England’s first ever UFC Champion, Michael Bisping, will make his homecoming this weekend as he defends his Middleweight title for the first time against UFC veteran Dan Henderson. The Manchester Arena will be the host of this battle between two of MMA’s most renowned fighters.
It is set to be a sell out crowd, with all the tickets for the event gone within 6 minutes of going on sale. With the card starting at 11pm local time to coincide with the US viewers, which had left many UK fans unhappy with such a late time. The Main card will start at 3am with Bisping Title fight starting around 5am.
Bisping is enjoying a renaissance in his career, hitting arguably his best form ever, coming off a 4 win streak, which saw him take the belt from Luke Rockhold against the odds at UFC199 in LA back in June. He also defeated the ‘greatest of all time’ Anderson Silva on his way, with a decision victory at the O2 in London in February.
For the challenger, Dan Henderson, this could be his last fight. At 46, he’s said in the build up to the fight, that “this will be the last fight for me, win or lose”. He is seen as a pioneer of the sport, his first fight for the promotion was at UFC17. Before becoming a two time PRIDE champion, and also taking the Strikeforce belt in 2011. So to bow out as a UFC champion could be the perfect ending for Henderson.
The two do have previous, with a meeting at UFC100. Henderson came out winner that night, with a second round knockout of Bisping, which was seen as KO of the year in 2009. Bisping hopes to claim revenge this time out at 204 as he did over Rockhold who had beaten him previous to UFC199.
Beyond the Main Event, the card showcases more of the UK’s ever increasing talent inside the octagon. With Jimi Manuwa fighting Ovince St Preux who last took Jon Jones to a decision at UFC197. Also, another stalwart of UK MMA Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett will headline the undercard against Iuri Alcantara. Another, fight that is likely to be an explosive affair will be the UFC Fight Pass Prelim headliner between the England’s highly rated prospect Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts and the controversial figure of Mike Perry.
Gegard Mousasi also squares off against the long serving Vitor Belfort in the Co Main Event as Dutchman, Mousasi will be aiming to get back near the top of the rankings in the middleweight division but is worried that a win over Belfort, who is believed to be past his best, might not be enough to propel his as far up the table as he would’ve liked.
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson
Vitor Belfort vs. Gegard Mousasi
Jimi Manuwa vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Stefan Struve
Mirsad Bektic vs Russell Doane
Iuri Alcantara vs. Brad Pickett
Ian Entwistle vs. Rob Font
Davey Grant vs. Damian Stasiak
Leon Edwards vs. Albert Tumenov
Fight Pass Prelims:
Danny Roberts vs. Mike Perry
Adriano Martins vs. Leonardo Santos
Marc Diakese vs. Lukasz Sajewski