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After 25 fights over 10 years in the UFC, Michael Bisping finally gets a title shot

The English middleweight steps in to face Luke Rockhold in the main event at UFC 199 on 4 June.

Michael Bisping celebrating his win against Anderson Silva back in February.
Michael Bisping celebrating his win against Anderson Silva back in February.
Image: Adam Davy

LUKE ROCKHOLD WILL still defend his UFC middleweight title for the first time in the main event at UFC 199 in Inglewood on Saturday, 4 June.

That’s in spite of the withdrawal of former champion Chris Weidman, who was due to face Rockhold in two-and-a-half weeks’ time in a rematch of their December bout at UFC 194, which Rockhold won via fourth-round TKO.

News emerged last night that Weidman had been forced to pull out of the fight, with the New York native explaining today on his Facebook page that he has sustained a neck injury which will require surgery.

Following his first-round TKO of Vitor Belfort at UFC 198 on Saturday, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza appeared to be the most worthy recipient of the opportunity to replace Weidman.

Dana White agreed, but the UFC president revealed on ESPN’s SportsCenter this afternoon that while Jacare was the front-runner, the Brazilian is unable to compete again so soon due to impending surgery on a knee injury.

Instead, Rockhold will take on English veteran Michael Bisping, who’s been handed the 185lbs title shot he’s been pursuing since he made his UFC debut in June 2006. Twenty-five bouts later, Bisping finally gets his chance.

The UFC 199 headliner will be a rematch of the Novemebr 2014 bout between the pair, which Rockhold won with a second-round submission (guillotine choke) in the main event at UFC Fight Night 55 in Sydney.

However, Bisping has rebounded from that loss with three consecutive wins, the most recent of which came against former champion Anderson Silva in February — the most important result of the 37-year-old Manchester native’s career so far.

Bisping will aim to become the first British fighter to win a UFC title, but Rockhold will enter the contest as a considerable favourite.

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Paul Dollery

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