ufc fight night 55

The UFC returns to Australia on Nov. 8 where Michael Bisping’s latest grudge match will reach its climax as he takes on American Luke Rockhold at the Allphones Arena is Sydney.

Bisping (25-6) and Rockhold (12-2) are set to face off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 55. As Britain’s no.1 mixed martial artist, 35-year-old Bisping aims to continue his pursuit of a middleweight title opportunity having most recently destroyed Cung Le in clinical fashion on Aug. 23 in Macau, China, and victory over Rockhold would propel ‘The Count’ back into the title hunt.

Similarly, Rockhold is also aiming to establish himself as title contender for the 185lb crown. The American suffered just the second defeat of his career against current no.1 contender Vitor Belfort last year in May. Since then, the former Strikeforce champion has bounced back with two consecutive victories by finishing both Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch in the first round.

Both fighters bring a similar style to the table; each man is considered very well rounded – favoring their established range striking and effective clinch work with a competent ground game in reserve. However, the renown precision striking and cardio of Bisping stands out while Rockhold harnesses a more varied use of kicks.

At 30-years-old the American is a potential nightmare for Bisping. As the younger man Rockhold boasts athleticism to match the pace of his opponent, and will step into the Octagon as the bigger, stronger, and more powerful of the two fighters.

In the co-main event, Britain’s top lightweight Ross Pearson (16-7-1NC) looks to extend his new found momentum. Pearson successfully bounced back having been robbed of victory by the judges when out-performing Diego Sanchez back in June, and The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 winner produced a highlight victory in August where ‘The Real Deal’ knocked out former UFC title contender Gray Maynard. New York’s Al Iaquinta (9-3-1) has been handed a golden opportunity and the biggest fight of his career against Pearson. The TUF 9 finalist finished Rodrigo Damm with a second round TKO on Sept. 5 following a submission loss to Mitch Clarke.

It’s likely that Pearson will make light work of his American counterpart, and for what it’s worth, Iaquinta went the distance with former UFC contender Ryan Couture in 2013 while in the same year Pearson dispatched of Couture with relative ease by snatching a TKO win in the second round.

Also on the card, TUF Smashes welterweight winner and Australia’s own Robert Whittaker (12-4) takes on the USA’s Clint Hester (11-3). The speedy Whittaker rectified a two-fight slump with a decision victory over Mike Rhodes in June while amateur boxing veteran, Hester looks to maintain his current run of 7 straight victories. ‘Headbussa’ most recently took a split-decision win over Brazilian Anotnio Braga Neto. Heavyweight action kicks off the main card in Sydney when Australian native and 12-year MMA veteran Soa Palelei (21-4) takes on American Top Team’s Walt Harris (7-3).

Palelei’s 11-fight win streak was halted at UFC Fight Night: New Zealand when ‘The Hulk’ went the distance with Jared Rosholt. Despite packing serious KO power, the 37-year-old veteran is known for displaying questionable cardio, should he not be able to snatch the early knockout. Similarly, Alabama’s Harris quickly established his own knockout reputation when kicking off his professional MMA career in 2011. ‘The Big Ticket’ left the UFC following consecutive losses to Jared Rosholt and Nikita Krylov, but earned his return by knocking out out D.J. Linderman in the opening round at TFC 28 in May. However, despite all 7 career wins coming via first round knockout, the American is yet to prove successful in longer fights with two of his three loses coming as unanimous decision losses.


Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping

Al Iaquinta vs. Ross Pearson

Clint Hester vs. Robert Whittaker

Walt Harris vs. Soa Palelei


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