A grudge match between Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy is now officially a go after a final obstacle was overcome when Bisping received his medical clearance. UFC President Dana White delivered the good news, and the 185-pound clash between the top-10 middleweight contenders will take place at the TUF Nations finale in Quebec City on April 16.
There’s been plenty of trash talk between the two men in the last few months, and now they will get the opportunity to settle their differences inside the Octagon.
Bisping can now resume his career after an eye injury scare. He hasn’t fought since a technical decision victory at UFC 159 against Alan Belcher because of a detached retina that required a pair of surgeries. It forced him out of a scheduled bout at Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England against Mark Munoz. The no. 5-ranked Bisping will be looking to get back in the mix as a possible title challenger when he squares off against the rugged Kennedy.
Bisping has had a lengthy tenure with the promotion since winning the light heavyweight title in Season 3 of the Ultimate Fighter. He has been extremely close to title opportunities in the past, only to see them evaporate because of losses against Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson.
Bisping employs an aggressive style and has 14 knockouts to his credit in 24 career wins. There’s also not many better at promoting a fight, and there should be some solid banter in the lead up to this one.
Kennedy has had a pair of Octagon appearances after a solid career in Strikeforce. After emerging with a unanimous decision victory against Roger Gracie in his UFC debut, the decorated Army Ranger took his career to a whole new level at Fight for the Troops 3 in November. Kennedy’s first main event with the promotion was a smashing success as he knocked out Rafael Natal in the first round.
He’s improved to no. 9 in the rankings, and a victory over a promotional stalwart in Bisping would have him knocking on title contention.
This fight has been a long time coming with the pair’s give-and-take on social media, and it’s definitely a positive sign for Bisping that he can continue his livelihood after a major scare. Kennedy is no doubt thrilled to get a matchup that he actively lobbied for, and he will welcome his chance to try to keep his winning ways up when he takes on “the Count.”
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports