October is right around the corner and with it, UFC Fight Night 30 on the 26th from Manchester, England, and a main card event featuring Michael Bisping and Mark Munoz.
The middleweight clash will have title implications as the number four Bisping takes on the number five Munoz, in a struggle for one or the other to firmly establish themselves as a contender.
For his part, Munoz will probably come in as the favorite and most fans would probably pick “"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" to dominate Bisping with his tremendous wrestling and ground ‘n pound.
However, Bisping has another view of it.
By Bisping’s account, he views this as a match between Munoz and his wrestling, as pitted against Bisping and his superior technical skills.
Of his preparations, “The Count” says that they are going well, and that he’s in shape, strong, healthy and feeling very positive about the fight. Of course, on this issue no one should doubt, because Bisping is notorious for being in shape, being ready to go and for always believing in himself. These are things that no one can accuse the English fighter of not having.
Bisping believes that Munoz will be looking to take the fight to the ground and will be hoping to avoid a technical stand-up fight. For this eventuality Bisping has readied himself by bringing in “good wrestlers”. However and regardless, Bisping has fared poorly against the wrestlers he has faced and will probably be looking to use his wrestling in reverse, in an effort to keep the fight standing; a fight that he could win.
As Bisping told “Givemesport.com”:
'You could say it's a striker vs. grappler matchup; he wants to take me down. He does have striking, he does have some powerful striking but it's orthodox and limited, so on the feet I'm a much better striker with much better technique, but that doesn't mean he's not dangerous on the feet.'
As an overall strategy and the specifics of it, the Count appears to be of a mind that the longer the fight goes on the greater his chances of winning.
As Bisping put it:
“As the fight wears on I'll start planting my feet more and look to hurt him and take him out. So, I think rounds two and three, once he's worn out a little bit, that's when I'll probably take him out…I'm gonna hit him in the face a bunch of times. He's gonna start getting more and more desperate, he's gonna realise that he can't take me down and he can't hold me down. Is he going to get me down once or twice? Probably. I doubt that's his entire game-plan, but will I pop right back on my feet? Yes I will…and every time I do it he's gonna get disillusioned, he's gonna lose heart, he's gonna start getting desperate then I'm gonna start hurting him more and more with shots. He hasn't got the best chin in the world, he's gonna start feeling the pain, he's gonna start feeling the pressure and in the end he's gonna be curled up in a ball on the floor waiting for the referee to stop it.'
Without looking past Munoz, Bisping believes “a perfect world” would see him defeat the Wrecking Machine and then be given the chance to fight the winner of Weidman / Silva.
As Bisping summed it up:
'I'd love a fight with Weidman. The UFC have told me that this fight has title implications. A good win over Munoz, if Weidman was to beat Silva again in the rematch there's possibility of a match with Weidman, or maybe one of the top contenders.”
However that’s a tall order all the way round. If Bisping can beat Munoz, his choices would be the reigning division champion, Chris Weidman, the legendary Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort or Jacare Souza. To be blunt, there’s not an easy fight on the list. Each opponent is a killer and has exhibited the one thing that Bisping has never demonstrated, and that’s KO power; each also has very solid or formidable ground games. On paper, at least, many fans would have difficulty seeing the count winning a fight with any of those opponents.
That aside, his bout with Munoz is the task at hand and given that he’s fighting in his hometown of Manchester, Bisping feels that he has an edge.
In remarking on the hometown advantage and what the crowd brings to the table for him, Bisping remarked:
'It's three years since I fought here (and) every time I've fought in the UK for the UFC I've won fight-of-the-night (3in total). I think that speaks for itself as for how much it mentally charges me…I walk out and the crowd are just absolutely ridiculous, they blow the roof off the arena. Obviously physically they can't help me, but mentally it charges me and helps me give a great performance obviously, because I get fight-of-the-night every time I fight here.
For me, I see Munoz as one of the toughest fights Bisping has ever had. If he can somehow stop the Wrecking Machine, then he will impress a lot of fans. However, Bisping really needs to “stop” Munoz and not eke out another decision victory. If his ambitions are to take out the likes of Weidman, Silva, Belfort and Souza, he’s going to need more than a “points” style, because that won’t cut it with those four killers.
I wish Michael all the best in the bout, but Munoz is a beast, motivated, in shape and has some of the heaviest ground ‘n pound in the business, to defeat him is not going to be easy.