Michael Bisping’s Strengths
Since Bisping joined up with Jason Parillo who was BJ Penn’s boxing coach when BJ was in the form of his life, the boxing mechanics of Michael Bisping have been much improved. Bisping always favoured striking, adding Parillo to his team has buffed out some major flaws in his movement and technique which has served “The Count” well in the past couple years.
The fashion in which Bisping overwhelmed Cung Le,
outstruck Anderson Silva,
and knocked out Luke Rockhold all serve as indicators of how far Bisping has come with his striking, in particular, his boxing. We’ve seen Carlos Condit & Johnny Hendricks hurt St-Pierre during stand up exchanges, if Bisping can avoid the takedown there’s no reason why he can’t hurt GSP too.
An overlooked aspect of Bisping’s Game is his toughness, he’s a throwback type of fighter who’s not the slightest bit concerned with fighting safe but that mindset can sometimes get him into trouble.
When faced with adversity Bisping has managed to escape seemingly dire situations, Anderson Silva & Dan Henderson are two of the best finishers in the history of the sport. Bisping survived heavy knockdowns and went on to secure a decision against both of them.
In an interview this week Micheal Bisping confirmed an old rumour which has been floating about for some time that his resting heart rate is 34 beats per minute. The type of athletes usually associated with a heart rate that low are endurance athletes like cyclists and long-distance runners. Needless to say in the octagon that level of endurance comes in handy especially in championship fights.
Anderson Silva & Dan Henderson had gone five rounds on more occasions than Bisping at the time at which they fought him yet, Bisping although less accustomed to five round fights outworked them both over the distance.
GSP is 8-0 in fights that have gone to the scorecards so there’s never been a question mark over his cardio, this is, however, his first fight at 185lbs after spending five years on the shelf. If you combine those two factors there’s no telling how St-Pierre’s cardio will hold up. If it doesn’t hold up Bisping will not only be the bigger man in the octagon but also the fitter man which would be a huge advantage.
Despite lacking a stellar amateur wrestling pedigree, St-Pierre has become one of most effective wrestlers in MMA today. St-Pierre uses his wrestling to disturb opponents fighting rhythm, the threat of the takedown discourages opponents who try to strike with him, wrestlers are neutralised and exposed in the striking department. Wrestling has been the key component of St-Pierre’s undefeated run of 12 straight wins since 2007.
Michael Bisping has been defeated by wrestlers before, his takedown defence percentage is currently 64% (per FightMetric) which means he has up to now only defended 64% of all takedowns attempted on him. Tim Kennedy & Chael Sonnen used a wrestling-based gameplan to defeat Bisping if GSP’s body transitions well to 185lbs the wrestling element will be the defining factor of this fight.
GSP is no stranger to adversity himself, the last few fights before his temporary retirement included some dramatic moments.
Carlos Condit floored GSP with a head kick.
Hendricks’s big left hand had GSP on unsteady legs.
St-Pierre deals with these situations much like the AI in a computer, quickly recognising the mistake and correcting it.
In the case of Carlos Condit, he took the fight to the mat with more urgency removing the danger on the feet.
In the Hendricks fight, he did a far better job of circling away from the power hand.
St-Pierre’s philosophy is to get ahead early and read his opponent as the fight goes on, keeping the momentum firmly on his side. St-Pierre’s fight IQ is extremely high and this is the reason we’ve never seen GSP go 2 or 3 rounds down & subsequently have to chase the fight. His normal pattern is to win the early rounds then pull away late.
The first real dominant champion to have no clear weakness, GSP was the prototype for the perfect fighter. Not the best striker in the world but no one has landed more strikes in UFC history than George St-Pierre. No great wrestling credentials but he’s held his own against specialist wrestlers like Matt Hughes & Josh Koscheck. The benefit of being so well rounded is St-Pierre is comfortable regardless of where the fight goes.
Even if the fight stays standing for 25 minutes Bisping won’t have it all his own way.