Four months ago Michael Bisping arguably provided the surprise of the MMA calendar year when winning the UFC middleweight championship from Luke Rockhold at UFC 199.
Bisping only took the fight at short notice following injuries to Chris Weidman and then initial replacement Ronaldo Souza, but coach Jason Parillo identified a weakness in the champion that could be exploited.
Parillo noticed that Rockhold regularly carries his right hand low, leaving his chin exposed for the left hook. With 90 seconds of the opening round remaining, Bisping staggered the champ with such a punch and then knocked him down again seconds later with an identical shot to win the title.
The victory made amends for a second-round submission loss to the same opponent at a UFC Fight Night event in Australia almost two years ago.
Redemption is again on the agenda when the Manchester fighter makes his first title defence against Dan Henderson at UFC 204, with the 46-year-old challenger winning a middleweight title eliminator at UFC 100 seven years ago.
On that occasion Henderson stopped Bisping in the second round with one of his trademark right hands. They are effective, but fairly predictable and unwind in a long-winded motion.
The good news for Bisping is that Henderson isn’t in the UFC’s elite when it comes to head movement and isn’t the quickest to get back into a defensive stance after attempting his KO punch.
A counter uppercut is one way the Brit could take the initiative, alongside a left high kick. it is the latter that Parillo believes will end the fight on this occasion.
It is 2/5 that Bisping simply beats Henderson and 20/21 that the victory is achieved by either KO or TKO.
Henderson won’t have the stamina advantage in this fight and his likely gameplan will be to charge forward early and look for leg kicks, which will increase the chances of getting into range to land his favourite punch.
Therefore, a second successive first-round KO win for Bisping is far from out of the question. This looks a solid bet at 4/1, while the 14/1 that he triumphs inside the opening 60 seconds is worth a small investment.
Three of Henderson’s last four fights have been over inside 80 seconds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing