Michael Bisping v Dan Henderson
‘KHAAAAN!’ etc. The last time these two met in the octagon, it famously did not end well for the talkative Englishman. A stint for both on the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ as rival coaches helped fan the flames, and the stage was set at UFC 100 for the brutal right hand of Desperate Dan to land, which it did, chinning the Count with deadly accuracy and putting him on the choo-choo train to sleepy town. This time round however, there are other factors to consider.
The first, of course, is Henderson’s age. He’s forty-six now, which brings us to the other major point: his use of TRT and the exemption he was granted until its banning in 2014. With this in mind, it’s hard to see Hendo get to deploy what is his best weapon past the first two rounds. Bisping, it’s widely acknowledged, made a mistake that night circling into his power hand range.
Though there’s been a bit of controversy regarding Michael’s first title defence being awarded to Henderson, the chance for him to strip the cocky Yorkshireman of the middleweight belt and walk off into the sunset/opportunity for revenge in front of a home town crowd is too good to pass up for either fighter. Weidman and Jacare can moan all they want about the relevance of the fight, but the fact is, a rematch has been well overdue.
I’m going to show my bias here and root for the C(o)unt, but don’t put it past Hendo to land another H-bomb. Or cheat. Either way, Dan Henderson, we’ll miss you: jaw of an Easter Island statue, testicles of a twenty year old.
MICHAEL BISPING, TKO (round 3. Maybe)
Vitor Belfort v Gegard Mousasi
Well well well. Just when I thought we were done talking about TRT, who turns up, but none other than its other most prolific user/abuser/enthusiast: step forward Vitor ‘cheat-or’ Belfort, a man who’s body shape (and fortunes) fluctuates like the bloody weather. He fights Gegard ‘the dreamcatcher’ Mousasi, a sleepy-eyed enigma with a frankly terrible nickname. For a long time now, the MMA hipsterdom have been touting ‘the dreamcatcher’ (no I’m not going to stop calling him that) as a middleweight champ.
This may well be his best opportunity; a TRT-free Belfort is a less dangerous opponent, and the British judges may swing in favour towards the Dutchman over the Brazilian should there be a decision. It’s up to Vitor to put away ‘the dreamcatcher’ early, and if ‘the dreamcatcher’ we get Saturday night is the slow-starting ponderous bored-looking one, Belfort may well put him to sleep.
GEGARD MOUSASI, TKO ANYTIME/VITOR BELFORT, KO, R1
Ovince St Preux v Jimi Manuwa
Bing! Pow! Jimi likes to put lads to sleep. With what looks like the lightest of touches, Manuwa has had a habit in his career of knocking lads out cold. He’s only ever gone the distance once in his career, and undoubtedly he has the chance to ko St Preux too. However, if Jimi fails to dictate space and distance quickly and put his opponent off his game, expect Ovince to mix it up with some wrestling for the decision win. My European heart, of course, wants Jimi to flatten the yank, but my head says ‘wrassling’.
OVINCE ST PREUX, UD
Stefan Struve v Daniel Omielanczuk
Struve is coming off a spectacular knockout of Bigfoot, and Daniel, well, lets face it, has fought a bunch of eastern European nobodies. This has Skyscraper winning handy on paper. However, those who’ve watched any of his losses know he’s at times susceptible to strikes, despite being the (much)taller, rangier fighter. Omielanczuk will have his work cut out for him if he’s going to pull a win out of the bag. Either way, expect blood.
STEFAN STRUVE, TKO, R2
Mirsad Bektic v Russell Doane
Doane is on a three fight losing streak. Bektic has lost none of his ten pro fights. Doane has double the number of fights Bektic has. Make of that what you will.
MIRSAD BEKTIC, TKO, ANYTIME