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Michael Bisping vows to show his power and progression at UFC 152

Bisping says opponent Brian Stann has no advantages in middleweight meeting

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Leila Navidi

Michael Bisping, left, talks with Joe Rogan during The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale weigh-in at The Palms in Las Vegas Friday, December 2, 2011.

Case Keefer on MMA Oddsbreaker show

Michael Bisping’s final punch snaps through the air with cannon-like force and collides with the mitt on the other side as loud as a bomb.

The 33-year-old UFC middleweight has just finished an eight-round workout — five more than he’s ever had to go in a real fight — that never lost intensity. His body is covered in enough beads of sweat to fill a bathtub as he grimaces at the ground with a look that could imply either fatigue or frustration.

“Not bad for a guy with no power,” Bisping declares to no one in particular.

Bisping (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) goes into his main-card bout against Brian Stann (12-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC 152 in Toronto with plenty to prove. The outspoken British fighter would say he’s more driven than angry.

But he can’t hide the irritation that lingers from his last fight, a unanimous-decision defeat to Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2. No matter how many times he re-watches the bout, Bisping can’t figure out how the judges didn’t award him two of the three rounds.

Bisping is also perturbed Chris Weidman has assumed the distinction as the top contender in the 185-pound division. He came away unimpressed with the undefeated Weidman’s second-round knockout victory against Mark Munoz, whom Bisping described as “fat” and an “amateur” in the fight.

Most of all, Bisping has gotten to a point where criticisms of his wrestling and striking power take him over the edge. He can’t respond to them without a string of expletives not fit for publication.

“Bisping is one of the most underrated fighters in mixed martial arts, period,” UFC President Dana White said. “People don’t give him credit for how good his wrestling is. People don’t give him enough credit for how good his stand-up is.”

Bisping has channeled the negative energy into his training like never before. A recent move to Southern California has allowed him to refine his preparation methods and connect with new instructors, including veteran boxing coach Jason Parillo.

He already holds the record as the middleweight with the most significant strikes landed, according to UFC stats provider FightMetric, but Bisping said his stand-up has drastically improved. Parillo hints at the same.

“I’ve never seen a man train like this guy does,” Parillo said. “It’s amazing how he trains.”

Bisping plans to impress against Stann to the point where he’s catapulted to the top of the division. He knows a bout against middleweight champion Anderson Silva is unlikely anytime soon, but Bisping would settle for a matchup against Weidman, who is slated to meet Tim Boetsch at UFC 155.

Bisping can already detail how he sees the meeting with Stann playing out. Stann, who Bisping says is a powerful puncher but sub par at everything else, will try to out-box him until he realizes that’s not going to work.

Stann, according to Bisping, will then shoot for a takedown. But the former Marine will run into another problem when he can’t get Bisping to the mat. Bisping references his fight with Sonnen for proof why Stann won’t out-wrestle him.

“If I remember right, the fight ended with Chael Sonnen on his (butt) getting elbowed in his face,” Bisping said. “I’m sure Brian Stann isn’t an Olympic-caliber wrestler, so if he wants to waste a lot of time and energy trying to take me down, he can do so. In fact, I welcome him to do so. It would work out quite well for me.”

Bisping has spent less time trash-talking Stann compared with other opponents throughout his career. He did offer one gem, stating Stann was “shining boots in basic training while I was in the UFC kicking (butt).”

White finds those types of comments hilarious, but believes they turn some fans off. He said he thought that was why so many people attempted to gall Bisping and get under his skin, which has worked for now.

“I haven’t knocked out anyone clean lately,” Bisping concludes. “Whatever, trust me — I can pack a punch.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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