UFC Fight Night 122 in China on Saturday has a marquee matchup, as former middleweight champion Michael Bisping takes on Kelvin Gastelum. If it seems like we just saw Bisping in action, we did, as he lost to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217. He will be fighting for the second time this month, something we almost never see in the UFC. And he will be taking on a very tough opponent in Gastelum who is 13-3-1 in his career. Let’s look at UFC Fight Night 122 with a focus on Bisping vs. Gastelum.
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Kelvin Gastelum -250 vs. Michael Bisping
Gastelum is getting a ton of respect from the oddsmakers, as he is more than a 2-1 favorite against Bisping. It may be too much respect, as Bisping is an excellent fighter who was the middleweight champion before losing a tough fight against St-Pierre. Bisping said that he didn’t fight that great against St-Pierre and he wanted to get back into action quickly. “I didn’t feel like I fought to the best of my ability [at UFC 217], so that’s why I’m getting back in there so quickly. I’ve done this my entire life. I’ve been a martial artist since I was eight years old.” Bisping said on the media call for UFC Fight Night 122. “But realistically, I don’t see how I could have turned this down. I honestly think this is a win-win situation for me. I get to go out there and get back in the win column. Put on a great fight, remind the world what I’m capable of and I get paid again. It’s all positive from my perspective.”
Bisping said that he is ready to fight on short notice. “I’m cleared medically,” he said. “Obviously [at UFC 217] it didn’t go my way. I’d like to get straight back on the horse and get back in the win column. Physically, I’m totally fine. But mentally of course I’m a little bit down. I want to rectify that and exorcise my demons. The best way to do that — I’m a professional fighter — is get back in the ring and fight.”
Bisping’s striking coach Jason Parillo said to ESPN that Gastelum is a tougher opponent than St-Pierre. “Really, Kelvin is, in my opinion, on the feet, a tougher fight than Georges St-Pierre,” said Parillo. “It’s not like Mike’s a guy that shoots and wrestles all the time so obviously it’s gonna be a lot of stand up fighting and this guy’s a bigger threat than I think that even Georges was.”
Gastelum is coming off a submission loss against Chris Weidman in July. Gastelum is 13-3-1 in his career and he had won three straight fights before the loss to Weidman, although his win against Vitor Belfort was turned into a no-contest.
When was the last time a UFC Fight Night card had a main event this good? This might be the best matchup that a UFC Fight Pass card has ever had. Bisping is an excellent fighter who is a former champion and Gastelum is extremely tough. I am surprised at the odds on this fight, as I can’t see Gastelum being a big favorite. I think Bisping is definitely worth a play at this price. I also think the rounds are worth taking under the total, as this should be a striking battle that ends in a knockout one way or another.
UFC Fight Night 122 takes place on Saturday, November 25 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. Because of the time difference, the preliminary card action will begin at 3:45 a.m. Eastern Time, while the main card begins at 7:00 am. There are four fights on the main card on UFC Fight Pass featuring Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum and eight preliminary bouts, also on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Kelvin Gastelum -250 vs. Michael Bisping
Li Jingliang -170 vs. Zak Ottow
Alex Caceres -175 vs. Wang Guan
Muslim Salikhov -180 vs. Alex Garcia
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Sheymon Moraes
Kenan Song vs. Bobby Nash
Kailin Curran vs. Yan Xiaonan
Pingyuan Liu vs. Bharat Khandare
Chase Sherman vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
Yanan Wu vs. Gina Mazany
Wuliji Buren vs. Rolando Dy
Cyril Asker vs. TBA
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