When former middleweight champion Chris Weidman pulled out of the main event of UFC 199, where he was to challenge the man who beat him, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping quickly answered the call to be a replacement.
Few gave Bisping a chance. And there were all kinds of logical reasons for that. Rockhold was considered among the most talented fighters in the sport, while Bisping was a solid veteran, with a long UFC tenure, but had usually faltered against the biggest names. Rockhold had a full camp. Bisping was coming directly off a movie set and had 10 days to prepare. Rockhold was coming off devastating finishes on Weidman and Lyoto Machida, and only one loss in his previous 15 fights. He was a devastating kicker, and considered a monster from top position on the ground.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The feeling is that Bisping at his best and most prepared had little chance against Rockhold.
Bisping was 37, and had a career of being a top-10 fighter and well-known name, but he was always considered at the level below a champion. On a few occasions he was one fight away from a title shot, but never won when it counted. With his career winding down, he looked destined to never get a championship opportunity. When he lost to Tim Kennedy in 2014, coming off an eye injury, it was felt that his days as a top fighter were over. When he lost to Rockhold later that year, a fight few expected him to win, he was just considered a big name to build Rockhold’s name on the way up. When he defeated Anderson Silva earlier in the year, the feeling was that would be his career climax. It was a tough fight, the win surprised many but Silva was also clearly past his prime.
Rockhold picked Bisping to be his opponent, more because Bisping’s greatest talent was his ability to market a fight, which was important with so little time before the show and the match people anticipated was gone.
People had already seen what Bisping, with a full camp, could do with Rockhold. It wasn’t much. In that one on Nov. 7, 2014, Rockhold dominated Bisping standing, and then on the ground, finished him quickly in the second round, handing “The Count” the only submission loss of his career. It was probably the least competitive Bisping had ever looked in a fight. Rockhold was seemingly getting better since that fight. Bisping was two years older.
When the second fight was announced, the odds started at -345 for Rockhold. People, seeing the first fight, thought that was a bargain–easy money. By fight time those odds had increased to -900.
Source:: mma fighting