The Future of UFC’s Middleweight Title

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Michael Bisping reigning supreme against Luke Rockhold. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Although Michael Bisping is the current UFC middleweight champion, I do not suspect he will be for long; Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping will go down for the count when he faces Yoel Romero.

Bisping was easily a contender for fighter of the year. In fact, he had a year any MMA fighter would want. Bisping beat Anderson Silva, who is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time, in an intense thriller. Albeit Silva is no longer in his prime, Bisping displayed tremendous heart after being struck by a flying knee that would send any other man into unconsciousness.He weathered the storm and won by decision. Bisping followed by exposing Luke Rockhold to avenge his loss from an earlier encounter between the two. This time, Bisping won via first round knockout and became the champion. It was an unforgettable moment and after this fight, the naysayers were silenced. However, his next fight was a different story.

Bisping was unable to finish Dan Henderson, a 46 year old veteran, but, won a controversial decision (vindicating the worst loss of his career). This fight is evidence he will not be ready for Yoel Romero.

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Yoel Romero weighing in with intensity.

Yoel ‘The Soldier of God’ Romero is an athletic anomaly who also remains undefeated in the UFC. Romero also has a reputation for being a dirty fighter who will do anything to win. He defeated former champion, Chris Weidman, with a wicked flying knee, and prevailed against top contender, Jacare Souza.

Analyzing the fight metrics between Bisping and Romero may be deceiving on paper. Although Bisping has a slight height and reach advantage, Romero will have the strength and size advantage. Romero has defended close to 80% of attempted takedowns and lands more than half of his significant strikes. Romero is a powerful and tactful striker and, we will see him try to close the distance and impose his wrestling prowess on Bisping. With this, it is important to mention Romero may be able to better control whether the fight stays a stand-up exchange or goes to the ground.

However, the champion will have unparalleled experience, with close to 40 fights. Bisping has fought five round fights before and his conditioning will be paramount in this fight. Additionally, Bisping has the highest significant striking defense in the division. He will use his boxing to execute quick combinations while close to his opponent, and step away, using the jab to create distance. The champion will want to avoid the ground and want to avoid the clinch.

If I am wrong and Bisping triumphs, I believe he will win by decision. His chances of winning increase the longer the fight proceeds. Romero’s size will not help him in a drawn-out dogfight and Bisping is known for his high-caliber conditioning.

Regardless, both fighters are cerebral in their striking. Bisping’s recent win against Rockhold and Romero’s victory over Weidman are evidence of this. The two largest factors in the fight are the length of the fight and whether Romero can remove the space between himself and the champion. Bisping is holding the title for a reason but, Romero will finish him. I predict a second or third round technical knockout finish (TKO) for Romero.

There are two reasons why I believe Romero will hold the title all year (unless he fails a drug test). Firstly, he has already beat some of his toughest competition in Weidman and Souza. Secondly, he will most likely only fight one or two times in 2017, including the bout with Bisping. Bisping will be undergoing knee surgery and is likely to fight again in May.

Whether Bisping wins or not, I still predict he will not remain champion by 2018. The top five middleweight fighters are frightening. Behind Romero, Bisping can expect a vengeful Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, Chris Weidman, and Gegard Mousasi.

The fight between Bipsing and Romero is currently unscheduled but, has been rumoured to take place in spring of this year.

Do you agree with this article? What do you expect to see in a match between these two? Comment below!

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