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UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Gastelum - Nov 25


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Saturday 25th November the UFC is in Shanghai, China. The first ever UFC event in Mainland China. 


Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum 

Li Jingliang vs Zak Ottow 

Alex Caceres vs Wang Guan

Alex Garcia vs Muslim Salikhov 


Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Sheymon Moraes

Bobby Nash vs Kenan Song

Kailin Curran vs Yan Xiaonan

Yadong Song vs Bharat Khandare

Chase Sherman vs Shamil Abdurakhimov 

Gina Mazany vs Yanan Wu

Rolando Dy vs Wu Lijiburen

Cyril Asker vs Yaozong Hu


Bout order is probably off, I've guessed it for now I'll change it when it's official. Kind of a thin looking card, as some of these international UFCs tend to be, but I really like that main event and there's some stuff that's well worth tuning in for elsewhere on the card as well. 



Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum has been cobbled together at the eleventh hour to headline this one. Originally supposed to be Anderson Silva vs Gastelum but Anderson's gone and got himself caught by USADA again. This is nuts really. Bisping's literally just fought GSP last weekend. A fight in which he was cut up, rocked and knocked down and choked unconscious. And here he is back in there 3 weeks later against a young, dangerous fighter who doesn't really offer a great deal for Bisping at this stage of the game. On the one hand you have to respect the sheer tenacity and refusal to go away in Bisping. On the flipside it's actually quite worrying. Before the GSP fight he was on about possibly retiring but he's diving straight back into the shark tank immediately. He knows his body better than anyone else, he must feel good enough or I doubt he'd be jumping back in so soon, but still, it's a bit mad. And you wonder how the UFC can even justify this given he won't have had time to recover and was given a medical suspension. I guess with the card being in China they can dance around the commissions this time but fucking hell. Should be a good fight regardless. 



OK then, Magomedsharipov vs Moraes is my ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. And it's all because of Magomedsharipov. He's Russian, 26 years old with a 13-1 MMA record. Nothing outstanding about that at face value. But he made his UFC debut in September on the Struve vs Volkov undercard in Holland and, well fuck me, it was one of those debuts where you just go 'where did this fucker come from?' He fought Mike Santiago and just made a highlight reel out of him for a round and a bit before putting him away in the second. There's been few UFC debuts that made such an instant impression like this. Some of these spectacular debuts turn out to be the start of something big like McGregor's in 2013 or Anderson's in 2006. Others, like Makwan Amirkhani or Siyar Bahadurzada, start off with a bang but then quickly fizzle out. We'll see with Magomedsharipov. He looked amazing in his debut though so I'm very much looking forward to seeing him again. Needs a good nickname badly though. Fucking Zabit Magomedsharipov, I ask you! 


Chase Sherman vs Shamil Abdurakhimov rep the heavyweights on this one. Could be a lot of fun as well. Sherman had one of my favourite brawls in a while against Rashad Coulter at UFC 211 in May. He won with a KO from an elbow and it got FOTN. Track it down if you missed it. He followed that with a win over Damian Grabowski in July. Can't see him ever being a contender but I quite like the 'Vanilla Gorilla' so far. Abdurakhimov is probably best known for losing to the Black Beast in his last fight. He's decent at best. Wins over Walt Harris, Anthony Hamilton, Sokoudjou and Jeff Monson are his career highlights so far. But as the Beast fight showed, he's not an easy guy to put away. Could be fun. 



Speaking of fun, Alex 'Bruce Leroy' Caceres is in the house. One of my favourite perennial curtain jerkers in the UFC over the years and usually a highlight of any card he's on. He's still only 29. Feels like he's been around forever. He's got a poor 13-10-1 record but I hope they keep him around as he's always good value. 



Alex Garcia vs Muslim Salikhov caught my eye when I looked up this Salikhov bloke. He's 33 years old and 12-1 in MMA. All standard stuff, right? But he's also got a Kickboxing record of 185-13-1!! He's a world champion gold medalist in Wushu Sanda and his nickname is 'King Of Kung Fu'. He's Russian but fights out of Beijing, China so he's going to be a kind of adopted hometown boy on this card. I like him already. Interesting cat. Oh and in his last fight in June he knocked out Melvin Guillard in about 90 seconds with a fucking spinning hook kick! They're not giving him a cakewalk debut. I think Alex Garcia is pretty solid despite his patchy UFC record. But it's one to keep an eye on this. Battle of cool nicknames as well - the 'King Of Kung Fu' vs the 'Dominican Nightmare'. 


Nothing else is really grabbing me on the card but there's enough there to keep me interested and the main event would've sold me anyway. If Anderson Silva is fighting I'm watching. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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It'll be interesting to see if UFC can replace Anderson on this card, or if they pull the event like they did the Phillipines show last year, when BJ Penn dropped out. I don't think they want to make that kind of impression in China though, so I expect someone to be well compensated in order to save the show. 

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Same with the Dos Santos flagging, I do feel a bit bad for the guy, as he's clearly desperate to stay relevant. Obviously, what he's done is wrong and inexcusable, but you can see the motivations behind it, and it's all rather sad. When you consider the Brazilian gyms' mentality towards fighting, with the whole refusing to tap thing, and the "modern-day warrior" mindset, you can see how much pride is tied up in being able to keep fighting. It must have been soul-destroying for Silva to be not only broken by Weidman like that, but also to come back, look like a shadow of his former self, and, with middle age encroaching on his career, know that he'd in all likelihood never get back to those heights again. You can see why he might be driven to do what he's done.

Basically, it feels like he started off wanting to stay relevant, and now he's just looking for a decent goodbye and hasn't been able to get one.

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That's the thing, Bisping's always been a trooper. He's fought all sorts for a good decade in the UFC. Strikers, grapplers, juicers, big names, no names, risky fights, the lot. The only time he's really campaigned and politicked at all as far as picking and choosing fights was after he won the title. He was just using the title to leverage himself that well earned payday. And people forget, GSP was pushing hard for the Bisping fight as well, it wasn't Bisping doing all the chasing. The way he was painted as a coward was bollocks. He might be a gobshite and I can see why some might dislike him but he's no coward or tough fight dodger. 

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Oh, it was never the politicking that was the main issue for me. I might have used it as an easy way to pick on him in recent times, but deep down, I totally understand trying to get yourself the most money after a long career as he nears 40. The main reason I dislike him is that since I first saw him opposite Dan Henderson on TUF, he's seemed like a massive cunt. Being there live for his antics against Jorge Rivera at UFC 127 solidified it for me.

Cunt or not, it takes massive balls to jump in there against Kelvin so soon after losing to GSP. It's high risk with not THAT much reward. Kelvin's a bit below the names I picture Bisping fighting at this stage. So I have to respect that and soften my opinion on him a little.

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