Legendary ‘Spider’ Silva returns for Bisping bust-up at UFC London
Lee Gormley | February 26, 2015
Anderson Silva v Michael Bisping
- UFC middleweight fight
- Saturday, February 27th
- Scheduled for: 22:00 GMT
- O2 Arena, London
- Live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass
Silva returns for Bisping brawl at UFC London
The UFC returns to London this weekend for the first time in two years, as arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva, re-emerges from a 12-month absence to collide with Britain’s Michael Bisping in a middleweight match-up.
‘Spider’ Silva makes his awaited comeback to the octagon more than a year after testing positive for several banned substances in his last fight against Nick Diaz, as the Brazilian looks to banish such tarnish from his legacy and get back on a world title trail.
For Bisping, the man known as ‘the Count’, born in Cyprus and fighting out of Manchester, this represents his biggest opportunity in the UFC to date, having been calling Silva out for quite some time, and the 36-year-old is 11/2 with Coral for a knockout victory on home soil.
Silva targets emphatic comeback
For almost seven years, Silva was a true force of nature in the octagon and devastatingly tore through the UFC like a wrecking ball, wiping out every challenger in his sights.
Now at 40 years of age, Silva still boasts the record of most title defences in the franchise’s history, having retained his crown an incredible 10 times, as well as most knockdowns and highest number of finishes, with the former champion 5/2 for a first round stoppage in London.
Silva’s record title streak ended in 2013 after a mammoth 2457 days as champion, including 16 victories across those 10 successful defences, when American Chris Weidman stunned the UFC world with a brutal second-round KO.
Following that shock defeat, Weidman retained his belt in a rematch when Silva fractured his leg in the second round, before the Brazilian’s controversial no contest ruling with Diaz after both fighters tested positive for banned substances.
‘Spider’ seeking fresh start
On his return to the sport, and comeback to London, the legendary Silva is hugely confident of a successful octagon outing over home hope Bisping.
“First of all, I’ll never go out of this sport,” Silva said. “I love my sport. I love my job, and I’m very happy, and I’m very excited for everything.
“I’m very happy to be back to London because I love it here. I have good energy when I come to here, when I see my friends in here, so I’m very, very happy.
“I’m very confident. I trained hard for one year. I’ve trained hard for a long time in my life, but Saturday, I’m going to win because I came here to win, definitely.”
The UFC has not graced England’s capital for over two years and has never witnessed as big a card as this one, with the star of the show Silva excited to be part of it.
“I would love this fight to be in Brazil, but it’s going to be a pleasure to come back and face Michael Bisping at the sold-out O2 Arena in London,” Silva continued.
“It’s been a while since I fought in London for the last time, and I’m really excited to be back. I believe this is going to be a big test so I can come back and go after a title shot.”
Home favourite in biggest career test
Bisping has been a consistent figure in the UFC, having entered the top 10 middleweight rankings early on and never leaving, but he knows that coming up against someone with Silva’s stature is his biggest opportunity to date.
“It certainly feels like it [biggest fight in career]. It really does. I mean, of course it’s probably the biggest opponent to date. My first fight back in London. It’s a huge event,” admitted Bisping, who is 9/2 to win by decision.
“Anderson Silva is the biggest opponent I’ve faced. Outside of a world title fight, this is the biggest fight that is available to me right now. It certainly feels like that. It’s not just words. It feels like that.
“I feel the buzz – I feel the hype – and I’ve trained accordingly.”
Bisping bashes Silva’s tainted legacy
Ahead of the pair’s high-profile meeting at UFC London, Bisping has been constantly referring back to Silva’s previous drug scandal, trying to taunt the former middleweight champion before their five-round bout which is 11/8 to go the distance.
“The fact of the matter is, he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in his last fight. Apparently, that’s the first time he’s been tested. That’s what he said. His words, not mine,” declared Bisping, who is 7/1 to be KO’d in third round.
“A cynic would lead me to believe that he was using his whole career. Shame on him. How he calls himself a martial artist and takes performance enhancing drugs is beyond me, it really is.”
The war of words between the duo will cease come Saturday night, as Bisping looks to spoil the Silva comeback party at UFC London, while the returning former champion aims to begin rebuilding his career in pursuit of another world title.
Watch Silva and Bisping get involved in a heated exchanged only days before their UFC London encounter at the O2 Arena in London.