UFC 204 Preview
By Eric Kowal, RCM MMA Correspondent & Founder of MyMMANews.com
Breakdown of the UFC 204 Fight Card
Main Card on Pay-Per-View – 10 p.m. EST
In the main event at UFC 204, a rematch between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson headlines the five-fight pay-per-view. It is a rematch from UFC 100 where Henderson who served opposite Bisping as coaches on the Ultimate Fighter, brutally knocked ‘The Count’ out with a highlight reel H-Bomb. Fast forward seven years later and Bisping is now the middleweight champion and Hendo is competing in his last ever mixed martial arts bout. Win or lose Hendo says that he is retiring from the sport after a more than 12 year professional career that includes titles in Pride and Strikeforce. Hendo is one of the most decorated mixed martial artists of all time. Will that be enough however to defeat a surging Bisping who is defending the title for the first time since defeating Luke Rockhold for the belt back in June? The fight takes place literally in Bisping’s backyard in Manchester, England and he will be drawing the strength of tens of thousands of fans who jam pack the Manchester Arena which sold out in a record six-minutes.
PREDICTION: While I personally will be rooting for Henderson to go out with a win and earn that final belt in his legendary career, I think Bisping gets the job done via TKO to retain the title. Dan Henderson is about as American as Apple Pie and baseball and I truly want for him to achieve his dream but I think Bisping is a completely different fighter than the first time they met. You can question whether or not Hendo truly was deserving to be the next in line for a title shot, but the fight is entertaining and makes sense, but unfortunately I see Bisping’s hand being raised. I can only hope however that even though Bisping wants revenge, he do the honorable thing, raise Hendo’s hand and congratulate him even in defeat.
A recent poll of MyMMANews fans however leans in favor Henderson to win.
Vitor Belfort vs. Gegard Mousasi is one of those dream matches that you wish would have happened when both fighters were at the top of their division, maybe even back in Pride. Two of the best middleweights of all time will finally go toe-to-toe and what will happen is anyone’s guess really. We have seen both fighters have their ups and downs and at this stage in their careers they each desperately need this win in order to even consider getting back on track toward a title shot. Belfort challenged former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman for the title back in 2015 losing via first round TKO. The Brazilian then bounced back with a quick knockout win over Dan Henderson who coincidentally is fighting for the title in the evening’s main event. Figure that one out. Earlier this year Belfort once again suffered a setback losing at the hands of Jacare Souza. Unless Belfort want to have lost three of his last four, he needs to defeat Mousasi on Saturday night.
Mousasi on the other hand is on a two fight win streak, but he too suffered a loss last year that set him back. Mousasi was upset by Uriah Hall after he had won two fights consecutively.
Belfort is ranked number five and Mousasi is currently ranked number nine. A win for Belfort might not necessarily raise his order in the rankings however because the guys ahead of him also have fights scheduled and or are former champions in the division who have not yet fought since losing their belts. With a win, Mousasi should move up several spots in the rankings, closer to finally getting a UFC title shot.
PREDICTION: Gegard Mousasi TKO victory in Round 2
Ovince Saint Preux (19-8) vs. Jimi Manuwa (15-2)
Coming off a five-round decision loss for interim light heavyweight title fight with Jon Jones likely did a lot for the confidence of Ovince Saint Preux. OSP is currently ranked number five and is a tall lengthy fighter that can often be difficult for fighters to figure out. Manuwa, currently ranked number eight, has explosive power and his only two losses are to two former title contenders in Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson. 13 of his 15 wins have come by either TKO or KO. That’s a huge statistic that OSP needs to be wary of. Manuwa has not fought professionally since September of last year, but he will be fighting in his native country of England. Manuwa needs to get inside of OSP’s reach and use his power to get a first round TKO or KO win, otherwise I can see OSP figuring out how to keep the Englishman at bay.
PREDICTION: Jimi Manuwa via first round TKO
Stefan Struve (27-8) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (19-5-1)
A battle of heavyweights will collide on the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 204 fight card on Saturday. After dealing with health complications, the tallest fight on the UFC roster, Stefan Struve, scored one of the most impressive victories of his career as he knocked out Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in just 16 seconds back in May. Splitting his last five fights with two wins and three losses, Struve looks to get back to back victories for the first time since 2012.
Struve’s opponent, Omielanczuk of Poland is riding a three-fight win streak and has a surprisingly impressive submission game in his arsenal. Of his 19 wins, nine have come by way of submission. IF Omielanczuk can get the fight to the ground and grab one of those long limbs of Struve, he might be able to submit the Dutchman.
PREDICTION: Stefan Struve via TKO – Round 2
Mirsad Bektic (10-0) vs. Russell Doane (14-6)
Opening up the UFC 204 pay-per-view card are undefeated Mirsad Bektic and Hawaii’s Rusell Doane who is currently on a three-fight losing streak with the organization. Doane is third opponent that was scheduled for Bektic for this card. Both Arnold Allen and Jeremy Kennedy each had to pull out of the fight due to injury. Doane desperately needs a win in order to stay employed with the UFC, otherwise he will likely be handed his walking papers.
