Coming up this Saturday on FX, Michael Bisping will take on Vitor Belfort in Sau Paulo, Brazil. Belfort is playing the role of spoiler, while trying to put on a show in front of his home crowd. Bisping is looking to defeat the savvy veteran to gain a shot at fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva. These are two dangerous fighters looking to put on a good fight on free tv.
With Chael Sonnen moving up to light heavyweight, Bisping has become the most outspoken person in the middleweight division. In addition to this, he has become a top contender. Many believe he even bested Sonnen in their top contender bout on Fox last year in January. Outside of this close decision loss, he has won the last 5 fights he has been in. Critics of Bisping are quick to point out how he holds people in the clinch too long and grinds out boring decisions; however, I think Bisping has to potential to get a statement KO of Vitor this Saturday.
In his last 7 fights, Belfort has only lost to seemingly unbeatable champs Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. He had 5 fights in a row end in the 1st round before ALMOST submitting Jones in the first. Last time Belfort fought in Brazil, he took on "Rumble" Johnson in a match that biased officiating definitely influence. Anthony Johnson took Belfort down with ease but only controlled him without doing too much damage. Ref Dan Miragliotta stood them up multiple times almost instantly, where Belfort was more dangerous. Eventually he clipped Rumble and jumped on him to sink in a first round submission with a rear-naked choke to give him the win in front of an insane home crowd. Belfort will be dangerous like he always is, but will the crowd sway the officiating or even the judges like it did in the Johnson fight? Possibly.
Michael Bisping has his work cut out for him against the self-proclaimed "Old Lion," Vitor Belfort. Bisping would make a big statement if he goes to Belfort's backyard and beats one of the most elite fighters in the UFC. I see him grinding Belfort down early and knocking him out in the 4th round. The crowd will be wild and pulling for Belfort, but Bisping has too many tools to give away this great opportunity.
If he wins, Bisping will finally get that fight he has been begging for. Anderson Silva is insanely good and undefeated in the octagon. If these two meet it will probably just result in the Brazilian staying the champ, but Bisping believes he has the tools to beet the Spider. Chael was very insulting of Brazil as a country before his fight with Anderson at UFC 148, and Bisping will probably offend Brazil as well before either one of these 2 fights. Americans have grown very weary of Bisping because of his trash talk to Dan Henderson on the Ultimate Fighter and his smug comments towards other middleweights. Brazil now gets a turn to take a ride on the Bisping hating bandwagon. Whether he loses to Belfort, loses to Silva, or shockingly takes the UFC middleweight crown, fans in America, the UK, and Brazil will be very entertained by Michael Bisping. Love him or hate him, Bisping will be front and center in the middleweight division now, and likely into the future.