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Bisping: Belfort the 'perfect tune-up' for Anderson Silva

ESPN staff
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Michael Bisping insists he could not have wished for a better opponent than Vitor Belfort for Saturday's No. 1 contender fight, claiming he is "the perfect tune-up" for a showdown with middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Bisping is in confident mood ahead of the January 19 encounter with Belfort, although the Brit is the first to acknowledge that he faces a "legend" this weekend.

Belfort poses a very real threat for Bisping in the UFC on FX 7 main event, bringing the type of knockout power that has seen off the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Matt Lindland and Rich Franklin. However, Bisping sees one very big advantage in facing such a striker.

"The good thing is Vitor Belfort is the perfect warm-up for Anderson Silva. He's a southpaw, Anderson's a southpaw, and they're both incredible strikers," Bisping told ESPN.

"My skills against a southpaw have definitely improved a lot in this training camp. At the start of the camp I was struggling because things do change due to the stance. But now I'm over those problems.

"Fingers crossed I get the business done, and then I've had the perfect tune-up for Anderson Silva."

Past No. 1 contender fights for Bisping have come against Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, both very different opponents stylistically when compared to Silva.

Belfort, though, is the best middleweight Bisping believes he can face - other than Silva himself - insisting the Phenom might even have been the champion but for Silva's presence.

"I think if Anderson fought Belfort again the outcome might be very different. I'm not saying he'd beat him, but I don't think Silva would knock him out like he did last time," the Brit said.

"I'm not saying Anderson got lucky, but Anderson doesn't want to fight him anytime soon because he knows Belfort's a tough fight."

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