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Tag: Michael Bisping

Ben vs. Ben: UFC 89 Edition

With one day to go before UFC 89 (which we’ll be liveblogging, naturally), it’s time for everyone’s favorite self-indulgent exercise: Ben versus Ben. This time around we argue bonuses, the UK-centric undercard, and the mysterious/as-of-yet fictional Millerplata, among other stuff.

How exactly will Bisping/Leben end?

Fowlkes: As much as we’ve heard about Leben’s transformation from immature brawler to well-rounded tactician, a part of me (the part located in the brain region) isn’t totally buying it. Leben may be a more seasoned fighter, but he still knows one way to win a fight when things get hectic and it’s throwing big, looping bombs and hoping one catches his opponent on the chin.

This has worked at times. He hits hard and he can take enough punishment to make that strategy effective. But as strategies go, it’s relatively easy to prepare for, especially for a more cerebral fighter like Bisping. “The Count” is smart enough to avoid a street fight with Leben. He’ll accumulate points and damage but won’t dive in for the illusion of a quick finish, and this will frustrate Leben.

Leben knows he doesn’t want to go to a decision against a Brit in Britain, so the closer to the final horn he gets the more desperate he will become. This is where Bisping will find an opening, drop him with a straight shot, then pour on some ground-and-pound that looks worse than it is, causing the referee to stop it at 4:02 of round three. And Leben is going to be pissed.

Goldstein: I concur. Bisping is a more talented, complete fighter than Leben, and this business about the Crippler maturing is more manufactured narrative than reality. But I don’t think it’ll take Bisping until the third frame to get the stoppage win. As a middleweight, his kickboxing has looked razor-sharp — his last two opponents didn’t make it to the second bell — and his ground capabilities are underrated in general.

The headliners will give the crowd what they paid for in round one, slugging it out like a couple of drunken soccer hooligans, and Bisping will go about finishing the fight in round two, engaging the killer instinct that we’ve seen from him lately. If Leben starts to land more shots in that second round, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bisping clinch with Leben, bully him to the ground and finish him from the top. Either way, it’ll be a stoppage due to strikes at exactly the 4:15 mark of round two.

Who will win the Vera/Jardine and Sokoudjou/Cane fights?

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Video: Bisping and Leben’s Press-Conference Face-Off

Michael Bisping Chris Leben UFC MMA
(Bisping realizes how overdressed he is for the occasion. Click the image to watch the video on UFC.com.)

UFC.com just put up a video of a UFC 89 press-conference held earlier today in Birmingham, England, where Chris Leben did his best to add heat to the main event fight by complimenting Michael Bisping’s suit and criticizing the Count’s style as one that makes self-preservation the top priority. Bisping kept his cool, saying he doesn’t need extra motivation to beat Leben: “I don’t have to do anything to get myself fired up…I don’t need any kind of smack talk, I don’t need any kind of reason to hate the person. To me it’s all about business…by winning my fights, it enables me to provide the lifestyle I want for my family, and that’s all the motivation I need.” Anyway, the fans were expecting Leben to come at them with a crazy new hairstyle for this fight, and you can’t say that he didn’t deliver. WAR ‘ROWS.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 89

Michael Bisping
(Bisping challenges another poor bloke to high-stakes Rock, Paper, Scissors.)

As our collective faith in the health of the economy deteriorates, the online gambling market is looking better and better. The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised it didn’t come up in last night’s debates. But once again neither candidate speaks to my issues. Looks like this is one more election year where I’ll end up scrawling “Wanderlei” in crayon across my ballot and then handing it to the overweight woman at the desk, who will inevitably respond by insisting that “this is not a polling place.” Goddamn bureaucracy.

Anyway, if you’re like me and are ready to bet your foreclosed home on UFC 89 this Saturday, here are the sweetest lines around, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com. If you don’t understand how betting odds work, read this. If you still don’t get it, stop sniffing glue.

