Put a microphone in front of Michael “The Count” Bisping in the weeks preceding a fight, and the Brit will let you know exactly what he’s thinking, no matter who his opponent is. Last week, The MMA Corner published an exclusive interview with Bisping, and that interview alone has garnered some serious hatred on both sides of the pond.

On Wednesday night, the UFC returns to Quebec for the first time in over a year for the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. While the coaches traditionally headline these cards, another battle was set to cap off what is sure to be an exciting night of fighting. There will be no love lost when Bisping enters the cage with United States Green Beret Tim Kennedy.

Kennedy, a former Strikeforce middleweight contender, has gone undefeated in two fights since first entering the Octagon last summer. Throughout his 13-year, 21-fight pro career, he has earned six knockouts, eight submissions, a green beret and a bronze star, having entered the Army three years into his career. Kennedy is well-rounded, well-supported and trains out of one of the top camps in the country at Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, N.M. However, Bisping does not give a crap.

Bisping has quite a few accolades of his own. The former kickboxing champ has won four MMA titles, including top honors for season three of The Ultimate Fighter. He has also earned three UFC “Fight of the Night” honors and has been one fight away from a UFC middleweight title shot three times. The hard-hitting striker prefers to knock out his opponents, finishing 14 fights with his fists. And, he really doesn’t like Kennedy.

In the interview, Bisping referred to Kennedy as a “little snack,” a “dork,” a “wannabe” and an “embarrassment to himself, the Armed Forces, and the UFC.” He doesn’t believe the names “Kennedy” and “Bisping” belong in the same sentence, and he’s ready to beat the decorated serviceman into the ground. Chael Sonnen may talk crazy, goofy smack, but Bisping spits venom and, as history has already proven, this Englishman knows how to talk his way into a fight.

With a huge grudge match in the making, this may be one of the most highly anticipated TUF headliners in a long time, and fans are sure to see one hell of a fight this Wednesday night, live from the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up, and as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills match up against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Bisping – 10, Kennedy – 9

Bisping got his start in fighting as a very successful kickboxer. He won two light heavyweight titles years before entering the pro MMA ring. This experience has translated into 14 knockouts in his 24 victories. His experience against strikers is unmatched by Kennedy. Bisping has gone to war with guys like Vitor Belfort, Brian Stann, Chris Leben, Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson. He has only been stopped twice, both times by knockout, and he is a shining example of “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Kennedy is a fantastic, well-rounded fighter in his own right, but his knockout of Rafael Natal in November was his first knockout in six years and his first fighting under the Zuffa banner. Bisping throws a higher volume of strikes, is much more aggressive on his feet, and has a slightly better striking defense. Kennedy has only been stopped once, by a doctor in his first fight, but Bisping could easily be the first one to knock him out.

On the feet, Bisping has the clear advantage.

Submission Grappling: Bisping – 9, Kennedy – 10

In addition to his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kennedy’s eight submissions have illustrated his tendency toward finishing on the ground. In his last seven wins, four have ended with his opponent in a nasty choke hold. Army combatives training, in which Kennedy also holds a black belt, teaches a lot of submission moves to subdue attackers, so he will always have a really good chance of finishing his opponent when the fight hits the mat.

Bisping’s last submission win was nine years ago, but his submission defense is very effective. He has never been tapped out. He’s really difficult to get to the mat and even tougher to keep there. However, in the inverse of the striking game, Kennedy could easily be the first one to tap out his antagonistic foe.

On the mat, Kennedy has this one in the bag.

Wrestling: Bisping – 10, Kennedy – 10

In what is a rare occurrence these days, neither of the headliners has a background in wrestling, but both have very effective skills in MMA-centric wrestling. Bisping’s wrestling skills are primarily in his takedown defense and clinch work, which stem from his superior kickboxing, and Kennedy’s skills are in ground positioning and takedowns, which stem from his BJJ and Army training.

Both of these fighters train out of camps that are flush with high-level wrestlers, and both are very good at what they do. Their wrestling proficiencies sort of mute each other out, making this category a bit of a toss-up leading into Wednesday night.


The x-factor in this match-up is the grudge issue. Bisping made some nasty comments about a national hero, but it’s really just his way of pointing out the fact that Kennedy has not faced near the opponents that he has encountered. Kennedy, on the other hand, has to know he is a big underdog going into this fight, but Bisping’s inflammatory comments may have lit a new fire in his belly, giving the decorated serviceman a reason to get in there and fight that much harder. It will be interesting to see if Bisping’s words will come back to bite him or if he was really correct in saying their names do not belong in the same sentence.

Total: Bisping – 29, Kennedy – 29

Verdict: On paper, this one is an even battle, but, in reality, the favor belongs in Bisping’s corner. The Brit has so much more experience against top-level fighters, has more knockout power, and may not be a submission artist, but has enough experience to know how to defend himself in precarious situations, which he doesn’t end up in very often. Kennedy will come in trying to stand with his opponent, especially after earning his knockout over Natal, but he will quickly find he is outmatched on his feet. The war vet will attempt to take his opponent down, get repeatedly stuffed, and ultimately drop this one as the final bell rings.

Bisping by unanimous decision.