UFC 159 Opening Odds Breakdown: Middleweights Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

Alan BelcherUFC 159: April 27, 2013 Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey UFC Middleweight Contender Michael Bisping (-180) Profile: The brash Michael Bisping (23-5) always has something to say, and after winning Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter and going 10-4 in UFC, he has backed up his talk for the most part. Of late, Bisping has been developing the rest of his fight repertoire to supplement his solid striking skills. Now with the ground game to complement his stand-up, the 34-year-old Brit has been able to string together a number of impressive wins over the likes of Matt Hamill, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Chris Leben and Jason Miller at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. In a middleweight title eliminator fight at UFC on FOX 3 against top contender Chael Sonnen, Bisping lost a highly controversial unanimous decision and then suffered a torn meniscus in his knee that caused him to withdraw from his ensuing matchup with Tim Boetsch.  Following his recovery, he earned a unanimous decision win against Brian Stann at UFC 152 to put himself within striking distance of a middleweight title shot against champ Anderson Silva. Unfortunately for Bisping, Vitor Belfort did the striking in his latest bout and knocked him out in yet another title eliminator fight, setting his career back again as he continues to chase that elusive championship matchup with Silva. UFC Middleweight Contender Alan Belcher (+140) Profile: Alan Belcher (18-7) is a Duke Roufus-trained middleweight who has had a rebirth of sorts, as it was just over two years ago when he began to lose vision in his right eye, threatening his fighting career in the process. After emergency surgery, the 28-year-old Belcher made nothing less than a miraculous recovery and was back in training a year later for his return UFC fight with Jason MacDonald. In that fight, which took place at the UFC’s final ‘Fight Night’ card on Spike TV, Belcher hurt MacDonald with a barrage of punches that forced him to verbally submit. Belcher’s next opponent at UFC on FOX 3 was fearsome ground specialist and fellow middleweight contender Rousimar Palhares, who was also handled with impressive ease via TKO in the first round. Belcher was originally supposed to face Vitor Belfort at UFC 153, but Belfort was pulled from that bout to fight Jon Jones at UFC 152. That extra time off allowed Belcher to recover from a spinal fracture and prepare for a rematch with Yushin Okami, who ended up beating him a second time with a dominant unanimous decision victory at UFC 155. Opening UFC 159 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Bisping a small -180 favorite (bet $180 to win $100) while Belcher opened as a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. Bisping always seems to be fighting with a chip on his shoulder, but he admitted he made a mistake in his loss to Belfort and did not blame his opponent’s use of TRT even though he strongly opposes it. As frustrating as that setback has to be for him, he is focused on taking out his anger on Belcher and moving back into title contention. Belcher did not perform well in his last fight against Okami, as he let his opponent control him and did not do much of anything following his brutal KO of Palhares. Bisping will likely follow a much different strategy than Okami and try to simply beat up Belcher rather than look to grind out a victory on the ground. Belcher can be very dangerous with his stand-up game though, and his kickboxing skills are comparable to those of his opponent. Another intangible worth mentioning is that Belcher is still upset that he did not get the chance to face Belfort  at UFC 153, and then Bisping got the next shot after Belfort lost to light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Like Bisping, Belcher also has to be extremely disappointed about his most recent performance. This matchup should allow both fighters to do what they do best in what could end up being a no-holds barred brawl between two pissed-off, Top 10 middleweight contenders.

Written by Matty

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