In tonight's co-main event of UFC on Fox 2, former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) will take on Michael "The Count" Bisping (22-3) for a chance at current UFC middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva later this year.
Sonnen enters the bout as much as a 5-to-1 favorite, and his ability to take down his opponents and keep them there is what most fans are anticipating to happen in this fight.
Bisping's keys to victory include keeping the fight on his feet and scrambling whenever his back hits the canvas. Sonnen's biggest weakness has always been his submission defense, but Bisping hasn't submitted anyone since 2005. If it comes down to that, he should wait until late in the fight to go for them and work to get back to his feet for the first two rounds.
This can work against the Brit, as sometimes referees are reluctant to stand up fights when the guy on bottom is working to improve his position. Bisping isn't one to sit on his back and wait for the stand-up, and he may find himself using up more time than necessary to get the fight back to where he has the biggest advantage over his opponent.
Bisping also has the ability to break down his opponents over the course of the bout, but with this one only being scheduled for three five-minute rounds, he will have to get off to a quick start and make sure he secures the victory of each round on the scorecards if it goes there. Bisping has a history of being a slow starter, and it could cost him here if the fight begins like some of his other ones.
Sonnen has never been stopped with strikes and Bisping has never shown one-punch knockout power so out-working his opponent is something he will have to do in this fight for the duration.
Sonnen's keys to victory are different from Bisping's, but he also has a similar skillset when it comes down to out-working his opponents and breaking them down over the distance. He just does it on the ground.
The 34-year-old will have to take this fight to the mat, and that will be where this fight is won for him. Offense is key to him making sure the judges favor his takedowns over Bisping's takedown defense and ability to scramble back to his feet.
This has the making to be a controversial fight in terms of how the judges score the bout. They usually favor the guy on top in a close fight, and if that's going to be anyone in this fight, it's Sonnen. Bisping will have to make his opportunities to strike count whenever there is a scramble, but don't expect to see Sonnen give him much room when it's there. Sonnen will have to be on him like glue if he wants to keep him from working towards the decision win and obtaining his own.