Although Wanderlei Silva has a longstanding rivalry with Vitor Belfort, he believes “The Phenom” can beat Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7 on Jan. 19. In an exclusive interview with PVT, “The Axe Murderer” said he sees the Brazilian having the advantage in the first two rounds, but he also believes that Bisping can dominate over the course of an extended fight.
"It is a very well-matched fight. I think Belfort has all the tools to knock out Bisping in a two-round fight. If it goes three to five rounds, I think Bisping swallows Vitor. One of the things about Vitor is that he is very fast – he lands a lot of blows in succession, so he may get tired. And the Englishman talks a lot, but he also trains a lot, so he will be prepared," Silva said.
The former Pride champion recalled Belfort’s bout against Jon Jones at UFC 152; he believes his rival should place more of an emphasis on his speed, which he did not against the light heavyweight champion.
"Belfort gave only a sprint against Jones -- in the third round. That had to be given in the first round, then he would have won. He has to control the distance and try to win by knockout. But if the fight goes on, I think things will get better for Bisping," Silva said.
Silva also chimed in on the controversial duel for the light heavyweight title between Jones and Sonnen, which is expected to take place on April 27. Silva does not agree with those who consider the matchup meaningless.
"Whatever the boss [UFC President Dana White] says, I sign underneath. If he thinks this fight is fair, then I think he's absolutely right,” Silva said, laughing. “It was a fight I wanted to see; [but] Jones will swallow Sonnen. I spoke with Jones and told him that he can win the fight only with jabs, with one hand tied behind his back. The only person who can beat Jones today is Anderson [Silva].”
In regards to the dream showdown between “The Spider” and Jones, Mad Dog said he spoke with the American on the matter, but he would not say whether Jones would accept the superfight.
"He talked to me about Anderson, but I cannot say what, obviously,” joked Silva.