In middleweight action, Britain's most prominent mixed martial artist, Michael Bisping (20-3, 10-3 UFC), continues his quest for chance to fight for the title as he battles Jorge Rivera (19-7, 7-5 UFC) at UFC 127 on Saturday night. Bisping is currently riding a two-fight win streak following an unanimous decision loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110 back in February of last year. With contenders falling at the wayside in the UFC's middleweight division, Bisping may have the chance to vie for a contention spot if he can push past Rivera and come out victorious in a more prominent fight down the line.
For Rivera, this is the last attempt to make a name for himself in the sport. At 38 years of age, time has passed him, but he's managed to string together three straight wins and a glimmer of hope. Knockout wins over Nate Quarry and Rob Kimmons prove that Rivera still has the power in his hands to be a threat inside the Octagon, but Michael Bisping is a completely different breed of fighter than the aforementioned.
To be perfectly honest, I think this is the match-up that most fans have focused on as the bane of this card. On paper, Bisping's career wins are much more significant that anything Rivera has accomplished. Most casual fans have no idea who Rivera is, and his video campaign to mock Bisping and create some hype around him doesn't really do it for me. On the technical side of this fight, Rivera doesn't stack up well against Bisping's boxing skills, and there isn't enough trash talk in the world that can change that fact. Well, unless Chael is at the helm.
I'll make this short and sweet. Rivera is by no means a sacrificial lamb in this fight. He has some grappling ability, and he does possess knockout power. But Bisping is the far more technical fighter. There is always the chance that Rivera lands the knockout blow, but I expect Bisping to maintain distance and pepper Rivera for three rounds -- winning via decision.