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UFC Fight Night 84 fight card: Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping full fight preview

Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping will battle TONIGHT (Feb. 27, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 84 inside 02 Arena in London, Engalnd. In a match up of veteran strikers, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contenders Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping will clash this Saturday afternoon (Feb. 27, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 84 inside 02 Arena in London, England.

Silva has had a rough go of things as of late -- he's winless in his last three bouts -- but he's hoping to turn that around tonight. Furthermore, "The Spider" was hoping to remind fans of his legendary knockout ability.

On the other hand, Bisping has put together consecutive wins for the first time in many years. If he can extend that win streak here by earning the biggest victory of his career, Bisping will be closer to the title than he's ever been.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:

Anderson Silva
Record: 33-6 (1)
Key Wins: Chael Sonnen (UFC 148, UFC 117). Vitor Belfort (UFC 126), Forrest Griffin (UFC 101)
Key Losses: Chris Weidman (UFC 166, UFC 162)
Keys to Victory: Silva is a devastating counter striker with some slick jiu-jitsu ability. For many years, these skills allowed him to rule the Middleweight division, and he scored some of the most famous finishes in the sport's history as champion.

Overall, this bout is a test of Silva's current ability. If he's still reasonably close to his prime form, this is a very favorable style match up for him and should result in a classic Silva knockout.

To explain it simply, Bisping is a volume striker with some historically shaky defense. He's not much of a takedown threat, so this will be a kickboxing battle. Therefore, Bisping will be throwing a high number of strikes, which means that Silva will have a high number of opportunities to counter those strikes.

And -- as the eloquent Michael Goldberg once stated -- Silva's precision is very precise. When given those opportunities, he capitalizes like few others.

With a kick, punch, elbow, or knee, Silva makes his opponent pay dearly.


Michael Bisping
Record: 27-7
Key Wins: Thales Leites (UFC Fight Night 72), C.B. Dollaway (UFC 186), Brian Stann (UFC 152), Alan Belcher (UFC 159)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC Fight Night 55),Tim Kennedy (TUF Nations Finale), Vitor Belfort (UFC on FX 7)
Keys to Victory: Bisping is one of the sport's most successful volume strikers. Using his cardio as a weapon, Bisping keeps a high output until his opponent simply cannot keep up then overwhelms him.

In this bout, Bisping needs to keep an active pace but remain disciplined. His ultimate goal should be to drag Silva into deep waters, as the Brazilian is now 40 years old and has suffered injuries and suspensions in recent years.

Cardio and reaction time are among the first things to go with age, and Bisping does have it in him to take advantage of both.

If Bisping can force his opponent work and get tired -- even if it costs him some early rounds -- it will be huge for him. Silva is a fighter that relies on his defensive ability to react and counter. As he fatigues, that will get more difficult, allowing Bisping to score with more punches and become more effective.

With all that in mind, Bisping's main key here is too stay tight early on. He cannot over commit to a punch or kick as Silva will capitalize, and Silva rarely needs more than one opportunity. Much like Weidman, Silva needs to pressure but stay focused and in position to absorb strikes.

Bottom Line: While it seems unlikely to me that either man is truly relevant in the 2016 title picture -- which is a shocking display of how quickly times change, considering Silva's longtime dominance -- but it's a very important fight for both athletes.

Silva has stated recently that he has no desire to retire, but he needs to prove that he's still a top fighter if he intends to keep fighting. He's doesn't need to be champion, but there's very little desire to see an aged Silva compete with men outside of the top 15 who has never been heard of by the casual fan.

A win, meanwhile, keeps the slim hope of that one last title run alive, but more importantly, it shows Silva can still hang with tough, name fighters. If he can defeat Bisping, there are plenty of other interesting challenges for "The Spider" inside the Middleweight division.

As for the consequences of Bisping's future and legacy, Jesse Holland wrote a rather insightful article about that very topic right HERE.

TONIGHT at UFC Fight Night 83, Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping will collide in the main event. Which fighter will have his hand raised?

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