Our very own Rich Wyatt brought up some excellent points in his breakdown of the Bisping/Silva clash earlier this morning:
The fighters in the middleweight division tend to be noticeably quicker and this could cause problems for this veteran fighter. On the other hand, sometimes guys are able to bring most of their striking power with them down to a lower weight class. If that is the case, this excursion into the middleweight division could get really interesting. I see Bisping setting the tone early in this one, controlling the distance, scoring with nice kicks and punches and continuing to circle off, frustrating Silva somewhat.
I just wanted to touch on some other facets of this fight, mainly each fighters mindset coming into the fight. Both fighters feel as though they have the correct game plan to oust the other. Bisping thinks all he needs to do is avoid Wanderlei's swarms of punches and he'll be fine. Silva thinks all he needs to do is follow Dan Henderson's approach of stalking Bisping and throwing power shots and he'll eventually catch "The Count" for the KO. Both fighters have some good reason to believe those game plans will work. Wanderlei Silva absolutely believes that Bisping doesn't hit hard enough to knock him out and he very well could be right. After all, Bisping's power is probably comparable or lesser than Rich Franklin's, and Silva traded with him just fine for three hard fought rounds at UFC 99 last year. However, Bisping was dropped by Denis Kang in his last fight at UFC 105. Kang has good power, but I doubt he hits as hard as Wanderlei Silva. Check out my 'x-factors' for this one after the jump.
-Can Wanderlei Silva make 185, and if so how much of an effect will it have on his cardio? The rumors were that he struggled to make the 195lb catch weight with Rich Franklin, and he did appear to gas in that fight just a bit. Now Silva has had ample time to make the weight cut adjust for this fight. Bisping is a volume striker and will use a lot of movement in this one as he did against Dan Henderson before getting his lights put out. If this fight goes into the later rounds, does Silva have the stamina to keep flurrying against Bisping with power shots?
-Can Bisping withstand the power shots from Wanderlei Silva? A lot of people doubt Bisping's chin after the big right hand from Henderson put him out. It's true he got dropped by Kang, but he recovered almost immediately. Also, he took some pretty good shots from Rashad Evans at UFC 78 as a light heavyweight and held up pretty well.
So it'll be Bisping's volume striking against the power and aggression of Wanderlei Silva. Bisping has been in this predicament before against Chris Leben and even compared Leben to Silva. However, make no mistake about it, Wanderlei Silva is no Chris Leben. Although they have the same looping style while punching, Silva's strikes come in at a torrid pace in bunches. Whereas, Leben is slower and depends on the one big one to put his opponents away. Can Bisping survive this for three rounds, or could Silva's cardio allow the count to pull this one out?