UFC 120 Preview 5: Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama

The main event of UFC 120 has the potential to be the best UFC fight shown on free television all year, with Michael Bisping (19-3, 12KO, 4Sub) and Yoshihiro Akiyama (17-2, 5KO, 7SUB, 2NC)  being two of the most entertaining fighters at 185Ibs. Both fighters like to push the action, can maintain a furious pace and can go anywhere in the Octagon. Michael Bisping is undefeated in front of his rabid British fanbase, with the likes of Dennis Kang, Chris Leben and Matt Hammil among his five victims in the UK. He has however been inconsistent of late, having gone 2-2 in his last four fights and failing to put together back to back wins since 2008. Akiyama has had a difficult time adjusting to the UFC, squeaking out a controversial decision against Alan Belcher in his debut at UFC 100 and losing to Chris Leben at UFC 116. On the plus side, both matches won Fight of the Night.

Staff Predictions

Will’s Pick: To me this is Michael Bisping’s fight to lose. While Bisping has struggled against fighters with real knockout power being stopped by Dan Henderson and looking distinctly uncomfortable against Wanderlei Silva, Akiyama does not have such power – particularly as he will be giving up so much size against the TUF3 Light Heavyweight Tournament winner. Therefore Bisping will be confident enough to stay in the pocket, plant his feet and lead with his kickboxing, which judging by how Akiyama came off worse in standing exchanges with Leben is bad news for the Japanese superstar. Should Akiyama try to respond by taking the fight down he’ll find that Bisping’s underrated wrestling will be enough to neutralize his judo. As he should against Dennis Kang, when Bisping commits and is aggressive he can finish very good fighters very quickly. I can easily him doing the same to Sexyama.

Pick: Michael Bisping via Second Round TKO.

Chris’s Pick: We all know the deal by this point, those UFC main events that take place on the free Spike TV cards are never going to be the best the company can offer. That said, there is little chance that this fight will disappoint the way Mir/Cro Cop did a few weeks back. Bisping, despite any personal failings he may have, is always a hoot to watch and his style should contrast nicely with Akiyama’s. We all know the story at this point about Akiyama’s cardio but he has also turned in two “Fight of the Night” awards in his first two UFC appearances and he has a chance to do it again. Bisping, in the end, should prove to be too strong, too aggressive and too big for his undersized opponent. I see the home crowd leaving very happy.

Pick: Bisping via decision

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