Michael Bisping and Yoel Romero are rumored to be facing each other at UFC 208 in January. I think it's a great match-up, and not an easy fight for either of them.
I think Romero did really well against Weidman. Weidman had the right gameplan in that he wanted to tire Romero out. All of those big muscles need oxygen, and Romero also has those fast-twitch muscle fibers. I, and many other fighters, have that as well, so I know how important it is to control yourself in the fight.
You have to explode, then relax, work in bursts and let yourself recover in between. Weidman wasn't letting Romero do that. He was pressuring him. He kept trying to take him down, even though he couldn't keep him down. That didn't matter, he just had to keep Romero working, make the lactic acid build up in the muscles, make it so his lungs can't expand and breathe fully anymore. It was a great gameplan.
Then, he looked to go for a takedown and went straight into that big knee. Even when you get Romero tired, he still has that one shot knockout power. I said in my breakdown before the fight that Romero always hits from the left. 90% of the time it's a left kick, left knee or a left strike. He doesn't really throw combinations.
If I was Romero, I would start focusing on countering with multiple shots, not just single power shots; a cross-hook then a kick, or a cross-hook-cross spleen shot. Spleen shot because, as a southpaw, he can't hit the liver as easily, he really has to step into it. That would be something for him to work on. He's already an animal, so if he starts throwing combinations, he'll be even crazier.
Then, there's Bisping. Everybody always counts Bisping out, but look at what he did! He's on a roll now. He beats Anderson Silva, then knocks out Luke Rockhold for the title, then beats Dan Henderson. People had problems with Henderson getting the fight but I think it was a good thing to do and stylistically we see a same kind of thing here as the Romero fight, if Henderson lands one H-Bomb, the fight could be over. Same here with Romero, it’s only coming from the other side, his left hand PLUS of course he adds powerful knees and kicks to it, something Hendo doesn’t do a lot of.
To beat Romero, Bisping needs to work hard here. He needs to constantly push forward, and he definitely cannot start out slow, Michael is a guy with really great stamina, he needs to use it right from the start. Also needs to move to his left, to stay away from the powershots of Romero. Now, Bisping doesn't have the wrestling pedigree that Weidman has, but he does have great takedown defense. Against a guy like Romero, though? Once you're in there against a guy who has wrestled at the Olympics, that's a whole different story, and that can be hard to beat. The key for Bisping is to just get in his face, make him work and go for the kill in the later rounds.
Bisping needs to look out for the big left hand. He knew Dan Henderson was going to be throwing that big (right) shot, but he still couldn't avoid it, because he was making little tiny mistakes. But, you know what? If you're in a fight where you get hit really freakin' hard by the same punch over and over again, you learn. You learn to find a defense for that, so I think the Henderson fight will have helped him understand, that even when training for it, it can still happen. This time he needs to counter that big left hand immediately with a power shot, this might stop Romero from throwing it as much
Romero just needs to start putting together longer combinations. Imagine a guy like him throwing combinations. It's scary to even think about.
Romero has had his issues with the rules, and this is a bad thing to say, but listen, if they're going to let you get away with it... With the stool thing against Tim Kennedy, he got the air he needed to get the win, which wasn’t his fault, but it was his corner's fault. Most of the time when there's a pattern of behavior with a fighter, and they break rules over and over again, I say it's intentional. Guys can say whatever they want, but if something happens every single time? Okay…
Referees need to pay very close attention to these things. They need to say to that particular fighter, "We saw you doing this and that. If I see you do something similar, I'm taking a point away immediately, no warning."
They should tell the corner beforehand. If somebody is known for eye poking, and if he does it several fights in a row, I'd tell the guy he's not getting a warning. If he pokes someone's eye, he gets a red card immediately. I guarantee you that there would be no more eye pokes. If something happens all the time... Yeah, most of the time the fighter does it on purpose.
Last thing, with poking the eyes, I fought in Pancrase where you needed to strike with an OPEN HAND to the face (the body was closed first) and guess what? Nobody got poked in the eye? And we were having our hands open! See what I mean?