Michael Bisping: underdog. Colin Williams/Colin Williams Photography/Press Association Images

Un-caged: The time for talking is over for Sonnen and Bisping

Although the expected verbal warfare didn’t completely materialise, the focus now shifts from the lips to the fists as the two face off for a shot at the middleweight title.

DESPITE NOT BEING the main event for the upcoming UFC show, the Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping fight has filled the most column inches this week.

Although the expected verbal warfare didn’t completely materialise, the focus now shifts from the lips to the fists as the two face off for a shot at the middleweight title.

And while Rashad Evans and Phil Davis quietly prepare for the official main event, they must feel like the most ignored headliners in UFC history.

The kings of self promotion

One thing we learned this week is that Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping are two of the most bankable fighters in the UFC. For conflicting reasons, these two draw a huge number of opinions from fans and media alike, making them the number one show to see this weekend.

The exchanges in the lead-up were more respectful than most expected, although there was a bit of needle in some barbed responses. With all the talking done, it’s the action inside the Octagon that we are looking forward now and Sonnen is the strong favourite to win this fight.

His elite level wrestling should overwhelm “The Count” even though the Manchester man is the stronger fighter on the feet. Bisping doesn’t possess the necessary one punch KO power to trouble the Oregon native, and Sonnen is just about stronger in every other aspect.

Both men are very motivated for a title shot and this should make for an exciting fight, and whoever wins it, their bout with Anderson Silva is on-course to be the biggest fight of the year.

YouTube credit: UFC

Some “Suga” for “Mr Wonderful”

The fight between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis finally happens this weekend, six months after the original scheduling of the bout. Dana White has hinted that win lose or draw, Evans could still be granted his wish of a shot at his foe and current light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

And while no such promise is there for Davis, you would think that an impressive win over “Suga” would be enough to secure him the title shot.

This is a tight match-up that is hard to call. “Suga” looks as if he is finally over the niggling injuries that have plagued him for the past couple of years and he has looked progressively better with every fight under his belt.

Both are accomplished wrestlers and as they cancel each other out in that department, Rashad’s superior stand-up could be the telling point of this fight.
Davis hasn’t fought since March 2011, and despite being unbeaten, a fresh and hungry Rashad could be the one to give him the first loss on his record.

YouTube credit: mmarecruiter

Maia is the forgotten man

Things don’t come easy in the UFC, just ask Demian Maia. He must have thought his luck was in when the Sonnen fight was scrapped, but he faces an equally tough opponent in unbeaten Chris Weidman.

“The Hangman” has recorded three straight victories in his UFC career to date, with the last two coming by way of impressive submissions.

Maia burst onto the MMA scene in spectacular fashion in 2007 but his career has somewhat plateaued in recent times. The Brazilian has not stopped a fighter since he beat Sonnen in 2009, and his last four victories have all come via unanimous decisions.

Both men prefer to fight on the ground so expect a slow burning tactical battle, with Weidman living up to the hype by gaining a hard fought decision victory.

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