RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST?
I used to be of the belief that Bisping would be a harder out for Sonnen than Munoz would have been, but I've changed my mind on that one in the last day or so. Now I'm of the belief that both Bisping and Munoz pose little threat to Sonnen. Bisping is essentially Brian Stann, if you subtract power and add takedown defense, and we all know how well Stann fared against Sonnen just a few short months ago. Munoz had nothing for Yushin Okami, who is essentially a watered down version of Chael Sonnen. And if Okami can negate Munoz's wrestling, imagine what Sonnen would have done to Munoz. Sonnen's going to handle Bisping, who hasn't beaten anybody in his eleven UFC fights. The lack of competition Bisping has succeeded against is the dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about. Sonnen is going to truck him.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think in a lot of ways he is. I thought Munoz would beat Sonnen anyway, but I'm extremely confident that Bisping will beat Sonnen. Bisping is just too good with his striking, and his takedown defense is solid. Munoz was more dangerous in the sense that he's a lesser-known fighter so a loss to him would appear to be more damaging than a loss to a big name like Bisping. In the actual fight, however, Bisping is more dangerous.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Michael Bisping is a HUGE challenge for Chael Sonnen compared to Mark Munoz. Bisping is a dangerous fighter standing up, while also being very capable on the ground. Munoz has power and the wrestling pedigree, but I just don't think the experience compares to Bisping's. He may have better wrestling than Bisping, but Bisping has an improved ground game, and with better striking as well, Bisping clearly outweighs Munoz in the danger department against Sonnen.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It's very hard to gauge who is a more dangerous fighter for Chael, because Chael himself has become a very dominant fighter. Personally I think Munoz is a bigger threat to knock him out, while Bisping is a bigger threat with his wrestling and takedowns. These two guys are so close in talent that you could split a hair with the difference. I don't believe that Munoz had earned his way into a title eliminator fight; whereas I do believe that in dominating Mayhem Miller Bisping definitely earned his chance to get in the ring with The Spider. Munoz's injury did shake things up, but in the end I do know that I think Bisping is a more entertaining fight going up against Sonnen, because with Munoz there would have been a lot of feeling out with his reach. Bisping just likes to shoot from the hip, his fight against Rivera proved that to everybody, and with training partners like Rampage Jackson we're sure to see the continued evolution that has gone on with Bisping in camp once he gets in the cage.
MATT PELKEY, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Mark Munoz is a highly decorated collegiate wrestler, but it hasn't translated like most had hoped to MMA so far. He has heavier hands than Bisping, but Sonnen's chin has never been in question, and Munoz would've likely spent most of the fight on his back, so his power would've been negated. Bisping has the better, more varied striking, a far better gas tank, and a far better guard, both offensively and defensively. I still favor Sonnen heavily in the fight, but Bisping does have multiple ways to win. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Bisping tap Sonnen off his back, and, while less likely, I could see Bisping's defensive guard giving Sonnen fits, forcing stand-ups, and Bisping using his work rate on the feet to win a close decision.
[Michael Bisping art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]