Chris Leben (+191) vs. Michael Bisping (-211)
Luiz Cane (+104) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (-114)
Dan Hardy (+285) vs. Akihiro Gono (-308)
Neil Wann (+600) vs. Shane Carwin (-675)
Keith Jardine (+155) vs. Brandon Vera (-165)
Jess Liaudin (+141) vs. David Bielkheden (-135)
Marcus Davis (+230) vs. Paul Kelly (+285)
Paul Taylor (+300) vs. Chris Lytle (-328)
Samy Schiavo (+166) vs. Per Eklund (-180)
Terry Etim (+275) vs. Sam Stout (-291)
David Baron (+155) vs. Jim Miller (-172)

Thoughts…

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Michael Bisping’s UFC 89 Video Blog (10/15)

With Dana White skipping out on his vlogging duties for UFC 89, someone had to step up and fill the void. This time it’s Michael Bisping giving us a look at his life in the days leading up to his main event bout against Chris Leben. Bisping starts this video by saying he needs ice because there’s something wrong with his back — which isn’t very confidence-inducing — but he soldiers through a day of press and an open workout, taking time to hang with fans in between. Later, Cheick Kongo shows up to speak in a strange voice, and Bisping has to go without hot dogs and cookies because he still has eight pounds to lose. At the end, he tells us how he just saw Chris Leben in the lobby of his hotel, and he looked slimmer than usual, but still has a large head. To see previous installments of the Bisping video blog, go to Bisping.tv.

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Video: Countdown to UFC 89

In the official UFC 89 hype video we continue to hear about Chris Leben‘s transformation as a fighter, which has quickly become one of the main storylines heading into this event. Oddly, with all the talk about Leben’s transition from brawler to technically sound MMA fighter, whenever anyone talks about his strengths they inevitably end up talking mostly about the characteristics of a brawler (hard-hitting, looping punches, good chin, etc.) while ascribing to Michael Bisping the characteristics of a technical fighter (straight punches, apparently, which is laughable to Chris Wilson). Not saying Leben isn’t a different fighter these days, just saying the whole thing is interesting.

Anyway, give it a look and you won’t be disappointed. Despite burning through all the stock footage of British landmarks in existence, it’s another solid effort from the Countdown crew.

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Chris Leben’s Got Your Perspective Right Here

Chris Leben
(The people’s philosopher.)

When it comes to getting drunk and going crazy on The Ultimate Fighter, Chris Leben is sort of like the Neil Armstrong of the field. He did it first, when no one even knew whether it could be done, and so forever after people wanted to know what his thoughts were when other people did it. The difference is that while Armstrong stayed pretty involved and interested in the space program (God, this is a terrible analogy), Leben says he doesn’t really keep up with new installments of TUF. Which is why he might be forgiven for getting a little frustrated when asked about Junie Browning’s drunken freakouts during a media conference call to promote UFC 89:

You know, every time someone gets drunk on that show I get called by one of my friends who says, ‘You know, this guy reminds me of you. He was drunk and out of hand.’ You know, a house full of fighters…I got a saying, fighters are like strippers, they ain’t paying their way through college. What I mean by that is we all got a bunch of problems and skeletons in the closet.

Here’s my question: does Chris Leben have any sayings that don’t involve strippers? This is the same guy who, during the first season, coined the phrase, “I’ll come in smelling like booze and dirty strippers and still put the stamp on kids!”

Not that it wasn’t awesome, and not that his stripper/fighter analogy isn’t many times better than my Leben/Armstrong analogy, but dammit, comparing fighters and strippers seems like it isn’t doing either group too many favors.

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Friday Link Dump

- Drew Fickett gets waaaaaay too personal in forum post. (UG)

- Kim Couture calls Jared Shaw a perv, no one is terribly surprised. (Steve Cofield)

- Kenny Florian struggles for answers on “MMA Live”. (ESPN)

- Michael Bisping responds to Chris Leben with dry British sarcasm. (Fighters Only)

- TUF 8 ratings rebound with Junie Browning’s alcohol-fueled antics. (MMA Payout)

- Marcus Aurelio says Hermes Franca is a bad person. (MMA Rated)

- Bobby Lashley goes from WWE to ATT. (AmericanTopTeam.com)

- Brett Rogers to fight TBA for EliteXC in November. (AOL Fanhouse)

