UFC Fight Night 122 Full Fights
On Nov. 4, Michael Bisping was frantically trying to hang on to the UFC’s middleweight title. He failed. Returning star Georges St-Pierre took the Brit’s crown in the third round of their UFC 217 headliner.
On Nov. 11, Bisping was not the champion. Nevertheless, news emerged on that day that another previous champ, Anderson Silva, was popped for a USADA drug-test violation. Just one week after his loss to GSP and simply 2 weeks out from UFC Fight Night 122, Bisping stepped up to change Silva. The dethroned middleweight champ now tries to find redemption when he takes a trip to China to fulfill Kelvin Gastelum in the headliner of the program, which happens at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Nov. 25.
UFC Fight Night 122 is heavy on Chinese fighters. The event is an attempt by the promotion to make inroads into the Asian MMA market. Among the featured Chinese stars, Jingliang Li handles Zak Ottow in a welterweight showdown, Guan Wang draws Alex Caceres for a featherweight clash, and Muslim Salikhov fulfills fellow 170-pounder Alex Garcia. In preliminary-card action, female strawweight Xiaonan Yan takes on Kailin Curran and female bantamweight Yanan Wu locks horns with Gina Mazany. The lineup likewise features featherweight prospects Zabit Magomedsharipov and Sheymon Moraes.
UFC Fight Night 122 begins with a preliminary card on UFC Fight Pass that gets underway in the middle of the night for American fans, at 3:45 a.m. ET. From there, it’s on to the primary card, also on UFC Fight Pass, at 7 a.m. ET. Combat Press writers Zach Aittama and Bryan Henderson sneak peek the occasion in this edition of Toe-to-Toe.
Approximately 3 weeks after dropping his middleweight title to the returning Georges St-Pierre, Michael Bisping will action in to replace Anderson Silva and combat Kelvin Gastelum. Will Bisping redeem himself?
Aittama: Bisping’s huge gamble to get an all-time fantastic backfired when St-Pierre dropped the Englishman and put him to sleep with a slick rear-naked choke in the third round of their championship contest at UFC 217. Bisping had strong minutes throughout the fight, but the previous welterweight kingpin amazed many, including Bisping, with his capability to stick the jab, land his strikes, and take down the larger guy. St-Pierre didn’t appear like a man who had actually been away from the Octagon for four years.
The loss puts Bisping in a precarious position in the twilight of his career. He has mentioned on multiple occasions that he delights in the battle video game and would continue to compete for as long as he was physically able to perform. However, pressure from his family has actually pushed that time table forward for the former middleweight champ. If Bisping would have defeated St-Pierre, it simply may have been the last battle of his career. Now, the Brit has taken an opportunity on simply over two weeks’ notification to try to wash the taste of defeat out of his mouth. This decision extremely well could be an even larger gamble.
Gastelum showed his capability as a fighter before missing weight against Tyron Woodley in his first profession loss. However, the battle did indicate some warnings for the young The Ultimate Fighter winner. The UFC required Gastelum to move up to middleweight, where he got Nate Marquardt. Gastelum hung back down to welterweight to combat Neil Magny and Johny Hendricks, however he missed weight for his scheduled battle versus Donald Cerrone at UFC 205. When again, the UFC nudged Gastelum to go up. This time he embraced the choice. Gastelum moved his training camp to California, and his ability level has continued to improve. Gastelum has gone on to reel off 2 straight wins, including a dominant striking performance against Tim Kennedy and a first-round blockage over Vitor Belfort that was unfortunately reversed since of Gastelum’s favorable test for marijuana. He lost his newest outing against Chris Weidman, though.
This bout will threaten for the former middleweight titleholder Bisping in more methods than one. Gastelum presents some problems for the Brit on the feet. Stylistically, Gastelum is the much faster, more nimble fighter who has the capability to change stances and land his strikes from varying varieties and angles of attack. Gastelum has a stiff jab that has the tendency to be the all-star of his offending attack. He does an excellent job of mixing in his boxing with his difficult kicks to keep his opponents thinking. Gastelum’s ability to scramble in the wrestling and grappling exchanges keeps him out of difficulty if the fight strikes the clinch. Nevertheless, previous middleweight titleholder Weidman was able to exploit his size to wear on Gastelum and snap on the submission.
Bisping will have a size advantage when the fighters enter the Octagon. However, we do not actually know what Bisping’s headspace is like leading into a fight so quickly after he lost his belt. It seems like Bisping jumped on this opportunity without much idea, which might either eventually take all of the pressure off of Bisping or increase the stakes need to he lose back-to-back battles in less than three weeks time. This won’t be the last battle of Bisping’s profession, whether he wins or loses. He will definitely have his hands full with Gastelum on brief notice, but let’s not forget that Bisping won the title on just 2 weeks’ notification.
Gastelum has all of the tools to get another big win on his run toward contention, but expect Bisping to redeem himself in what looks to be his scheduled (at least to this point) final fight in London on March 17, 2018.