UFC Fight Night 84 Preview and Predictions
By Kaiana Miller
2/22/2016, 3:41 p.m.
Tweet to: @Slickster_Mag
UFC Fight Night 84 takes place in London, England this Saturday. The main card kicks off at 3pm EST here in the United States. Here’s some things to watch as well as predictions for this weekend.
Anderson Silva (-305 favorite) vs Michael Bisping (+250 underdog)
In the main event, all-time great Anderson Silva will face off against England’s own Michael Bisping. Silva is coming off a no-contest after his win against Nick Diaz was overturned when a pre-fight drug test came back positive. Silva has maintained his innocence claiming that the result of the test was due to a pill he took for ‘sexual enhancement’. In the lead up to this fight Bisping has repeatedly brought up Silva’s failed drug test and has accused the legend of cheating throughout his entire career. Silva has not said much regarding this matter other than claiming he has never cheated. Bisping has long asked for this fight and he will get it on Saturday.
Stylistically, this fight greatly favors Anderson Silva. ‘The Spider’ is an elite counter striker, preferring opponents who engage first. When this happens, Silva utilizes great head movement to avoid the strikes and immediately fires back with lightning quick punches and kicks. The clinch is also a strong position for Silva as was showcased in his two fights with Rich Franklin. When Silva gets the muay-thai plum clinch against opponents he can unleash lethal fight-ending knees. Silva’s ground game includes a black belt in Brazilian-jiujitsu, although that is a side we rarely get to see. The one thing that Silva has shown weakness to is strong wrestling, losing twice to former All-American wrestler Chris Weidman and being thoroughly dominated by Chael Sonnen for 4 rounds before securing a miracle triangle choke in the final frame.
Michael Bisping is not an elite wrestler. Although he has won 15 times by KO or TKO in his career, Bisping has never been known for his power. ‘The Count’ prefers to overwhelm his competition with punches until they eventually break. Bisping has often done better when he is the person throwing punches first. His technical boxing is fantastic and he has added a decent kicking game in recent fights. Bisping has never been a wrestler, but can shoot a solid reactionary double leg when his opponents get over-aggressive. When on top, Bisping does not look to improve position, looking instead to land some ground and pound until the fight gets back to the feet.
Both men prefer a standing fight, and that is exactly what to expect. Silva will do what he has always done and sit back and look to counter. Expect Bisping to land a couple of early punches until Silva finds his rhythm. Bisping’s lack of knockout power could prove to be a problem in this fight. This one is scheduled to go five rounds which could favor the high-volume striker in Michael Bisping. However, without any real threat of a takedown Silva should be able to wait for Bisping to get over aggressive before he rocks him with counter punches. Silva wins by TKO in the third round as Bisping struggles to land anything of significance.
Gegard Mousasi (-325 favorite) vs Thales Leites (+250 underdog)
In the co-main event of the evening, 43 fight veteran Gegard Mousasi draws Brazilian submission specialist Thales Leites. Both men are coming off of losses, Mousasi to Uriah Hall last September and Leites to Bisping in July.
Mousasi is a huge favorite here and for good reasons. He is good everywhere; striking, grappling, and in the clinch. He is 9-3-1 in is last 13 fights. What Mousasi lacks in aggression he more than makes up for in technical expertise. On the feet Mousasi has excellent kickboxing, throwing kicks from range and short punches and elbows when the spacing narrows.
On the ground Mousasi is smothering, giving his opponent very little room to operate. He likes to soften up the competition with ground and pound before fishing for submissions. His defense both on the ground an
d on the feet is much like his offense, technical. Mousasi is a low-risk, high IQ fighter. One thing that Mousasi has had trouble with in the past is unpredictable opponents. Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall were both able to remain unpredictable in route to wins over Mousasi.
Leites is much more of a one-sided fighter. He throws long, powerful, and often wild punches in an effort to set up shots. His shots are quick and he often finishes them by turning the corner once he has a hold of his opponent. He is also capable of tripping his opponent to the ground from the clinch. Once on the ground, Leites is very dangerous whether he is on top or on bottom. He often risks losing position to go for the submission. 14 of his 25 wins have come by way of submission and this is definitely where he is most comfortable. Leites has shown to be very hittable on the feet but he has never lost by KO or TKO in a 30 fight career thus far.
If he can get the fight to the ground, Leites has a chance against anybody including Mousasi. However, Mousasi’s technical prowess will be too much for Leites to overcome in this one. Barring the off chance that Leites lands a wild punch that floors Mousasi, ‘The Dream Catcher’ should be able to keep this one standing and pick his opponent apart from range. Mousasi by decision is the pick.
Rustam Khabilov (-270 favorite) vs Norman Parke (+210 underdog)
Russia’s Khabilov meets Ireland’s Norman Parke in a battle of grapplers. Khabilov is a former Sambo world champion and thus far his abilities have transferred quite nicely to MMA as he has won 17 of his 20 career fights. Norman Parke won 12 of his first 16 fights via submission, but has no submission wins in his last 5 triumphs.
Khabilov’s top control is outstanding. Although not fan friendly style, Khabilov risks little when the fight goes to the ground. Expect him to take Parke down early and often. Once there, Khabilov will land enough ground and pound over 15 minutes to win a judges’ decision.
Tom Breese (-950 favorite) vs Keita Nakamura (+575 underdog)
Undefeated welterweight prospect Tom Breese meets Japanese veteran Keita Nakamura in a litmus test of sorts. All 9 of Breese’s MMA bouts have ended by stoppage, including two first round stoppages in his first two UFC fights. His aggressive kickboxing puts pressure on his opponents early on. When Breese hurts his opponent, he recognizes it and hunts for the finish. Nakamura has seen a career revival as of late, losing only 1 of his last 12 bouts. The veteran last competed in September winning by submission against Jingliang Li.
Nakamura’s feel good story will end here. Breese will catch the Japanese fighter early in the first round and will finish him in front of his home crowd. Breese by TKO in the first round.