With all the excitement of UFC 205 and Conor McGregor doing what he does best, it is easy to forget that just next week there is the small matter of UFC 204 to look forward to. While it can be almost unarguable that UFC 205 is the most stacked card ever Bisping vs. Henderson II is still well worth getting excited about.
The main event, while not perhaps one for the MMA purists, still holds plenty of interest and intrigue. It is an extremely solid fight. Dan Henderson, legend of the sport – owner of “The H-Bomb,” the most devastating overhand right in MMA today – has a chance to do what almost every fighter fails to do. He could retire at the top. After 19 years competing at the highest level, he could ride off into the sunset with the UFC Middleweight Championship to keep alongside his UFC Tournament Championship, his Pride FC Tournament Championship, two Pride Championship belts in both Welterweight and Middleweight, and his Stikeforce Light Heavyweight Belt.
Or, alternatively Michael Bisping finally gets his revenge on the man who made him the victim of possibly the most famous knockout in UFC history – and that controversial post-KO punch while he was on the mat – and retains his belt. With it he can continue to call himself the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world today in front of a raucous hometown crowd.
What Bisping has managed to do, in shaking off his moniker of being the UFC’s nearly man, has been nothing short of remarkable. The man who seemed destined to always get close to a title, but never manages to finally get over the hump. He has now beaten Anderson Silva, his long-time idol of the sport and arguably the Greatest of all Time, and his most heated rival Luke Rockhold to claim the belt.
Below the main event, two top middleweights attempt to put themselves in Middleweight Championship contention as Vitor Belfort squares off against Gegard Mousasi. We will learn if Vitor is able to continue to compete near the top level with much more stringent drug testing or if Gegard Mousasi can finally make a statement win to put him possibly within just one fight of a title shot.
Ovince St Preux, whose stock rose despite a lop-sided loss against former Light Heavyweight Championship Jon “Bones” Jones, faces Jimi Manuwa. I can guarantee you that this fight will not go to the judges as both men hold dynamite in their kicks and punches.
Stefan Struve, who, let’s not forget, has a KO win over Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic, can put himself in the mix if he has an impressive win against Poland’s own Daniel Omielańczuk, who has an impressive 19-5-1 record. Struve is still only 28 and, if he can utilize his massive frame better, he has real potential.
Rounding out the main card undefeated fighters Mirsad Bektic will face Jeremy Kennedy. Mirsad is an outstanding prospect and was featured in my column of “Top Prospects to Watch.”
Add exciting fighters Iuri Alcantara, Brad Pickett, Rob Font, Albert Tumenov, and Adriano Martins and it should be an excellent evening of fights. The UK crowd will bring the noise despite it starting at 11 p.m. The event sold out within minutes and it will be the first PPV event held in the European market since 2010 and UFC 112. It may not have the shine of the historic UFC at NYC in MSG, but it’s still damn well worth getting excited about.
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(Christopher King of Arundel, England is a new MMATorch contributor. He got hooked on MMA after watching UFC 114 featuring “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans and from there, he says, “I spent a ridiculous amount of money and time watching every event from UFC 1 up to the present so I could understand the history of the sport, the fighters, the weight divisions and everything else in between. It was the style of fighting that drew me in, in order to see what martial art was the most effective, and from there, the fighters themselves, their story, their training and the sacrifices that they go through.” Follow him on Twitter – @ChristofKing)