In June of 2016, British middleweight veteran Michael Bisping shocked the world by snuffing Luke Rockhold in the first round to win the UFC middleweight title. Bisping followed this win by defending the title against Dan Henderson with a controversial decision win.
Despite his status as a defending champion, however, Bisping is likely to be a substantial underdog in his next bout, which will pit him against former Olympian Yoel Romero at a to-be-determined date.
Romero’s near-certain status as an immense betting favorite, of course, is easy to understand. The Cuban has been on a path of destruction since joining the UFC in April 2013, scoring decision wins over names like Brad Tavares and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and more impressively, knockout wins over fighters like Derek Brunson, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, and most recently, former champion Chris Weidman. While Bisping is looking better than ever heading into 2017, he’s been hurt by strikes many times in his career – including multiple occasions during his recent fight with Henderson – and Romero is one of the most frightening knockout artists in MMA today. When Romero’s Olympic-level wrestling is factored into the equation, Bisping’s avenues to victory look even more narrow.
While not many people are likely to give Bisping a chance when he attempts to defend his title against Romero, however, streaking middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi believes a Bisping win is very possible. The Iranian-born Dutchman explained his reasoning in a recent interview with MMAJunkie.
“You have to make Yoel Romero the favorite, but I think Michael Bisping, his style can give Yoel Romero difficulties,” Mousasi said. “Obviously, Yoel Romero is going to be favored, but I give Michael Bisping a good chance of winning.”
Mousasi then went on to explain that he hopes to fight the winner of Bisping and Romero’s title fight – though he understands that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza could well get the opportunity first.
“Jacare is up there,” he said. “Yoel Romero is fighting Michael Bisping, so it’s me and ‘Jacare.’ It all depends on what is the better performance and what the UFC decides.”
Do you think Michael Bisping can defend his title against Yoel Romero? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/31/2017.