ROUNDTABLE: What type of chance does Michael Bisping have to upset Luke Rockhold at UFC 199?

Michael Bisping believes he can knock Luke Rockhold out at UFC 199. What type of chance do you give him to pull that off in that June 4 fight?


Not good.

You mean, not good, like one out of a hundred?

I’d say, more like one out of a million.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance? (Dumb and Dumber)

Of course there’s a chance. There’s a chance when I buy a Powerball ticket, that I end up walking into work the next day and mooning everyone before going Office Space on our fax machine. It’s not a good chance, but it’s not impossible.

Have you seen Rockhold fight? Have you seen Bisping fight? Have you seen Rockhold fight Bisping? If you did, you know very well that Bisping did not knock Rockhold out. Rockhold is about as complete a fighter as you’ll find in the game right now. He’s also long, and extremely well muscled. It’s a tall order for Bisping to overcome.

Bisping has a surprising amount of knockouts for a guy that uses work rate and volume. That is not so say, however, that he is a knockout fighter. Bisping’s cardio is fantastic, and he throws punches in bunches, with very solid and conventional technique. Rockhold is not coming into this fight fearing a flash knockout, as Bisping just doesn’t generate that type of power.

I’ve often seen these people, these squares at the table, short stack and long odds against them. All their outs gone. One last card in the deck that can help them. I used to wonder how they could let themselves get into such bad shape and how the hell they thought they could turn it around. (Rounders)

And that’s really what Bisping’s left with. He’s not going to take a decision victory over Rockhold. This fight’s not likely to make it to decision anyway, as Rockhold is a danger to finish anywhere. Rockhold will control distance with his length. If he gets inside, he’ll use his strength to bully the smaller Bisping and rough him up. He’ll drag the Count to the ground and beat him up or submit him. Bisping’s really just got to hope he sets up some combinations that finish with that perfectly placed shot across Rockhold’s jaw, turning out the champion’s lights.

If you fight them, it’s almost not assuredly going to happen. If you fight them 10 times, it’s probably not going to happen. But if you fight them 100 times? Okay, maybe. A thousand? Likely. A million? Many more than one. On an infinite timeline, all possibilities take place. This particular outcome is far more probable than needing an infinite timeline to come to fruition, but that doesn’t mean I’d bet on it.

I’ve got the same chance as anybody else, haven’t I?

You’ve got more, Charlie, because you want it more. (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)

Which brings us to the x-factor. If it’s solely based on athletic and fighting ability, Bisping doesn’t really stand much of a chance of winning, let alone knocking Rockhold out. But Bisping wants this. He wants it badly. He’s said it’s his destiny. It was beginning to look like Bisping was going to be one of the best UFC fighters never to fight for a title, but now he’s got his chance. No one is expecting anything of him, and that’s not even considering the fact he’s taking the fight on two weeks’ notice. Bisping has nothing to lose, everything to gain, and might as well just leave it all on the table. That makes him more dangerous than it should, and we’ve seen plenty of fighters in the past overcome long odds in this situation to do something shocking.

I don’t give him much of a chance, but there is one. Bisping’s best bet is to throw analysis, doubters, and all else out the window and go with Han Solo’s mentality in this fight.

But sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one.

Never tell me the odds. (The Empire Strikes Back)


That the question is even being asked makes me wonder about the intentions of the disembodied voice who asks such asinine questions. Let’s cut to the quick here, shall we? Michael Bisping has literally no chance in this fight. None. If he had a full camp and if Rockhold were hiding a staph infection, Bisping’s only chance would be if Rockhold started spewing pus all over the cage (although when Matt Hamill had an open staph infection in his fight with Keith Jardine, Hamill was allowed to fight and actually won the fight). So I take it back, an open staph infection that spewed pus around the cage like the pie eating contest in Stand By Me wouldn’t be enough to give Bisping a chance.

But what if Rockhold had both a spewing staph infection that spewed pus around the cage like the pie eating contest in Stand By Me AND a broken hand? Well, when Matt Hamill had an open staph infection AND A BROKEN HAND in his fight with Keith Jardine, Hamill was allowed to fight and actually won the fight. So, no that wouldn’t be enough.

So I’ll tell you what. I’ve done my part, and I can’t find a combination of maladies that Rockhold would have to suffer in order for me to think Bisping has a chance on June 4. But if you can think of something else to pile on top of an open staph infection and a broken hand, be my guest.

Rockhold by TKO in the first.


The chances of Bisping knocking out Rockhold aren’t all that great, but you can’t overlook anybody. I’m sure Rockhold isn’t, especially given how Bisping talks a lot, but anything can happen in sports. It’s going to take a supreme effort from Bisping, but he’s certainly capable of winning here. This isn’t a best-of-5 or best-of-7, he only has to beat Rockhold once. It can be done. It’s not at all likely, but it’s possible. I think Rockhold finishes Bisping in the second round by TKO, but all it takes is a few moments and Bisping can pull off the upset. Anything is possible.


Michael Bisping has become overly confident since his victory against Anderson Silva. Bisping fought an out of his prime and shadow of himself version of Silva. By contrast, Luke Rockhold is a bigger, more athletic, and in his prime monster that Bisping will be squared against. In the past when Bisping has been able to TKO his opponents he has utilized pace and volume striking on his foes. Does anyone believe he will be able to employ this type of strategy with Rockhold? Do you believe Bisping will be able to out strike Rockhold or wrestle him against the cage? The only attributable success Bisping will have at UFC 199 is the fact he finally received a title shot.


There is a reason pundits have called Bisping pillow-fisted over the years. I’m not going to go that far in my assessment of his punching prowess, but it isn’t a statement without merit. Bisping hasn’t scored a single KO victory in his long UFC career with all of his stoppages coming under an onslaught of punches and/or knees for a TKO victory. Am I getting too specific here?

If I’m going to pick a method in which I most believe Bisping would be victorious it would totally be TKO, though not necessarily due to a barrage of punches like I mentioned earlier. In a sport where Chael Sonnen almost became the light heavyweight champion due to a toe injury suffered by Jon Jones, I expect a freak injury to Rockhold would be most likely responsible for a title change as opposed to anything Bisping would do. Yes, I think his chances of winning are that bad.

Bisping is not a pure KO threat and never has been. He’s always talked a good game and that is what makes him so valuable to the UFC is his ability to promote. So he’s going to talk about putting Rockhold to sleep while the rest of us politely nod our heads knowing only the most casual of casual fans will even consider that to be a remote possibility.

[Michael Bisping art by Grant Gould (c)]

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