UFC on FX 7 Picks: Middleweight Fight Vitor Belfort (-140) vs. Michael Bisping (+110)

Michael BispingUFC on FX 7 Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil Saturday, January 19, 2013 Middleweights: Vitor Belfort (-140) vs. Michael Bisping (+110) Fight Breakdown: A title shot against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is on the line for Michael Bisping as he fights one of the true legends of the sport, Vitor Belfort, on the Brazilian’s home turf in the five-round main event of UFC on FX 7. Belfort (-140) opened as a slight favorite, while Bisping opened as a small underdog (+110), although the line has been bet down to a Pick ’em. Belfort (21-10) is coming off a spirited loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152, a fight in which “The Phenom” moved up a weight class and nearly submitted Jones with an armbar in the first round. However, Jones didn’t tap out and Belfort ended up being submitted in the fourth round himself. But we saw yet again just how dangerous he is in the first round. Of Belfort’s 21 career victories, 15 have come in the opening stanza, and 14 of those 21 wins came by knockout. Belfort is one of the most powerful one-punch knockout artists the sport has ever seen, and even in the later stages of his career he’s still dangerous. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Belfort is explosive on both the feet and the ground and if he can tag Bisping, he can beat him. But he has to do it early because Belfort tends to fade, and if Bisping can survive the first two rounds, he will be in trouble. Bisping (23-4) is one of the top middleweights in the sport, and if he defeats Belfort he’ll finally get a chance to fight Silva for the title. The Brit is a very good boxer and one of the most underrated MMA wrestlers in the sport today. The problem with Bisping, however, is that he has always choked in big fights with title shots on the line, such as his bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2 and his fight versus Dan Henderson at UFC 100. In the Henderson fight, we saw that Bisping’s chin is a question mark, and considering that Belfort hits just as hard, if not harder, he needs to be very careful to avoid the Brazilian’s thunder. In his last fight against Brian Stann at UFC 152, Bisping was able to mostly avoid the power punches while outstriking and outwrestling his more powerful opponent as well. If Bisping is able to replicate a similar gameplan, he definitely has a chance to win a decision over Belfort. Considering Bisping’s cardio is top notch and that he tends to excel in the later rounds, as long as he can survive Belfort’s early blitzkrieg, this is his fight to lose. Fight Prediction: Belfort definitely has power, and with one punch he can put Bisping’s lights out. However, I think Bisping is going to use his superior footwork and speed and avoid most of Belfort’s power shots. However, it would not surprise me at all if Bisping got rocked in the first round either. Regardless, I believe that Bisping is extremely motivated for this bout, and he’s going to come in with a wrestling-centered gameplan where he’ll push Belfort against the cage and probably even get some takedowns. Belfort is tough, so I don’t think Bisping will finish him, but ultimately I see Bisping winning a unanimous decision, probably by a 49-46 score. Adam’s Pick: Bisping via unanimous decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: If you can still get Bisping at plus money as an underdog, take a stab at the Brit to pull through and defeat Belfort on his home turf.

Written by Adam Martin.

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