TUF Nations Finale Fight Breakdown: Michael Bisping (-175) vs. Tim Kennedy (+155)

UFC-159 The main event of the TUF Nations Finale is a five-round middleweight bout between Michael “The Count” Bisping and Tim Kennedy. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Bisping as a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Kennedy is a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Bisping at -165 and Kennedy at +125, meaning there has been slight action on the favorite Bisping so far. This is a competitive fight to be sure, but I believe the betting public might be on the wrong track here as I’m picking Kennedy to get the upset win. Here’s why. Bisping (24-5) is one of the top middleweights in the world and has been for quite some time. The 35-year-old won TUF Season 3 and since then has become one of the company’s biggest stars and one of the best 185ers out there with his combination of excellent kickboxing and underrated wrestling. In his UFC career he is 14-5 and holds notable victories over Alan Belcher, Brian Stann, Jason Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Dan Miller, Matt Hamill, Chris Leben, and Jorge Rivera. However, while Bisping has beat up the second tier of the middleweight division he has faltered against the cream of the crop and was brutally knocked out buy both Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson. Still, outside of those losses (and a light heavyweight loss to Rashad Evans) Bisping has been nothing short of excellent inside the UFC Octagon and this Wednesday at the TUF Finale he gets to settle his beef against his arch rival Kennedy. Kennedy (17-4) is one of the more underrated middleweights out there and since making his UFC debut last year he’s gone 2-0 inside the Octagon with a knockout win over Raphael Natal and a decision win over Roger Gracie to earn the chance to fight the top-ranked Bisping. Kennedy, who is 34, is a very well-rounded fighter with good wrestling, solid striking, excellent submissions, and also very good cardio. He’s also one of the physically strongest fighters in the division. He has been on a roll the last few years and is actually 5-1 in his last six bouts with the only loss coming to Luke Rockhold and with a win in that period coming over Robbie Lawler. He also lost a razor-thin fight to Ronaldo “Jacare’ Souza in the Strikeforce cage. And yet, for whatever reason, Kennedy is constantly under appreciated. Blessed with the opportunity to headline yet another UFC card against a big name in Bisping, Kennedy has the chance to emerge as a true contender with a win over “The Count” this Wednesday in Quebec City, Canada. This is a fight that can play out in a lot of ways, but I think it will mostly take place in the centre of the Octagon where both men will stand and trade punches to the crowds delight. I think it will be an exciting fight but Bisping’s eye injury is a huge concern and could very well limit his ability to see strikes coming. In a five-round fight anything can happen, and I think Kennedy will be able to do enough to win a decision or possibly even get a surprising knockout over Bisping to pick up the biggest win of his career to date. This is a close fight and while it’s tempting to bet on Kennedy at +155, it’s hard to bet against a fighter so consistent as Bisping is so I can’t recommend a play. However, I still believe with all the red flags surrounding Bisping that this is certainly a dog or pass situation and I think if Kennedy gets closer to +200 that he would have to be worth a shot. As for props, this is a tricky fight to predict so I would just pass this bout completely and target other fights on the card for plays instead.

Written by Adam Martin.

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