisco Rivera (11-5, 1NC). ‘One Punch’ Pickett is never in a boring fight. He loves to come forward and throw heavy hands. He does not mind wearing a few punches so he can get in the pocket and let loose some of his own.
Rivera fought John Lineker in his last fight and was drawn into a wild brawl that didn’t end well for him. Lineker is known for having a hard head and ‘Cisco’ Rivera engaged in a firefight which ended in him getting heavily dazed and then submitted. This bout was incredible to watch.
Fransisco Rivera has good power in his punches that can put the lights out against any bantamweight. He does not want to be involved in a crazy toe-to-toe slugfest with Pickett, recklessly winging punches and taking too many blows to the head. The Lineker fight showed that ‘Cisco’ needs to stay technical and use his good kickboxing to score strikes against Pickett.
Pickett has good wrestling and may look for a few takedowns. He looked fantastic against booming youngster Thomas Almeida on the feet until getting caught and he does not want to continually rely on his granite chin to get him through fights. Mixing his boxing up with wrestling will be the key for Pickett and this collision with Francisco Rivera looks certain to deliver an amazing spectacle at UFC London.
The man to take English MMA into the future
Impressive English up-and-comer Tom Breese (9-0) takes on experienced Japanese submission specialist Keita Nakamura (31-6-2, 1NC) in a welterweight clash in another main card bout at UFC Fight Night 84. Breese looked sensational when he destroyed Cathal Pendred in his last fight. His straight punches were a joy to watch and extremely accurate to put away the durable Irishman.
Nakamura won his return bout to the UFC against Li Jingliang demonstrating his superior grappling skills that was expertly predicted by David Castillo from Bloody Elbow when he was previewing that fight. Getting past Breese’s striking will be much difficult in this upcoming matchup and he will have to be very tricky to get inside and get the takedown, or work from being taken down.
In the Jingliang fight, Nakamura was being thoroughly outclassed and absorbed some punishment then came back to win by a sensational rear-naked choke. Breese told the Daily Star about Nakamura, “I’ve watched his fights and feel I can capitalise on my striking and even grappling.” He went on to mention, “It is most likely going to end in a KO. You can’t beat a KO.” Nakamura will likely need some of the resilience he has shown previously when he meets an unbeaten and confident Tom Breese at UFC London.
A lightweight showdown
On the preliminary portion of UFC London there is an intriguing lightweight battle between Rustam Khabilov (17-3) and Norman Parke (21-4-1). Khabilov has a background in combat sambo and burst into the UFC with scary suplexes that helped finish Vinc Pichel. One of the few fighters to pull off perfect suplexes in MMA, he has struggled somewhat to get his hands on his recent opponents leading to a two-fight skid and 3-2 overall in the UFC.
Norman Parke had a last start win against Reza Madadi to break a two-fight losing streak. He is a very technical striker who out-strikes and out-works most of his opponents for decision victories. His only losses in the UFC are to Gleison Tibau who tested positive to performance enhancing drugs and Francisco Trinaldo who is a quality competitor.
Parke is always very keen for the stoppage. Sometimes it appears to be a desperation because it would be something that would get him more attention and bigger fights. It is hard to get noticed in the UFC lightweight division and sometimes it can take an eight-fight or nine-fight winning streak to get a shot at the title, and you have to look sensational in your performances too.
Khabilov would like to be able to throw Parke around in this fight. Parke has good takedown defence so it may well play out on the feet where Parke could have a technical advantage. Khabilov has reasonable striking skills and it will be interesting to see how they stack up against Parke, if he is forced to strike when he cannot take the fight to the ground.