When the UFC originally booked UFC Fight Night 84, they had Michael Bisping pitted against Gegard Mousasi as the co-headliner. Three days later, the card got shuffled and not due to an injury, but due to a situation where the perfect bout presented itself. One in which both fighters have been linked for years. A rivalry that we hoped for, that just never came to fruition. However, now we got it, as “The Spider” and “The Count” will finally meet. It’s a fight that’s been long awaited and I think due to timing, is actually closer now than it would of been if it happened years ago. Anderson Silva is no longer the champion, no longer has that unbeatable aura around him and has only fought once since he fractured his leg in December of 2013. Bisping has fought five times since then, amassing a 3-2 record and has rattled off two straight wins. If Bisping manages to beat Anderson Silva, he claims he deserves a title shot. It’s hard to deny that request given how many years and fights he’s had, but it’s no secret that when title eliminators presented itself, he’s always dropped the ball. Anyways, to the PREDICTIONS!
Main Card (4 PM ET/1 PM PT)
Michael Bisping vs. Anderson Silva – As I explained before, I think if this fight happened years ago, Bisping would of gotten starched. However, the timing of the fight and Silva’s layoff is the perfect storm for this to be competitive. BUT, unless Bisping plans on surprising us and takes down Silva, I can’t see him winning. I think Silva is definitely better on the feet than Bisping and has more of an ability to finish his opponent. Bisping is gritty fighter that punches in volume and rarely uses his grappling, which I don’t think is the recipe to beat an Anderson Silva whom seems reinvigorated. So, I got Anderson Silva via late stoppage.
Thales Leites vs. Gegard Mousasi – This is a great fight and very important for both, as they look to get back in the win column and avoid losing two straight. Leites will look to impose his superior grappling on Mousasi and stifle him on the ground, where he probably prefers this fight. Mousasi will try to keep this one on the feet and pick Leites apart, which I think he’ll have success in. Mousasi is just too well rounded and technical on the feet, that I see him having his way with Leites in route to a decision victory.
Tom Breese vs. Keita Nakamura – Nakamura might have fourty professional fights to his name, which experience wise is tremendous. However, Breese is the new wave of mixed martial artist coming in and I fully expect him to finish what Li Jiangliang couldn’t do. Breese via first round knockout.
Brad Pickett vs. Francisco Rivera – Brad Pickett got a raw deal when Henry Briones pulled out of the fight via injury. It was a winnable fight, especially for a aging fighter on a three fight losing streak. The replacement, one of the hardest punchers in the bantamweight division in Francisco Rivera. With Pickett’s once elite chin withering away, I’m going to side with Rivera via KO.
Preliminary Card (12:45 PM ET/9:45 AM PT)
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Mike Wilkinson – Wilkinson is tough guy and from what I’ve seen, he’s got some power and is durable. BUT, this seems like a fight I’d like to call “A Sacrafice”. One in which Wilkinson has played spoiler to in the past, defeating a young prospect in Niklas Backstrom. However, with Amirkhani training at SBG, I can’t see how he doesn’t complete the sacrafice. I think he finishes Wilkinson via submission at some point.
David Grant vs. Marlon Vera – Both men competed in different seasons of TUF and I liked more of what I saw from Grant. He’s had a bit of a layoff, but from what I recall, he’s a good grappler that is always looking for the submission. So, I think Grant makes a successful return and finishes Vera.
Scott Askham vs. Chris Dempsey – Dempsey surprised me when he beat Eddie Gordon, but this is a tall task (literally) . Askham will have a good sized height advantage and I fully expect him to get that thai clinch and knee away at Dempsey until he breaks. I like Askham’s style and I hope he can avoid being smothered because he’s an exciting striker. Askham via KO.
Arnold Allen vs. Yaotzin Meza – I’ve never been really impressed by Meza. I respect his abilities, but if he can’t take the fight to the ground, standing up becomes a liability. One in which I expect Allen to take advantage of in route to a decision victory.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Bradley Scott – Good fight, but I’m siding with Jotko. He’s impressed me with ability to keep his pace late in the fight and that’s what’s been helping him win. I got Jotko via decision.
Rustam Khabilov vs. Norman Parke – Khabilov all day here. While he hasn’t been the guy I thought he’d be after his savage slams on Vinc Pinchel, I still have hope. Parke is good fighter that I think is limited in terms of progression. I haven’t seen him beat anyone really good, as he always falters against mid tier fighters basically. He’s well rounded, but doesn’t scare you in any aspect. With that said, Khabilov plays it safe, but gets the decision victory.
Jarjis Danho vs. Daniel Omielanczuk – I have no idea who Danho is, so I’m going to side with Omielanczuk.
Thibault Gouti vs. Teemu Packalen – O great, now it’s two guys I have no idea about. The coin flip goes to Teemu Packalen, based on his first name reminding me of the NHL great Teemu Selanne.
Martin Svensson vs. David Teymur – This is depressing, as I kind of know Svensson and definitely not the other guy. So….I’m going with Svensson.