Michael Bisping: No. 1 Contender?

A preview of Saturday's showdown between "The Count" and Vitor Belfort.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

If you were to administer a poll of the most hated fighter amongst MMA fans across the globe, there's a good chance seven-year UFC veteran Michael Bisping would come out on top.

Aside from Chael Sonnen, Bisping always seems to be on the receiving side of relentless booing every time the microphone is presented during his post fight banter.  

However, the British star has much to boast as of late, winning five of his last six fights. His only loss came in a controversial decision against the aforementioned Sonnen and now Bisping will face his biggest test to date when he takes on Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 this Saturday.  

Bisping has campaigned for a title shot the past five years and with a victory on Saturday he will secure the very first one of his career. Needless to say, fighting the old lion, Belfort, is a tall order for any man competing in the UFC today. Just ask light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

Belfort replaced Lyoto Machida last September in a championship bout against Jones and nearly pulled off a shocking upset when he caught "Bones" in an armbar during the first round. Jones eventually got out of the painful submission and proceeded to dominate Belfort, tapping him out with a keylock in the fourth round. Still, Belfort had a valiant showing and is looking to play the role of spoiler against Bisping.

Stylistically this is an interesting matchup. Bisping is known for his relentless pace coupled with magnificent takedown defense. Belfort's hands are lightning in a bottle, plus he's also proven his BJJ and wrestling has improved over the years. Although he possess impressive footwork, we've seen little to no power from Bisping when it comes to striking. He has to avoid trading with his heavy handed opponent while attempting to secure position against the cage or ground as he looks to wear out the battle damaged Belfort.  

As for Belfort, make no mistake, he is the more dangerous man in this fight. After his highlight KO loss to Silva in 2011 and his recent loss against Jones, Belfort has absolutely nothing to lose. He will use his blinding hand speed and stunning power as he searches for the KO against Bisping. Belfort will need to end the night early to be the victor simply because as the rounds go on, the advantage moves towards Bisping and his proven gas tank.

Break out the brews, this should be a good one.

Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an MMA contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
Collection: UFC