From a marketing and business standpoint, Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping was the right fight to make from the onset.
Sonnen and Bisping are two of the most polarizing Middleweights in the sport right now, two guys that, frankly, only a third of the MMA World can collectively respect simply because of the results they get in the cage. And both are two of the best active trash talkers in MMA right now.
In reality, the trash talk between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis seems a bit non-existent, outside of claims of Evans no longer having a chin and Davis still not having great wrestling-for-MMA skills. And while both have turned it up ever since the original press conference (back when Mark Munoz was scheduled to do business with Sonnen), many have looked to Sonnen vs. Bisping for all the hype and the verbal jabs needed to sell the event.
Still, was all of that trash talk and all those sound bites enough to take main-event status over the bout that decides whether Evans or Dan Henderson stands across the cage from Jon Jones in Atlanta this April?
Long story short, that depends on your bias.
Short story direct, it likely is enough for the bout to claim main-event status, even though Bisping is replacing Munoz to face Sonnen, but part of that is due to what Bisping can do that some just aren't sure Davis can do.
Bisping can talk about how Sonnen won't be able to out-strike him, won't be able to outgun him, won't be able to submit him, won't be able to take or keep him down and, all in all, just will not be able to set up any sort of significant attack in order to prevent him from getting anywhere close to a victory and a likely June date against Anderson Silva in Brazil.
Davis is a humorous guy who has not shied away from the verbal bars against Evans, and many are starting to believe that maybe Davis deserves to be given a chance to win against him. However, outside of the possibility of Davis actually out-wrestling Evans and throwing more strikes than Evans, even if not quite out-landing him, few will be convinced that Davis actually has what it takes to beat Evans until they see the upset for themselves.
We know Bisping can sell us the possibility of him beating Sonnen, but when the cage door shuts tomorrow night, can he back it up against the toughest opponent he's faced since Dan Henderson?