UFC Fight Night 55 Play: Luke Rockhold (-450) vs Michael Bisping (+360)

Luke RockholdUFC Fight Night 55 Date: November 7, 2014 Arena: Allphones Arena City: Sydney, Australia Middleweight bout: Luke Rockhold (-450) vs Michael Bisping (+360) Fight Breakdown: Headlining UFC Fight Night 55 will be a highly anticipated bout full of beef and animosity between both fighters, as former Strikeforce middleweight title holder Luke Rockhold takes on The Ultimate Fighter season three winner Michael “The Count” Bisping. Heading into this 185 pound tilt, the sportsbooks have Rockhold heavily favored to win at -450 ($450 to win $100), while Bisping is available at the big underdog price of +360 ($100 to win $360) at Several Bookmakerss. Luke Rockhold (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) bounced back from the first knockout loss of his professional mixed martial arts career, which came against Vitor Belfort in Brazil, and he did so in impressive fashion against Costa Philipou, scoring a first round knockout of his own. He followed that up with an even more impressive outing, finishing Tim Boetsch in the first round of action with an incredible submission, officially dubbed as an inverted triangle kimura. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion will be looking to make it three in a row against Michael Bisping on his hunt for UFC gold. The Santa Cruz, CA native is a very talented grappler, both offensively and defensively. He has solid wrestling and a great submission game, as evident with his unorthodox submission of Boetsch. He is good at scoring takedowns, as well as defending them. He has a solid base, thanks to his background in Judo, and is hard to take down. To compliment his grappling, the 30-year old is also tremendously talented on the feet. He is a very well-rounded fighter who excells in many areas of mixed martial arts. Rockhold generally dictates where his fights take place, and has Octagon control. His striking skills are excellent, especially the variety of kicks he dishes out. He has a nice flying knee, and works some beautiful spinning kicks. He throws some head kicks, but moreso likes to attack his opponents’ body with kicks and knees. Rockhold works well against the cage, and he also likes to stand and trade with his opponents. He is always scoring points while looking for the finish. He is a fighter who competes with a lot of passion and heart, and he always carries it to the cage with him. Training out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion is a very well-conditioned athlete who will be able to go five rounds against Bisping, should the judges need to get involved. Michael “The Count” Bisping (25-6 MMA, 15-5 UFC) is coming off a fourth round TKO victory over Cung Le and will be looking to make it two in a row in Australia against surfer turned mixed martial artist Luke Rockhold. “The Count” is a talented kickboxer who mixes it up well on the feet. He has good footwork and head movement, doing an excellent job of positioning himself around the Octagon. He is a technical striker who possesses a nice lead jab, and puts together some solid and effective combinations, including a really nice 1-2 combo. The Ultimate Fighter season three veteran is great on the feet. His striking has always been solid, but it has really improved since he started working with Jason Parillo. The 22-time UFC veteran works nice inside leg kicks, and has a hard right hand he uses when presented with an opening. He has great takedown defense, and when taken down, does a tremendous job of getting back to his feet. He is very tough to keep down, even for a decorated wrestler. His offensive wrestling is solid, as well. Bisping works good takedowns, and has a good top game, being brutal and effective with his ground and pound whenever he does find himself in such a position. The Brit is focused, hungry and motivated to defeat Rockhold, largely in part due to the trash talk between them and Rockhold’s claim to finish Bisping. He currently has a small, fresh cut above his left eye, though he downplayed it for the media. One thing that has never been an issue for “The Count” is his conditioning. While he only been a full five rounds once in his professional mixed martial arts career, I have no doubt he will have enough in the tank to go the distance, should the fight find its way to the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Thoughts: To put it simply, I believe Rockhold is the better fighter here. If he wants to finish Bisping, I think he can do it, and he definitely wants to finish him, so that’s what I expect will happen. That said, Bisping, despite being 35 years of age, is still a very talented fighter, and given the opportunity, could very well seize it and put Rockhold away. This fight may be too personal for Rockhold. He could get carried away on the feet, get reckless and end up getting his lights shut off. That said, I do strongly favor him to win this fight, and do think he has a good chance of doing it inside the distance. The under 2.5 rounds prop is currently at the underdog price of +120, and I see enough value in that to make a play. Gabe’s Call: Rockhold by T/KO (elbows, knees and punches, 3:33 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Under 2.5 rounds (+120) 2u to win 2.4u

Written by Gabe Killian

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