UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben
October 18th, 2008 8 PM
Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben
UFC Betting Pick: Michael Bisping -220
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UFC Middleweight fight:Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben
For some reason a lot of fighters don’t like Michael ”The Count” Bisping (16-1) but he is a much better fighter, especially at middleweight, than most people think. He will be fighting in his home country at UFC 89 in front of his die heard fans at National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England.
In all honesty he does not get much of a test as he will be fighting Chris “The Crippler” Leben (18-4) who is at best an average fighter. Leben is a fighter with great heart but his heart no where near matches his skill. He puts on a great MMA fight every time he fights but he has no skill to match Bisping in this fight. The good thing about Leben is that he can take a punch and that is his biggest weapon.
Despite the fact that Leben can take a punch he will be hit and hit hard all night in his fight. He just does not have the overall skills to beat Bisping. Technically Bisping is a fundamentally better striker. He has a kickboxing background where he was the North West Area title, and the Pro British light heavyweight kickboxing title. He will be able to fend off Leben with lower legs kicks and hurt him with his kicks. From the kicks, Bisping will set up his punches to hurt Leben.
Bisping has done well fighting mixed martial arts fighters that are primarily strikers. He has beaten Mark Epstein, Ross Pointon and Jason Day who have the same fight plan as Leben. Bisping was able to beat those fighters at their own game and I don’t see Leben pulling off any surprises in this fight. Leben has the same fight game as Pointon in that they can strike but have little to offer other than a good punch.
The one thing that is very underestimated about Bisping is that he does have decent grappling skills. On the ground he is very capable of submitting Leben who is a wrestler by nature, but not very good on his back. If Leben is able to take Bisping down and take top control he does not have a very good ground and pound and he will be loose and Bisping will catch him with an arm bar. If Bisping takes Leben to the ground he does have a good enough ground and pound to stop Leben.
The question surrounding Leben is that he has not done anything to increase his skills since The Ultimate Fighter 1 television show. He was a member of Team Quest and AMC Pankration which means he should have a good top game and use his wrestling based techniques but if you look at his fights, he does not follow the typically AMC or Team Quest fighter. He has moved to East Oahu, Hawaii to accept the main coaching job at Icon Fitness MMA Gym which was intended to refocus on his mixed martial arts career. However, on April 30, 2008, that Leben was arrested in Oregon for DUI stemming from an earlier date from allegedly violating his probation. Leben was then sentenced to 35 days in jail. Has Leben found the will to focus on MMA? Idon’t think he has and he will try to fight the same reckless way he has fought through out his career.
Bottom Line: If Leben can not out knock out Bisping he has nothing else. He will not be able to knock out Bisping in this fight as Bisping will use he dominate kickboxing skills to damage Leben with kicks and set him up with punches. At middleweight Bisping is at the perfect fight weight and will come into this fight as the bigger stronger fighter.
UFC betting wise I would have thought the UFC betting odds would be better but -220 for Bisping to win is a good price but not a great price. Leben really has no shot whatsoever in this fight and Bisping will push Leben around the octagon before he knocks him out in the second round. Leben does not have the punching power, the strength, grappling or size to hurt Bisping. I would lay a good chunk of money on this fight. Bisping to lose in his home country? I don’t think so. Leben is a one punch wonder and that all he has to offer. Take himj away from his game plan he will be hit and hit hard.
Look for Bisping to punish Leben in the first round and finally finish him off in the second
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