The UFC 204 Prelims have been up amd down, and the main card is just an hour away. Honestly, it’s not very appealing. The main event is a grudge match that should not be a title fight. The co-main would’ve been huge-back in 2013. Both foghts feature a fighter that’s expected to retire after tonight, win or lose. The first three main card fights could be fun, but you never know.
The locals in London will have to wait until 5am for the main event to get underway, so for their sake, let’s hope it’s a fun slate.
Main card (10/9c, PPV)
Mirsad Bektic (10-0) vs. Russell Doane (14-6)
In the main card opener, unbeaten Turkish prospect Mirsad Bektic returns facing an opponent on short notice. He was supposed to face Arnold Allen, but Allen got hurt, and Doane stepped up just a week before the fight.
Bektic has five wins via knockout, three via decision and two via submission. He’s 3-0 inside the octagon, and fighting for the first time since May 2013, due to injuries.
Doane is a finisher, with 11 of his 14 wins coming via stoppage. He’s got six knockout and five submission wins, and has three submission and decision losses apiece. He’s also lost three straight, so a loss tonight is almost guaranteed to result in a pink slip. That sucks, but I think that’s what will happen. Prediction: Bektic via decision or late submission.
Stefan Struve (27-8) vs. Daniel Omielanchuk (19-5-1, 1NC)
Caution: This fight could really suck. Omielanchuk is really hard to watch, and he’ll try and grind his way to a win. Meanwhile, Struve is a finisher with 16 submission and right knockout wins. Of his eight losses, six have come via knockout. Even if Omielanchuk is able to grind on him, I see Strive submitting him. At least, I hope that happens. Prediction: Struve via submission round 1.
Ovince Saint Preux (19-8) vs. Jimi Manuwa (15-2)
Up next is a Light Heavyweight contest that could be really fun. Saint Preux is 7-3 inside the octagon, but 3-3 in his last 6. He’s gone the distance 11 times, and is 5-6 in such cases, but he does have knockout power and some crafty wins to his credit, including a Von Flue choke against Nikita Krylov.
Manuwa is a knockout artist through and through, with 15 of his 17 career fights, including both his losses, ending in that fashion. That said, two of those UFC “knockout” wins came due to injury, and another via doctor stoppage. He’s lost 2 of three, and his last fight was over a year ago, so he really needs a win here. Sadly for him, I see OSP winning, in what should be a fun fight for as long as it lasts. Prediction: OSP via tko, round 2.
Vitor Belfort (25-12) vs. Gegard Mousasi (39-6-2)
The co-main event of the evening would’ve been a marquee fight had it happened in 2013 or 2014. Back then, Vitor was a killing machine, head-kicking the likes of Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, while Mousasi was a star coming to the UFC from Strikeforce.
Since 2013, Belfort is 1-2, and has looked like a shell of himself since having to quit TRT. Rhe Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo black belt is 39-years-old, and has stated that he will retire after tonight. He does have early fury in fights, and has 18 knockout wins to his credit.
Meanwhile, Mousasi has won four of his last five, and his career seems to have caught a second wind. He’s got 32 finishes to his credit-20 knockouts and 12 submissions, and I think that unless he gets caught early, he’ll win this fight for sure. Prediction: Mousasi via tko, late round 1.
UFC Middleweight Championship:
(C) Michael Bisping (29-7) vs. (13) Dan Henderson (32-14)
Let’s be honest, the main event feels like a farce. It’s clearly a way to appease folks in England to give their champion a title defense opportunity where he’s expected to win, seeing how he wasn’t even top 5 at Middleweight when he stepped up on short notice and beat Luke Rockhold in June.
I get that Henderson had one of the most iconic knockouts in UFC history at UFC 100 against Bisping, but for goodness sakes, he’s 4-6 in his last ten, 46-years-old said he’ll retire after this fight, and this really shouldn’t be a title fight.
Obviously, Bisping should win this. He’s younger, not way past his prime, and fighting in his home country. That said, this being his first title defense is a joke, and I’m rooting for chaos tonight. Heart pick: Henderson via brutal knockout. Logic pick: Bisping via whatever he wants.