TUF Nations Finale: Stakes High For Michael Bisping-Tim Kennedy Middleweight Grudge Match

Michael Bisping lands an elbow on Alan Belcher at UFC 159

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The intense feud between two top-10 UFC middleweights will finally be settled inside the Octagon at the TUF Nations finale in Quebec City. Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy have been doing plenty of back-and-forth trash talking in advance of their important five-round main event battle.

Kennedy has picked up a pair of victories since joining the promotion. He earned a decision victory over Roger Gracie and followed that up with a huge first-round knockout of Rafael Natal at Fight for the Troops 3 last November. The decorated Army Ranger is no stranger to stiff competition. During his Strikeforce career, he faced the likes of Luke Rockhold, Robbie Lawler and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.

Kennedy is known for his grinding style and tremendous physical conditioning. However, as he showed against Natal, he can pack a serious punch. Kennedy has 14 finishes by either knockout or submission in his 17 career victories, and has proven to be extremely durable. He’s only been finished one time and that was because of a doctor stoppage in his first professional bout against Scott Smith.

Bisping has been a promotional stalwart since winning Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter. His 19-bout Octagon career can be summed up with “close, but no cigar”. Each time “The Count” has been on the cusp of a title opportunity, he’s faltered. He’s lost title eliminators against Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, and saw a most recent title possibility evaporate when he was knocked out by Vitor Belfort.

The no. 5 ranked Bisping hasn’t fought since a technical decision win at UFC 159 over Alan Belcher because of an eye injury. A detached retina required two surgeries, but Bisping is now ready to get back to business.

The cocky English fighter is as good as it gets in promoting a bout, and his disdain for Kennedy has been evident in the lead-up to this contest. Bisping is confident that a victory will inch him closer to a title opportunity in the new middleweight landscape. The Manchester native is more than capable of backing up his words as he is an aggressive fighter with an impressive 24-5 record that includes 14 knockouts. He’s known for his technical striking and solid overall skills.

This has the makings of being a tremendous fight that will have a major impact on the middleweight division. It’s obvious that the bad blood between the two is legitimate and there’s plenty at stake for both combatants. Bisping is looking to show he is still one of the UFC’s elite 185-pound fighters, while Kennedy is looking to continue his rise up the ladder by securing what would be the biggest win of his career.

The winner will not only own the bragging rights in this bitter rivalry, but will also likely be one more victory away from a possible middleweight title shot.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports