On Saturday, the UFC makes its debut voyage to Scotland. The main event sees a clash of veterans both looking to make one last run for the middleweight title. The fan favorite, Michael Bisping, looks to string two wins together for the first time since 2011 against former title challenger, Thales Leites.

Bisping looked good in his last fight against CB Dolloway, but he has struggled to find consistency in recent years – his last nine fights have alternated between wins and losses. At 36 years of age, if that form continues, then he can kiss goodbye any meaningful title run.

His Brazilian opponent on the other hand is unbeaten in his second stint with the UFC. He currently boasts an eight fight win streak, the last five of those with his current employer.

Not many fans would have predicted this resurgence after he was cut from the company back in 2009 following an uninspired loss to Alessia Sakara, shortly after being beaten in his title challenge against Anderson Silva. In his time away, he proved himself to be a UFC calibre fighter and rightfully earned himself another chance. In Bisping, he faces his toughest test since Anderson Silva.

In terms of how the fight will play out, both men know where they need to be to win. Bisping is one of the best boxers in the division. He is fluid, fast and accurate. He also throws a huge frequency of shots, claiming the third most strikes landed in UFC history. This means that when his opponent decides to stand with him but fails to knock him out, “The Count” generally gets the decision. He has such good stand-up ability that if it was not for his lack of power he would certainly have received a title-shot or two over the years.

On the opposite side of the style spectrum is Leites. He is an elite level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner – 56% of his wins have come via submission. A large contributing factor to his career rebound has been improvements in the striking aspect of his game and his two KO victories in 2014 were evidence of this. Despite that, it is fair to say that if this fight remains on the feet for the duration, then Bisping will ease to victory.

This is where the problem lies. For Leites to have any chance of winning this fight, he must be able to take this fight to floor and keep it there. But his opponent possesses outstanding takedown defense as well as an almost impenetrable guard – he has only been submitted once in his career and that was against Luke Rockhold after taking a kick flush to the head.

So, unfortunately for Leites, this a terrible match-up. Even if the fight goes to the mat, Bisping has the skill to defend himself from anything dangerous. Then for the portion of the fight which takes place on the feet, which will be a majority, the Brit is on another level.

At some point, the volume of significant strikes will become too much and Leities will go down.

Prediction: Bisping by TKO/KO

About The Author

Barnaby Kellaway
Staff Writer

Barnaby Kellaway is a sports journalist specializing in Mixed Martial Arts. Being a sports fanatic all his life, he knew whatever career he aspired to it had to be in sports. Being a Brit he started with football and rugby but then a few years back he discovered MMA; this was when his aspiration became his focus. He studied from the basics all the way up to the most minute intricacies of the sport and now finds himself in a position where writing about it is his passion.