UFC legend Georges St-Pierre will return after a 4 year absence to attempt to snatch the middleweight title from English fighter Michael Bisping. The fight will see Bisping defend the belt for the third time after winning it from Luke Rockhold and defending it in Manchester against Dan Henderson. It is an interesting match up and the returning GSP, who says he is back to stay, has numerous questions over his head.
St-Pierre ,the former welterweight champion, has not fought since 2013 when he defended his title against Johny Hendricks. Later he vacated the title and said he was not going to compete for a while. GSP informed fight fans that he needed some time away from the sport so he could recharge. He was one of the best fighters in his time in the UFC and had a strong following. He will be hoping to return to glory with a victory over Bisping.
Can GSP step back in and be as magnificent as he was? It is a tough ask for the Canadian as no matter how hard you train and how much you spar nothing replicates being under the pressure of fighting in the octagon. Bisping has been active in the 4 years GSP has been away. The champion has fought 5 times and won all of his bouts while GSP has been away. The sharpness of GSP will be vital and if he cannot settle quickly Bisping will be able to take control.
The key to this fight is who can implement their style. Bisping is happier on his feet and if he can stop GSP taking the fight to the ground it will be a successful night for the Englishman. Bisping has relentless stand up skills and will not stop until he lands a knockout shot. If GSP can get the fight to the ground it will be a different story. Bisping struggles when taken down and with his opponents elite ground game he could be in serious danger.
While GSP weighed in at 184.4 pounds to Bisping’s 184.6 size is a huge factor. GSP is moving up from 170 to middleweight and it shows. Bisping is slightly taller but is comfortable at the weight. It is the champions natural weight and the challenger is moving up. Again GSP can negate this by securing a take down which would remove all of Bisping’s strengths.
The build up has been a good watch. Bisping has been outspoken and verging on arrogant. Instead of respecting what GSP has done he has questioned why he has come back and why he has returned at a higher weight. His game plan is to get under the skin of the returning fighter and put him on the back foot before they come face to face on fight night. GSP has been relaxed, nothing has angered him to any extreme and, as you would expect with all his experience, he has taken everything in his stride.
When it is all said and done fight fans are being treated to a truly unique encounter. A legend returning to competition against a fighter with a great record and will be regarded as one of the greats when he does call it a day.
Who will win? Bisping is the favourite. Everything is in his favour physically and momentum is with him. But anything can happen. Especially with a fighter as special as GSP in the octagon. If he can take Bisping out of his comfort zone he could cause an upset.
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