Michael Bisping has yet to sign on the dotted line for his next fight, but that doesn’t mean “The Count” won’t be around the UFC cameras. Bisping is set to work as an in-studio analyst this weekend for UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva.
Bisping, coming off a loss to Tim Kennedy in his own return, has a special interest in the co-main event, as Lorenz Larkin takes on Costas Philippou. Bisping has worked with Larkin in the past, and believes the former light heavyweight has the right attitude coming in.
“I train with Lorenz quite a bit and he is very motivated after his last loss,” Bisping said, in a recent interview with FightLine. “He is an explosive fighter, but just hangs back a little bit. He admits that, and admits that cost him his last fight.
“I think we are going to see a hungry Lorenz; somebody who is going to push the pace.”
Larkin (14-2) lost for just the second time in his career this past January when Brad Tavares claimed a decision. His other loss came via decision to Francis Carmont last April in his Octagon debut.
Prior to joining the UFC, Larkin scored a decision win over Robbie Lawler, who went on to also sign with the UFC and become a top contender in the division. Lawler fought for the vacant title earlier this year.
Bisping said he isn’t sure why Larkin tries the laid-back approach, but added that he is “very good at landing counters” while doing it.
“He has a great uppercut, precise strikes,” Bisping added. “I think now he realizes that hanging back and waiting for the right opportunity cost him. He has to be busier. He lost the first two rounds (vs. Tavares), but stepped on the gas and won the third.
“He knows he needs to do that from the start.”
Philippou (12-4) has lost his last two after putting together a five-fight win streak between 2011-12. Bisping believes Philippou will seek an early takedown to gain control of the fight.
“Both guys have been knowing for their striking, and neither is a wrestler,” he said. “Lorenz is a very good kickboxer, Costas a Golden Gloves boxer. If I am Costas’ trainer, I tell him to shoot for a takedown early. Lorenz has the advantage if it is a kickboxing match and that is where the fight starts.”
Bisping feels that with a convincing win, Larkin will be on his way to “breaking into the Top-10 and becoming a household name. He has to go out there and perform.”
The only other middleweight contest set for the night will feature Ed Herman against Rafael Natal. That one has the eye of the Brit, as well.
“Being a bout at 185, I always enjoy those being a middleweight myself,” Bisping said. “Ed Herman was on The Ultimate Fighter with me and has been around a long time like myself. Natal’s last fight was a main event against Tim Kennedy, my old foe, so I have interest in that fight.
“I think it will be a fun fight for the prelims and I will be watching it closely.”
Herman went on to finish second in the middleweight TUF tournament, falling to Kendall Grove, while Bisping won it at light heavyweight.
We’ll have more from Bisping later this week, as he breaks down the main event between Matt Brown and Erick Silva and gives us some insight into his desire to move into an on-camera role with the UFC and FOX Sports going forward.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Eric Bolte