The UFC heads to Manchester, United Kingdom for UFC 204. The battle of the night will be between middleweight champion Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson for their second head-to-head battle. Bisping topped Luke Rockhold for the title June 4 at UFC 199, avenging an earlier loss to the Californian. Now, he looks to avenge an earlier loss in his career to Henderson, who won by KO/TKO in the second round back at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009. The second fight has been a long time coming, and will be one of the most highly-anticipated on the card.
That’s just one of many attractive fights on a card chock full of action. Middleweights Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi is a battle between two veterans which should be very entertaining. Heavyweights Stefan Struve and Daniel Omielanczuk also do battle in the octagon, and it’s always amazing to see how the 7-foot tall Struve maintains his balance and wraps up his opponents. Former University of Tennessee linebacker Ovince Saint Preux is also back in action, looking to put away Jimi Manuwa early. The best bout of the night might be between Mike Perry and Danny Roberts, and Vegas agrees with Roberts as the smallest favorite of the night at -140.
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Michael Bisping ($9,100 vs. Dan Henderson): Bisping gets his chance at revenge against ‘Hendo’, and he gets him at home in front of a raucous crowd. Not that Bisping needs any more incentive or motivation. He enters this bout with a perfect 17-0 record in his native England, last fighting there at UFC Fight Night on Feb. 27 when he pushed aside Anderson Silva by unanimous decision. Bisping has posted 19 takedowns landed in his career, eighth among middleweights, and he ranks second in significant strike defense in his weight class. The veteran will land plenty of accurate strikes, a takedown or two and, more importantly, a much-anticipated redemption victory.
Adriano Martins ($8,600 vs. Leonardo Santos): Martins rolls in on a three-bout win streak, and two of those victories have come via KO/TKO. His only loss over his past 10 fights dating back to July 30, 2011 was a KO/TKO loss to Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC on FOX 10, certainly nothing to be ashamed about. The only worry about Martins is rust, as he hasn’t fought in over a year since a KO/TKO in Round 1 against Islam Makhachev at UFC 192. If Martins can avoid going to the mat, where Santos would have the best possibility for a win, he will get by. Martins is the better boxer, and he has an advantage with the kicks, too. Santos is a couple of years older, and much slower than his Brazilians counterpart.
Stefan Struve ($8,500 vs. Daniel Omielanczuk): The 7-foot Dutchman Struve will be facing Omielanczuk, who steps in on short notice after Ruslan Magomedov (illness) was forced to pull out in mid-September. Magomedov is dealing with a staph infection. Struve picked up a 16-second knockout at UFC Fight Night 87 over Antonio Silva, rebounding from a loss to Jared Rosholt at UFC 193. ‘Skyscraper’ has actually dropped three of his past five bouts, falling victim to the knockout. If he can avoid the lucky shot, and manage to get Omielanczuk to the ground, that’s Struve’s best bet. Omielanczuk has struggled against top-notch grapplers, and if Struve gets top position and locks his long arms and legs around Omielanczuk it’s over.
Iuri Alcantara ($8,300 vs. Brad Pickett): Alcantara is 36 years, and therefore he has plenty of experience. He was overmatched against Jimmie Rivera last time out, and is no longer at the top of his game, but he still has plenty left for a guy like Pickett, who always seems to struggle against ranked opponents. Alcantara will look to tenderize Pickett against the fence with punishing knees, and he has a reach advantage to keep Pickett from getting in too close and scoring that lucky shot which has earned him the nickname ‘One Punch’.
Mike Perry ($8,100 vs. Danny Roberts): ‘Platinum’ enters this bout as a slight underdog, and this bout should be one of the best on the card. He is a top-notch striker who is short on experience, but long on power and speed. He made his UFC debut Aug. 20 at UFC 202, knocking out Hyun Gyu Lim. All eight of his fights since turning pro have ended in KO/TKO, with Perry having his arm raised. However, a fight against Roberts is perhaps his biggest test. Roberts has won seven straight dating back to 2010, and he is an outstanding striker with a top ground game, too. Still, you have to love Perry’s upside as a short ‘dog (+110) since he has never lost, been submitted or even had a fight go to the judges. This one should be a bloody, punch-filled affair.
Damian Stasiak ($7,400 vs. Davey Grant): Stasiak rebounded at UFC Fight Night April 10 with a rear-naked choke and win over Filip Pejic, his first since making his UFC debut in a loss April 11 against Yaotzin Meza. The rear-naked choke if Stasiak’s go-to move, and six of his 10 victories since turning pro have coming via submission. He is an outstanding grappler who will give the powerful Grant all he can handle. Stasiak has the most upside among the fighters at this price range, and he could potentially end this one before it gets to the judges for a decision.