The clock is ticking for 35-year-old English pioneer Michael “The Count” Bisping (26-6-0).
The long-time top-10 contender needs to defeat Luke Rockhold (12-2-0) tomorrow in Sydney to solidify his place in the title shot mix.
The 30-year-old Rockhold lost his first 2013 octagon fight in highlight reel fashion to The Phenom, #1 Vitor Belfort.
He does not want to experience the title shot doldrums Bisping experienced.
Did we mention the two don’t like each other?
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
“THE HULK” SOA PALELEI (21-4-0) VS WALT “THE BIG TICKET” HARRIS (6-3-0)
Andrews: I am going with The Hulk and not because the MMA math happens to agree. Sure, Palelei beat Nikita Krylov, the same fighter who Harris lost to, but Palelei also has more UFC experience, and is the busier fighter. He’s worked on his gas tank, and despite giving up some inches, will cash the ticket.
Andrews Prediction: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei via TKO.
ROBERT WHITTAKER (13-4-0) VS CLINT “HEADBUSSA” HESTER (11-3-0)
Andrews: I really like these two fighters. Whittaker has the technical boxing skills and is moving up to 185. TUF winner Hester is the bigger, more powerful fighter. I think Whittaker’s footwork, speed and technical advantages should earn him the unanimous decision win.
Andrews Prediction: Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision.
ROSS “REAL DEAL” PEARSON (18-7-0, 1 NC) VS AL “RAGING BULL” IAQUINTA (9-3-1)
Andrews: Everything TUF finalist Iaquinta does, Pearson does better with the exception of wrestling. So, Iaquinta needs to wear Pearson down on the ground and grind him out. Pearson should pick Iaquinta apart on the feet, but all bets are off if he gasses. Both can take shots, but Pearson can deliver them better.
Andrews Prediction: Ross “Real Deal” Pearson via TKO.
#5 LUKE ROCKHOLD (12-2-0) VS #9 MICHAEL “THE COUNT” BISPING (26-6-0)
Andrews: Bisping has the footwork and boxing advantage, but he doesn’t have the power to knock out Rockhold. Rockhold is the bigger guy, with dangerous leg kicks and ground game. Rockhold has more ways to win, while Bisping will need to dance for five rounds, score enough points, and avoid being grinded on the ground to prevail. Advantage: Rockhold.
Andrews Prediction: Luke Rockhold via TKO.