UFC middleweight Michael Bisping will look to get back into the win column on Saturday when he takes on Brian Stann at UFC 152 in what may very well be a bout that determines the next top contender.
The loudmouth Brit may not have the affections of most fans, but Bisping's years of experience and exceptional set of skills will be the deciding factors in the this fight.
Bisping's keys to victory are simple—pick Stann apart standing and wear him down in the later rounds.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner is an exceptional kickboxer who will have a technical edge in the striking department. Stann's a good striker with heavy hands, but his overall technique and natural stand-up abilities just don't match up to Bisping's.
While the British middleweight may have an edge striking, Bisping will have to be wary of letting Stann on the inside. If the former Marine works his way into the pocket, a single punch or knee could mean goodnight for "The Count."
That means Bisping will have to utilize his jab and kicks to keep Stann on the outside as well as circle away from his power side or else risk another UFC 100 highlight reel knockout. Stann is also great in the clinch so it's better for Bisping to just stay away from "the All-American's" reach.
Also, Bisping should look to take Stann into the later rounds because that's where the Brit shines.
Many of Bisping's finishes have come after wearing his opponents down in the first or second round, a la Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Denis Kang. Stann has only fought to a decision three times in his career and has not fought past the second round since August of 2010.
It will be interesting to see if Bisping can test Stann's cardio and try to out work him in this fight.
Above all else, however, "The Count's" years of MMA experience will be a huge help against a powerful fighter like Stann. Bisping has seen it all in the Octagon and should be prepared for Stann's relatively standard skill set.
As long as Bisping doesn't let "The All-American" over power him, he should be able to take this fight.