In UFC 199, current middleweight UFC champ, Luke Rockhold, will face off against, The Count, Michael Bisping.
I’ve always thought of Bisping as the MMA equivalent of Tim Henman (up there, but a level off the best), but recent performances have made me believe that he could indeed be an Andy-Murray-equivalent instead.
He definitely deserves his title shot – he’s been effectively annoying yanks for years, and fighting with 1.5 eyes. Seriously – despite his losses, he’s always fought the toughest guys and has shown some serious steel and toughness over the years, but especially in his win against Anderson Silva. I really hope he wins.
Some thoughts on the match up:
Rockhold’s High RoundHouse
This is arguably Rockhold’s most effective weapon, and needs to be countered or at least defended against in order to win.
Stalk, circle away, or back away and draw him in.
It’s extremely difficult to throw a roundhouse, if your opponent is walking towards you. This is why Bob Sapp used to charge at people in K-1.
If you constantly attempt to walk-down an opponent however, you can start running into things, especially if you head is in the middle – see Ronda Rousey v Holly Holm for an example.
Bisping could look to walk down Rockhold, feint for the shot and feint strikes, circle (away from the kick), and occasionally look to draw Rockhold towards him by staying out of range. What he can’t do is stand it kicking range, at all, or he is likely to eat another head kick.
Dealing with The Reach
Bisping is used to fighting at his own boxing range. He’s a tall Middleweight at 6ft 2, but Rockhold is bigger and taller.
To deal with this he needs to think about how he will get into-range. He could look to counter Rockhold’s straight punches with kicks, or even a shot for a single-leg-takedown.
He could even look to confuse Rockhold by using “the dart” and/or by switching leads.
The dart basically involves stepping forwards with a punch.
See below, TJ probes to find range with his lead right-hand, then steps in with the straight-left.
Bisping could, potentially, parry Rockhold’s straight punches and step forwards with a counter.
Bisping could potentially look to Mark Hunt’s favourite punches, the overhand right and the Russian Hook. These are great punches for shorter guys, and great counters to long, straight punches.
The Russian hook (AKA the casting punch) is basically a big hay-maker, with the thumb turned down at the end of the punch. This gives it the range of a straight punch, but the power of a looping punch.
Quite possibly a big ask however, to add completely new punches to your game on 2 weeks notice.
Arguably Bisping’s greatest weapons, are his toughness, and his cardio. Outworking Rockhold is definitely his best chance of success.
Keys to making Rockhold expend as much energy as possible:
Throw Diaz style, 70% power punches in volume
Constantly dummy the takedown
Shoot for a single leg, to make both fighters expend energy (make sure to have a default backup technique if Rockhold defends the takedown)
Do Something Different
Sounds obvious, but he needs to change something to beat Rockhold this time. Maybe he should join the oblique-kick-club to confuse Rockhold, or shoot for a ‘snatch single’ (and them dummy the shot and throw “the dart”.
Ideally he needs to keep Rockhold at bay for the first 2 rounds, and keep the pace high enough to knacker him out.
Good Luck Mike!