Rockhold battles Britain’s Bisping in rematch, Cruz faces Faber again at UFC 199
Lee Gormley | June 3, 2016
Luke Rockhold v Michael Bisping
- UFC middleweight title fight
- Sunday, June 5th
- Scheduled for: 04:30 BST
- The Forum, Inglewood, California
- Live on BT Sport
Britain’s Bisping gets Rockhold title shot
After almost 10 years in the business, Michael Bisping will finally contest for a world title this weekend, as the Cyprus-born Briton challenges Luke Rockhold for the middleweight crown at UFC 199 in a rematch of their 2014 encounter.
It was current champion Rockhold (15-2 MMA) that prevailed in that initial match-up two years ago, forcing Bisping (28-7 MMA) into submission via a guillotine choke in Australia, and the latter enters their latest meeting as a replacement for the injured former title holder Chris Weidman.
Fighting on home soil, the middleweight champion was supposedly set to defend his strap against the man he overcame to claim it last December at UFC 194, but Weidman was forced to withdraw due to a neck injury.
The 31-year-old Californian is the overwhelming favourite to dispatch Bisping for a second time in his career, after their second clash was agreed in short notice, and he enters 6/5 with Coral to earn a first-round knockout and retain his middleweight title.
Rockhold doubts Bisping’s credentials
Defending middleweight king Rockhold has been a dominant force in recent, as he enjoys a five-fight winning streak since losing to Vitor Belfort on his UFC debut back in May 2013, and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is hugely confident of another win over his challenger.
“I humiliated Bisping [in first fight]. I beat him like he’s never been beat in his whole career,” stated Rockhold, who is 11/8 to triumph by submission yet again. “Some guys just don’t learn.”
The two fighters have been embroiled in a whirlwind of heated verbal exchanges since Bisping replaced Weidman as the challenger in UFC 199’s main event, but Rockhold is focusing on getting the job done.
“I know what I’m capable of and I let go. That’s the thing, I don’t focus on the outcome. I know what’s going to happen, but in the moment, I don’t hold on to winning or losing,” added the champion.
“I just focus on having fun and fighting. I know how good I am, I know what I’m capable of and I pretty much know how it’s going to finish. It’s just a matter of letting that go and fighting the fight.
“He’s an annoying guy. If you let him get in your head, he can get to a lot of guys. I just keep my composure. I’m going to open him up, find my opening and then I’m going to make my kill.”
Bisping relishing opportunity
In the pair’s first meeting Bisping suffered a second-round submission defeat but he is 7/1 to reign supreme in the early hours of Sunday morning, after being called upon when Ronaldo Souza was unable to replace Weidman on the card.
“I’ve learned now, because this is the first time I’ve had a short notice fight, that this is the way to do it – to look after yourself and turn it up,” declared Bisping, who is 16/1 to triumph by KO after win over the legendary Anderson Silva.
“I had two-and-a-half weeks of intense work. I feel fantastic, I feel strong, I feel explosive. I’ve got no injuries. And my nervous system is still firing.
“A lot of the times, an eight-week camp is a long time and, because it means so much to me, and because I train so hard, I drive myself into the floor. I’m coming in there fresh. Look at me, not an ounce of fat on me. I don’t need eight weeks.”
Cruz and Faber complete trilogy
Before the headline fight at UFC 199, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (21-0 MMA) will contest Urijah Faber (33-8 MMA) for a third time in their respective careers, with ‘the Dominator’ entering at 3/1 to defend his crown with a KO victory.
Californian Faber handed Cruz his first and only career defeat back in 2007 but endured a points decision loss four years later in their rematch, and the challenger is 9/1 to hand the champion another submission loss this time out.
Meanwhile, Max Holloway (15-3) is 10/3 to stop Ricardo Lamas (16-4) in a match-up of featherweight contenders, with Dan Henderson (31-14) 3/1 to overcome Hector Lombard (34-5-1) and Dustin Poirier (19-4) 15/8 to outpoint Bobby Green (23-6).