Saturday, 8 October 2016

UFC 204 picks

The UFC hits Manchester tonight though don't tell Sergei Rafalov that. Says Rafalov, the CEO of Ukrainian football club Zorya Luhansk, "Manchester is a dirty city, full of drunks and men kissing in the street". The first part of that sentence is pretty rich coming from someone fighting (with their words at least) out of the former Soviet Union but by the time the main event kicks off at UFC 204, even the drunks and the possibly effeminate blokes will have cleared off back inside because the start times for the fights have not been adjusted for local time. For some inexplicable reason, they've decided to cater first to the PPV audience back home in America which is baffling because this card is completely devoid of draws and I would be shocked if it got to 250k buys. Perplexing decisions by the UFC are par for the course at this point though. More on that next month.

Picks after the jump.

[C} Michael Bisping vs [13] Dan Henderson

I've been highly critical of Tyron Woodley and Conor McGregor attempting to and in one case successfully avoid the number one contenders in their respective divisions but I'm willing to let Bisping slide on that charge just because he is a fellow Manchester United fan. With that said, the only reason this fight is happening is because of what happened at UFC 100. That was seven years ago and Dan Henderson is a significantly different fighter now.

Not enough is made of the fact that Henderson was one of the most notable TRT abusers. While Vitor Belfort is regularly and deservedly slammed retrospectively for his use of TRT, Henderson is still revered and held aloft as a legend. Bisping called him a "marvel of modern science" and his results since coming off are the proof. He was very lucky to escape his bout with Hector Lombard with a win and has no business being a title fight.

That said of course, Bisping was somewhat lucky himself, first in surviving getting knocked out by Anderson Silva and then getting a title shot on emergency notice against a lackadaisical Luke Rockhold. The difference between these two is lesser than you might usually think and Henderson at +215 on 5Dimes is intriguing. But let's hope that doesn't happen, we really don't need more of this in the world -->

[5] Vitor Belfort vs [9] Gegard Mousasi

There's not much to say about this fight. Belfort is not the same guy since he was forced to stop cheating and Mousasi is a very dangerous guy. I expect Mousasi to batter and finish him within two rounds. No point in betting it.

[5] Ovince Saint Preux vs [9] Jimi Manuwa

Proof of how the "light" got into in "Light Heavyweight" is that two so unmemorable fighters can be ranked in the top ten. Both were outclassed by their distaff counterparts in their last fights, the heavy hitting Manuwa KO'd by Rumble Johnson and athletic former football player dropping a decision to a half-speed Jon Jones. OSP made a decent account of himself in that fight, showing some good presence of mind. However, buoyed by the home crowd I think Manuwa can take this. OSP had his legs battered by Jones and Manuwa can do the same, chipping away at his base then finishing him. Let's go Team GB!

[12] Stefan Struve vs [14] Daniel Omielanczuk

I always give anyone a chance against Stefan Struve, easily one of the most disappointing guys to watch at any time anywhere, but he has at least beaten guys I've heard of before. Omielanczuk had a string of submission finishes on the Eastern European circuit but has failed to achieve the same in six UFC bouts. A striking battle should theoretically favor Struve in an ugly decision.

[15] Mirsad Bektic vs Russell Doane

So you're trying to lure people to the Manchester Arena, get them to stay until 5am and this is on your main card? Oh boy.  Doane is a brother from the islands of Hawaii so I'd like to back him but his UFC record is even less remarkable than Daniel Omielanczuk's. I think Bektic, an active striker, should be able to stay unbeaten without too much trouble. With four straight losses, Doane's future as a UFC fighter would probably be in doubt. That's rough, buddy.

My picks: Bisping, Mousasi, Manuwa, Struve, Bektic

Chris picks: Bipsing, Belfort, Saint Preux, Omielanczuk, Bektic

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