Preview: Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping

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Today in London, England, UFC will put on the biggest fight to air on their digital streaming service, Fight Pass. Former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva will take on perennial favorite Michael Bisping in the main event. It’s fair to say that five years ago, this fight wouldn’t have been a question of who wins, but how and when Silva takes Bisping out. Now, the landscape has dramatically changed as both fighters have something to prove. 

Anderson Silva was the most dominate fighter on the planet until he lost to Chris Weidman and suffered a gruesome broken left leg in the rematch. Thirteen months later, Silva returned to earn a lackluster decision victory against Nick Diaz. Then, Silva tested positive for Drostanolone in his post-fight drug test, which is a banned substance. Silva was also fined and the result of his fight with Diaz was overturned to a no contest. 

The problem with testing positive for steroids is that once a fighter is caught, they’re retroactively guilty until proven innocent. What was a beautiful display of combative domination before the test failure is written off as a chemically enhanced performance thus becoming fiction instead of fact.

Michael Bisping has been one of the top ten fighters in the middleweight division for the majority of his career. While he always puts on a show and fights his heart out, “The Count” has never been able to win the big one. In fact, he’s never fought for UFC gold because the ghost of defeat hunts him down in title eliminator bouts.

When examining Bisping’s 27-7 record, there are several fighters on it who Bisping lost to who either have tested positive for PED’s or fought at the time using the controversial synthetic testosterone treatment that was banned in February 2014. The salty Brit has never failed a drug test or even been accused of taking PED’s. With today, falling one-day shy of Bisping’s 37th Birthday, time is now for him to make an indelible impression.

Silva vs. Bisping brings the presumption that both fighters are now competing on an even playing field. Bisping is as clean as he’s ever been and Silva won’t risk another go around PED’s as a second test failure takes him out of the game for two years and will irrevocably tarnish his legacy. If this is the case, Bisping wants to declare that he is among the sport’s elite when the deck isn’t stacked against him while Silva is out to prove that he made a one-time mistake and that his skill and accomplishments are as legitimate as they’ve ever been.

On paper, everything Bisping does, Silva does better. “The Spider” is faster, stronger, and the more accurate striker. The TUF season three winner fancies a stand up fight, but he doesn’t possess that one punch knockout power that Silva brings to the table. Plus, Bisping’s typically looks to wear his opponents down with strikes while keeping a fast pace which could present problems for the 40-year-old Silva.

Ultimately Michael Bisping’s lack of punching power and constantly circling into his opponent’s power hand will be his undoing. While anything can happen in a fight, Silva’s uncanny defensive prowess, especially his head movement and faints should go a long way in putting Bisping down in three.

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