Three weeks removed from losing his middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden, Michael Bisping will headline his second UFC event of the month on Saturday and will do so on the opposite side of the globe.
Taking the call to replace the provisionally suspended Anderson Silva, Bisping’s eagerness to remove the bad taste from his mouth of UFC 217 sees the Brit land in China and face off against the talented Kelvin Gastelum.
Outside of the main event, however, this card really isn’t that good and the predictions below will display the apathy towards this card. There’s little in the way of star power, of consequence and even proven skill level as 10 fighters are making their UFC debut in Shanghai but do make sure to look out for the Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Sheymon Moraes match-up on the preliminary card which promises to see two fighters with huge potential lock horns.
Michael Bisping (30-8) vs Kelvin Gastelum (13-3, 1 NC)
With a full fight camp and without the wear and tear of a punishing three-round fight earlier this month, Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum would be a very exciting prospect.
Unfortunately, Bisping has already fought this month and was finished inside the distance in doing so.
In Kelvin Gastelum, the 26-year-old has big power which has transitioned well into his move to middleweight and he has an excellent wrestling base that has nullified the likes of Tim Kennedy in the past.
Bisping to his credit, is incredibly hard to keep grounded as Georges St-Pierre found out at UFC 217 and his cardio is amongst the best in the history of the sport and that will keep Gastelum working if nothing else.
With all things considered though, picking Michael Bisping in this bout is a tough ask. Gastelum has an excellent jab at his disposal and the former champion had fits with that strike against GSP. Add in the lack of recovery time and lack of a full fight camp and the odds continue to stack up against Bisping.
Pick: Kelvin Gastelum
Li Jingliang (13-4) vs Zak Ottow (15-4)
Jinliang hits hard and is eager to show it off. He can be reckless with his shot selection but the Chinese fighter is a tough fighter to beat.
Ottow is the king of a tight and unspectacular bout but with Jingliang standing opposite, I can’t see Ottow slowing the pace to his style.
Pick: Li Jingliang
Wang Guan (16-1-1) vs Alex Caceres (13-10, 1 NC)
Alex Caceres is consistently his own worst enemy in the cage.
If he keeps disciplined with his kicks and resets into correct positions, he should see out a fighter who has never faced anywhere near top class opposition.
Guan is a finisher however with 12 out of his 16 wins finishing early so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him crack Caceres’ faulty defence.
Pick: Alex Caceres
Muslim Salikhov (12-1) vs Alex Garcia (14-4)
Salikhov loves to spin and who doesn’t love a fighter who throws spinning attacks?
Pick: Muslim Salikhov
(Last Predictions: 4/6, Total: 95/155, 61% Success Rate)
(2016: 61% Success Rate)