The UFC on FX 7 card may not offer a whole lot in the way of blockbuster fights, but the middleweight title eliminator between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort has all the makings of an instant classic.
Bisping and Belfort are two of the more recognizable fighters in the middleweight division and are angling for a title shot against Anderson Silva. Throw in the fact that neither is afraid to stand and strike with their opponent and this fight should have fans abuzz.
With neither fighter emerging as an overwhelming favorite heading into Saturday's bout, here are the biggest questions surrounding the electric main event.
Can Bisping Weather the Storm?
If there's one thing we know about Belfort, it's his ability to end a fight quickly.
15 of Belfort's 20 career victories have come in the first round and he won't be afraid to rush Bisping early if he feels he can overwhelm him.
Of Bisping's four losses, none have come in the first round and only one has come by knockout. It's safe to say that Bisping has displayed a good chin throughout his career and will be hard to put away.
Dan Henderson's massive knockout of Bisping is burned into the memory of nearly every MMA fan in the world, but that was one well-timed punch. Belfort's power comes from his ability to string punches together.
If Bisping can weather the early storm and take this fight into the later rounds it will be to his advantage. Belfort's record says he can catch him early. Bisping's record indicates that's easier said than done. Something has to give.
Can Belfort Handle Bisping's Kickboxing?
If Bisping is able to weather the storm early on, he'll look to control the fight with his technical kickboxing.
Bisping is one of the most sound strikers in the game and should have the upper hand when it comes to skill on the feet. Belfort has the power to neutralize Bisping's attack, but it will take a disciplined effort to make sure he isn't outboxed and controlled with leg kicks.
Bisping vs. Belfort represents the classic matchup between technical striker and slugger. If Bisping is able to slow this fight down and turn it into a chess match, he wins. If it turns into a brawl then it's Belfort's for the taking.
Whoever controls the pace will have the upperhand between these two. That all comes down to how Belfort handles the kickboxing of Bisping.
Can Either of these Guys Challenge Anderson Silva?
These fighters don't like each other, but there's one fighter that they both want to beat: Anderson Silva.
The winner of this fight will be in a good spot to challenge for the middleweight championship and that's why this promises to be a great one.
Belfort already got one shot at the champion and it didn't go so well. After failing to use his signature aggression early on in the fight he was sent home with one front kick to the face from the Spider.
As much name recognition as Bisping has had during his career, he's never fought for a title. After his huge win over Brian Stann, Bisping is finally ready to make his own run at the title, but he'll need a good performance against Belfort.
A win for either isn't proof that they will be able to unseat the reigning middleweight champion, but it will certainly give us a better idea if either has a chance of earning UFC gold.
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