Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping will meet for a second time, as UFC President Dana White announced on ESPN’s Sportscenter Wednesday morning that Bisping is in as the replacement in the UFC Middleweight Title bout at UFC 199.
White said Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, off a win over Vitor Belfort last weekend at UFC 198, was their first choice for the bout, but a knee injury suffered in the win is going to require surgery, making him unavailable for the June 4 event. The spot opened up on Tuesday after Chris Weidman pulled out due to injury.
Bisping gets his first shot at a UFC title almost a decade after making his UFC debut. The longtime staple finally moved himself into contention with a win over Anderson Silva in London in February, the biggest in his career to date. He’ll be attempting to avenge a loss from November of 2014, where he was submitted by Rockhold in the second round.
As for Rockhold, who followed up on that win with a dominant victory over Lyoto Machida before taking the title from Weidman, he’s out for his sixth straight win overall in the UFC.
UFC 199 hits The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on June 4, and also features a Bantamweight Title fight rematch between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
Penick’s Analysis: With the unfortunate injury to Souza this was the fight to make. It also means Jacare is going to have to wait until 2017 for a shot, and will likely need to fight again in the interim, because the UFC is absolutely going to want Rockhold-Weidman II at Madison Square Garden in November. Of course, should he heal up sooner than Weidman, he’s an available option if Weidman winds up unable to fight by November. Regardless, Bisping is the beneficiary here, and he finally gets his long-awaited crack at the UFC Middleweight Championship.
[Michael Bisping art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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