On paper this is a fight that Bektic can and should win, improving his win streak and undefeated record.
PREDICTION: Mirsad Bektic defeats Russell Doane via TKO – Round 2
Preliminary Bouts on FOX Sports 1 – 8 p.m. EST
Brad Pickett (25-11) vs. Iuri Alcantara (32-7)
After losing three fights in a row “The Pikey,” Brad Pickett was able to earn a split decision victory of Francisco Rivera earlier this year.
Although Pickett will have the support of his fellow Englishmen behind him, Braziil’s Alcantara should be able to get the job done. Alcantara’s only recent losses have been when taking opponents to deeper waters losing only by way of decision to the likes of Urijah Faber, Jimmie Rivera, and Frankie Saenz.
PREDICTION: Iuri Alcantara frustrates Brad Pickett and earns unanimous decision victory.
Ian Entwistle (9-3) vs. Rob Font (12-2)
Ian Entwistle, another fighter representing his home country of England takes on Boston’s Rob Font. Entwistle has been struggling in the UFC, losing two of his three fights there via first round TKO, while Font only has one blemish on his UFC record, a decision loss to John Lineker who is arguably one of the next in line for a bantamweight title shot.
PREDICTION: Rob Font defeats Ian Entwistle via TKO in Round 1
Davey Grant (10-2) vs. Damian Stasiak (9-3)
“Dangerous” Davey Grant, fought all 10 of his professional mixed martial arts bouts in England before he landed on the Ultimate Fighter Season 18, so he should feel right at home. Grant lost to Chris Holdsworth in the Finale of his season back in 2013. Since that time, he only fought once more, win over Marlon Vera earlier this year.
His opponent, Damian Stasiak of Poland, holds an equal UFC record of 1-1. Both fighters have won the majority of their fights via submission. This should be a fairly evenly matched contest.
PREDICTION: Davey Grant via split decision
Leon Edwards (11-3) vs. Albert Tumenov (17-3)
A Veteran of five UFC fights, England’s Leon Edwards faces his toughest challenge yet when he goes up against Russia’s Albert Tumenov. Tumenov holds UFC wins over Lorenz Larkin and Alan Jouban, part of a five-fight win streak in the organization. His last bout was a submission loss to Gunnar Nelson. I see this as a fight where Tumenov gets Edwards to the ground and uses wrestling and sheer power to keep him there where he manages to earn a unanimous decision victory. Tumenov is just too big and strong and has the advantage on the ground.
PREDICTION: Albert Tumenov via unanimous decision
Preliminary Bouts on UFC Fight Pass – 6:30 p.m. EST
Danny Roberts (13-1) vs. Mike Perry (8-0)
Undefeated at 8-0, Mike Perry is coming into the UFC octagon on Saturday night looking to continue to coast off his UFC 202 TKO win over Hyun Gyu Lim, and make quick work of England’s Danny Roberts who is also on an incredible streak of his own.
This is one of those fights where a prediction really is a shot in the dark as there is no clear cut favorite to win. It really is a toss-up but if it goes to the judges I expect Danny Roberts to pull out the decision.
PREDICTION: Danny Roberts via split decision
Leonardo Santos (15-3-1) vs. Adriano Martins (28-7)
Entering his sixth UFC bout, Brazil’s Leonardo Santos takes on fellow Brazilian Adriano Martins who too will be making his sixth octagon appearance. Both fighters have four wins with the organization. Martins suffered one loss to Donald Cerrone before Cowboy make the switch to welterweight, and Santos drew a draw with Norman Parke. Both fighters have high finishing percentages. Santos has more submission victories than TKO’s, while Martins has more TKO’s than submissions. This is another very difficult fight to predict, but I feel Martins might have the slight edge since the fight starts standing on the feet.
PREDICTION: Adriano Martins via TKO – Round 3
Lukasz Sajewski (13-2) vs. Marc Diakiese (9-0)
Poland’s Lukasz Sajewski enters his UFC 204 bout with undefeated Marc Diakiese while maintaining a 75 percent takedown defense average. Both of his losses however have come inside the UFC octagon, a submission loss to Gilbert Burns and a decision loss to Nick Hein. Diakiese will be making his UFC debut and looking to take his undefeated streak into double digits.
PREDICTION: Marc Diakiese via TKO – Round 2
UFC 204 takes place Saturday, October 8 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
UFC 204 Fight Card
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Jimi Manuwa
Stefan Struve vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
Mirsad Bektic vs. Russell Doane
Brad Pickett vs. Iuri Alcantara
Ian Entwistle vs. Rob Font
Davey Grant vs. Damian Stasiak
Leon Edwards vs. Albert Tumenov
Danny Roberts vs. Mike Perry
Leonardo Santos vs. Adriano Martins
Lukasz Sajewski vs. Marc Diakiese
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