- The sad state of product placement. (Wall Street Fighter)

- Tribute to the naughty nurse. (Holy Taco)

- Eric Cartman’s most evil moments. (Screen Junkies)

- Japanese wrestler beaten by coach. (Nothing Toxic)

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In Depth: Bisping/Leben, Jardine/Vera, Alves/Sanchez

From Spike.com: Chris Leben says his loopy, wide-open style knocks people out. He also refuses to lose, check the news and read the interviews. Damn…dude is like the white Shonie Carter. Skip to the -5:14 mark for the ridiculous ending to his fight against Terry Martin; there’s your warning to not get cocky, Count. Later in this video, we look at the matchup between the Dean of the Mean and the Truth, also at UFC 89.

From CBS.com, for some reason: A preview of the UFC 90 welterweight feature between Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez. “You are going to see the strongest Sanchez you have ever seen before,” Sanchez says. “The result is gonna be a dominating submission victory.”

(Props: “Card” on the UG)

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Exclusive: Chris Leben Talks Fighting Bisping and the Judges at UFC 89 in England

Chris Leben’s first shot at Michael Bisping didn’t exactly go as planned. Soon after signing to fight “The Count” at UFC 85 in London, Leben was forced to return to Oregon to deal with an outstanding warrant resulting from a DUI arrest before he could leave the country. Though Leben and the UFC were hoping to resolve the matter quickly, the judge had other plans. Leben was sentenced to thirty-five days in jail, prompting the UFC to scratch him from the card.

With his legal troubles now behind him, Leben is getting a second chance at Bisping, this time at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England. In this exclusive CagePotato interview Leben discusses his maturation process as a fighter, his gameplan against Bisping, dealing with hometown judges, and more.

CagePotato.com: Hey Chris. Thanks for talking with me. We’re a few weeks out from the fight. How is your preparation coming?

Really good, really well. It’s been long and intense and I’m kind of just getting to the point now where I’m ready to go fight and get this thing over with.

It seems like things really changed for you when you moved to Hawaii. What has that move done for you?

You know, it’s great. Moving to Hawaii is definitely the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had the opportunity to be the head coach at Icon and there are a whole bunch of guys out here training with me who are just great. But besides the gym and the wonderful people out here you have the weather and everything that is Hawaii. It’s been really conducive to my training.

I hear a lot of people say you’re much more mature these days, no longer such a wild guy in and out of the cage. What do you think prompted that transformation?

Losing (laughs). You know, I got away with being a brawler for a long time. And it’s hard to change things when they’re working. But when I fought Anderson I realized, I might be able to beat 95% of the guys out there, but I’ll never be a world champion fighting this way. So I had to go back and change a lot of things. That was one part of it.

And the other part was, you know, coaching. Now that I have a team of amateur guys fighting, it’s hard to tell them to do something if you’re not doing it yourself.

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UFC Quick Hits: Bisping, Mir, Rampage/Wandy, & More

- Michael Bisping has some kind words for Chris Leben in the above ESPN interview, calling the UFC 89 bout his toughest challenge to date.

- Frank Mir astutely summed up what it was like to fight Brock Lesnar, telling Sherdog the experience was “like getting hit by a car that’s moving very slowly and you can’t get out of the way. It bumps and knocks you over and is just overwhelmingly powerful. …I didn’t know where he was half the time. It really felt like I was underwater and somebody was beating the s—-t out of me. I was just drowning under him.” Check out MMA’s undisputed champ of metaphors.

- Sounds like we can forget about seeing Wanderlei Silva-Rampage Jackson tacked on to the UFC 91 card. Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole says it’s more likely that fight will appear on a Super Bowl weekend card, but almost certainly won’t happen in 2008. At least it will give Rampage more time to sort out his legal problems and get comfortable with his new team.

- TUF 6′s Ben Saunders will take on Brandon Wolff at the UFC’s Dec. 10 event for the troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. This is the fight that War Machine turned down, right around the same time he made idiotic comments about Evan Tanner. Saunders kept his mouth shut and agreed to fight whoever the UFC asked him to. Guess who still has a job.

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