Bisbing worried about Evans
THE BRITISH BARK
UK News and Notes
By Stash Capar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Loretta Hunt (email@example.com)
Photo Courtesy of UFC.com
With match-ups leaking to the public left and right before fighters even have a chance to let the ink dry, it’s refreshing for a surprise announcement to fly under the radar and shake up the horizon. Yesterday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced the light heavyweight pairing of “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Rashad Evans (10-0-1) and his season three counterpart Michael Bisping (15-0) to headline Nov. 17’s UFC 78 “Validation” at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
This first-ever Octagon square-off between “TUF” champions came as a surprise to the fight community, as both fighters appeared already spoken for. Greg Jackson-trained Evans seemed primed for a rematch of his July 7th UFC 73 draw with Tito Ortiz (15-5-1), while British standout Bisping had edged out a largely-debated split decision to Matt Hamill (3-1) at Sept. 8’s UFC 75 in London, England and was expected to put that controversy to bed first.
“After the whole incident with Hamill I wanted to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible,” says Bisping. “Unfortunately knee surgery took a rematch with Hamill out of the equation, but the UFC approached me with an offer to fight Evans instead. I’m very excited about the fight. Evans has proven himself, his wrestling is excellent of course, but his striking is up there too - he’s finishing fights now.”
No one guessed the former Cage Warriors and Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Champion would be called to duty so early again, especially with two UFC UK events in the works for Newcastle in January and Manchester in March. However, Bisping-Evans gives a much-needed adrenaline shot to a limping card that has been blindsided by injuries, contract renegotiations and medical suspensions.
It also gives the 28-year-old star an opportunity to redeem himself following a toxic encounter with the press post-fight, who questioned the validity of the decision and received a sharp tongue back. Though Bisping later explained he’d had personal issues that evening when his father was involved in an altercation in the venue’s parking lot, his standoffish attitude in and out of the cage following the highly-contested bout affected his popularity amongst fans, especially in the U.S.
“There’s some sacrifice involved with fighting Rashad,” said Bisping. “I wont be able to fight on the upcoming [UFC] UK shows, but right now I just want to get back in there. I know some people didn’t like what they saw. MMA fans, especially Internet MMA fans, are fickle; they jump from one fighter to the next and this is my chance to prove myself again.”
Bisping won’t have an easy time with Evans. The former Michigan State wrestler hails from one of America’s most prominent camps led by Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Jackson, with a squad that includes recent light heavyweight upset king Keith Jardine and former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.
"I won’t lie, initially their wrestling worried me,” says Bisping. “Ever since ‘TUF’ I've realized it's what I've needed to work on and I've been doing it."
A member of the Wolfslair Academy in Widnes, Cheshire, Bisping trained for his bout with Hamill alongside UFC fighters Cheick Kongo and Brandon Vera, among others in the secluded Big Bear, Calif. The Brit will remain at Wolfslair for his remaining six-week schedule.
"The whole light heavyweight division has been turned upside down lately - Chuck losing to Jardine, ‘Shogun’ losing to Griffin,” says Bisping. “I think it's great for the sport and it's definitely had an impact on my mindset too. But I don’t want the belt tomorrow, I'm still not ready. I need a lot of improvement and need to keep maturing steadily as a fighter. I'm happy to make a slow and steady progression."
UFC 78 “Validation”
Saturday, Nov. 17
Akihiro Gono vs. Tamdan McCrory
Ryo Chonan vs. Thiago Alves
Jason Reinhardt vs. Joe Lauzon
Frankie Edgar vs. Spencer Fisher
Hector Lombard vs. Karo Parisyan
David Terrell vs. Ed Herman
Houston Alexander vs. Thiago Silva
Rashad Evans vs. Michael Bisping
Dang, doesn't this article show him for the true douchebag that he really is. I hate Bisbing and this just fuels the fire for me.