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Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Fight Night 84's Michael Bisping resident fighter analyst -- and aspiring professional fighter -- Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC Fight Night 84 headliner Michael Bisping, who looks to earn the biggest win of his career this Saturday (Feb. 27, 2015) inside The 02 Arena in London, United Kingdom.

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Long-time Middleweight veteran, Michael Bisping, is set to scrap with former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion, Anderson Silva, this Saturday afternoon (Feb. 27, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 83 inside The 02 Arena in London, United Kingdom.

For the first time in years, Bisping strung together consecutive victories by taking a close split decision win over Thales Leites. Additionally, Leites is one of the highest ranked opponents that Bisping has beaten, making that victory a rather significant moment for the Englishman.

In fact, Bisping's win streak was enough to finally earn him a fight opposite "The Spider." While the belt may no longer be on the line, Bisping has been campaigning for this chance for a very long time; therefore, it's time to see if Bisping really can compete with the dangerous Brazilian.

Let's take a closer look at his skill set:


While fans may frequently criticize and joke about Bisping's lack of one punch knockout power, he really is a strong example of a volume striker. Bisping may not be shutting out anyone's lights, but he overwhelms his opponents and saps their will to keep fighting, which has allowed him to finish 15 of his opponents via strikes.

On the whole, Bisping relies on his boxing more than anything else. He's a fairly long and tall Middleweight who makes good use of that range, peppering his opponents from the outside and keeping them on the end of his punches. A large part of this is due to his footwork, as Bisping does a nice job staying light on his feet and preventing his foe from closing the distance.

Bisping relies heavily on his straight punches early in the fight. He does a nice job snapping his opponent's head back with the jab (GIF), and Bisping will follow up with a solid cross as well. This is really the core of Bisping's game -- he generally finds good success on the feet when sticking to simple combinations of long punches (GIF). Simple though they may be, Bisping's feints and activity make these combinations effective.

While on the topic of Bisping's outside game, it's worth mentioning that his overall kicking ability has improved greatly over the years. He now mixes chopping low kicks and quick head kicks into his game and movement rather efficiently, which is a nice wrinkle to his game.

Bisping is very much a fighter who gets better as the fight drags on. Due to his pace and excellent conditioning, Bisping is able to maintain his output and continue to establish his rhythm even deep into a fight. Meanwhile, his opponent -- even if he doesn't completely gas -- will start to slow down, which allows Bisping to land harder shots and become more effective.

As Bisping begins to land more, he builds upon his combinations. Rather than merely peck his opponent from the outside, Bisping will start to commit more of his weight to punches and dig to the body. By increasing his output even more, Bisping grows his advantage as his opponent is forced to do even more work (GIF).

Furthermore, Bisping will even close the distance a bit and work in the clinch. That's an area where he's rather effective with harder punches and knees, and it will tax his opponent's conditioning as well.

All together, this makes Bisping a nightmare opponent for men without stellar gas tanks.

Defensively, Bisping has always been a hittable fighter. He has a habit of standing a bit too tall and attempting to back straight out of exchanges, which has left him open to wide counter punches. While he's only ever been knocked out by two of the hardest hitters in the sport's history, Bisping has been dropped quite a few additional times in many of his fights.


Bisping's wrestling grew from a weakness to a strength across his career. He's still not a very active offensive wrestler, but he's managed to shift the momentum of a few fights by scoring some key takedowns and landing with hard ground strikes.

When Bisping does look for the takedown, it's usually for a standard double leg against the cage (GIF). Bisping does a nice job of disguising the shot by scoring with a lot of dirty boxing in the clinch before level changing, which helps him get deep on his opponent's hips.

Bisping is a very difficult man to takedown thanks in large part to his movement-heavy striking style. Bisping is constantly circling around -- often while he punches -- which makes lining up a double leg rather difficult. Since he prefers volume striking to stepping into power punches, it's not easy to catch him off-balance from punching either. Finally, Bisping's habit of striking at the end of his own range is also very helpful.

To counter his opponent's shot, Bisping has a strong sprawl and whizzer. If his opponent does manage to close the distance into the clinch or against the cage, Bisping is still a difficult man to control. Notably, he did a very nice job reversing the clinch opposite Chael Sonnen and forcing him back into the cage.

For a long time, Bisping was the absolute best at working back to his feet after being taken down. That title likely left his hands -- perhaps to Luke Rockhold -- after Tim Kennedy became the first to truly control Bisping, but it's still one of his strongest areas.

Once Bisping is taken down, he begins scooting toward the fence. To do this, he pushes away at his opponent, frames the face/head, and scoots his hips away. As his opponent clings to him, Bisping will dig for an underhook. Once he secures it, he'll lean into it and create space to stand. He may eat a few punches in the process, but this returns Bisping to his feet with an underhook.

If Bisping fails to get an underhook, he'll overhook his opponent's arm and do a whizzer. This still creates the space necessary to stand back up, it just leaves him in a less desirable position in the clinch (GIF).

Perhaps the most important aspect of wall-walking -- and returning to the feet in general -- is to never allow the top wrestler to secure a position. Bisping does not allow his opponent to settle and begin attacking with strikes or submissions, as Bisping has already began the process of standing back up.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Bisping is not much of an offensive jiu-jitsu player, but he's nonetheless proven his grappling ability. When on the mat, he does a decent job working to advance position, though it's usually with the goal of landing ground strikes rather than attempting submissions.

Defensively, Bisping is a very solid grappler. He's only ever been submitted once in his long career, and that was directly after absorbing a nasty head kick from champion Luke Rockhold. A fairer example of his defensive grappling came against Kennedy, as Bisping repeatedly recovered from bad positions to get back to his guard and avoided the grappler's submission attempts.


Bisping has been trying to fight Anderson Silva for a very long time, and most fans have laughed away the idea of him winning that fight. While it still seems unlikely to this analyst, this is Bisping's opportunity to prove that he really did have something for the long-time champion. Bisping's chance at actually capturing the title may be slimmer than ever considering how effortlessly Rockhold routed his defenses and finished him, but this could nonetheless become the biggest moment of a strong career for "The Count."


Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt, is an undefeated amateur fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport's most elite fighters.

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