UFC Fight Night 83: Silva vs. Bisping Date: February 27, 2016 Location: London, England Venue: The O2 Arena Broadcast: Fight Pass UFC Middleweight Contender Anderson Silva (-235) Profile: The last three years have been a nightmare for Anderson Silva (33-6 1NC). Long considered the top pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet, “The Spider” saw his UFC records for the most consecutive title defenses (10) and most consecutive wins (16) come to an end at the hands of Chris Weidman at UFC 162. His accomplishments inside the Octagon more than earned him a return bout with the newly crowned champion, which unfortunately ended when Silva suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in UFC history. To make matters worse, after over a year of recovery, he returned to the Octagon with a lackluster victory over Nick Diaz that was overturned after he tested positive for multiple banned substances. Now 40 years old, the former champion will be returning after over a year away from the sport due to a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Very few human beings have been able to pull off the types of feats Silva has been capable of in the past, but there will certainly be questions as to his mental and physical state heading into his next bout against Michael Bisping. UFC Middleweight Contender Michael Bisping (+178) Profile: The brash Michael Bisping (27-7) always has something to say, and after winning season two of The Ultimate Fighter and going 17-7 in UFC, he’s backed up his talk for the most part. The 36-year-old Brit was one of the top contenders at 185 lbs and was closing in on a title shot, but after losses to Vitor Belfort (via head kick KO) and Tim Kennedy (by decision), he was written off by most as a serious title contender. Bisping then took on Cung Le at UFC China in a five-round fight and knocked him out in round four with a knee and punches in one of the most impressive victories of his long career. The win put Bisping back in the good graces of the UFC, and the promotion rewarded him with a fight against top-ranked Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night 55, although he ultimately was defeated. However, he bounced back with a pair of decision wins over CB Dollaway at UFC 186 and UFC Fight Night 72 to climb back up into contention. With his well-rounded style — Bisping has underrated wrestling and technical striking, plus great cardio — he is one of the top fighters in the division and a threat to anyone in the weight class. Needless to say, a win over Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 83 would be career-defining and he will be talked about as a credible title challenger once again. Opening UFC Fight Night 83 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Silva a -235 favorite (bet $235 to win $100) while Bisping opened as a +178 underdog (bet $100 to win $178) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is a fight the UFC has been hoping to make for a long, long time, but Bisping always came up short when a shot at then-champion Silva’s title was on the line. While both men are in the twilight of their respective careers, they also still seem to have plenty left in the tank as was evidenced by their recent victories (although Silva’s was overturned). Silva will be fighting for the second straight time after over a year layoff and it usually gets harder and harder to come back in the same form the older you get. “The Spider” could definitely be vulnerable here. That being said, Bisping is also facing multiple issues. He was outworked over five rounds for the first time in his career against Tim Kennedy and he still doesn’t seem to be fully recovered from a serious eye injury which kept him out of action for nearly a year from 2013-2014. If Bisping is still having issues with his eye, Silva could have a field day with him. Also, if Silva can return to his championship form, Bisping will be in for an extremely long (or potentially extremely short) night.