Bisping, the former middleweight champion, had his moments against St-Pierre and looked to be finding his rhythm before being clipped with a huge counter left hook in the third round. St-Pierre, the former welterweight champ, followed up with brutal elbows on the ground and eventually secured a rear-naked choke to become one of the few men in the promotion to capture titles in two separate weight classes.
Eager to prove that he still has what it takes to reclaim the middleweight title, Bisping will step in for Anderson Silva (who recently failed an out-of-competition drug test) at UFC Fight Night 122 to take on Kelvin Gastelum in the main event.
Bisping’s striking coach, Jason Parillo, believes the 26-year-old Gastelum is a better striker than St-Pierre and could be the ‘bigger threat’.
“Really, Kelvin is, in my opinion, on the feet, a tougher fight than Georges St-Pierre,” Parillo said on ESPN’s Five Rounds podcast last week, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “It’s not like Mike’s a guy that shoots and wrestles all the time so obviously it’s gonna be a lot of stand up fighting and this guy’s a bigger threat than I think that even Georges was.”
With that said, Parillo is confident Bisping has what it takes dust off his loss to St-Pierre and beat Gastelum next week.
“Mike is a world champion and he can fight any guy on the planet. Is there a question about how he’s gonna be mentally with how close this fight is? Sure, there could be. But I have a feeling Mike’s head is gonna be right in this fight and it’s something that he really wants to go out there and win and try to dust off his last loss. We’re going in. We’re gonna go in regardless of whether I have concerns or don’t have concerns. We’re gonna go in and we’re gonna go in there to win.”
Bisping, 38, takes on Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122 next Saturday, Nov. 25, at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.