Tonight, in Manchester England, history will be made, one way or another. UFC 204 is a firecracker of a card, and the main event is a hot bit of revenge that will see Michael Bisping defend his title or Dan Henderson take it away from him. It’s the very definition of “Must See TV,” and will likely set attendance records.
It will also mark the last chapter in an illustrious career for Dan Henderson, as he’ll be retiring tonight, win or lose. Ahead of this nostalgic card, I’ve selected some fights that represent the best underdog action. Check out who could be a points windfall for your fantasy teams.
Michael Bisping $9100 / Dan Henderson $7100
Michael Bisping is the younger, more technical striker here. He uses his jab well, has great footwork, and has learned to really sit down on his punches to make them count. With the advancements in his striking, he’s also become very brave, choosing to stand in the pocket and throw strike for strike. This is something you just don’t want to do with Henderson.
Dan is the more shopworn of the two, but he’s got a few things going for him here. First and foremost, incredible power in that torpedo of a right he swings mightily, oft times to the detriment of whomever happens to be silly enough to get caught by it. Second, he has impeccable timing, and knows exactly when someone is in range. He’s not springy and bouncy, choosing instead to march forward, swinging for the fences, but he’s ever watchful, and when opportunity presents itself in the form of an exposed chin, he’s right there to tattoo a big “H” on it. Third, he’s got the supreme confidence that comes with knowing he’s already cleaned Bisping’s clock once, and that is worth its weight in gold.
Finally, and this one may be the most important of all — he’s got nothing to lose. He’s stated numerous times in the lead-up to this bout that he’ll be retiring afterwards, win or lose. When you have everything to gain with a belt up for grabs, and you’re a living, breathing legend with a storied career that’s already being immortalized with documentaries, feature articles and the like, you can do no wrong. Confidence might be worth its weight in gold, but the knowledge that he can literally have any outcome in the Octagon tonight, and still leave a legend, is worth its weight in every single precious metal.
Dan Henderson via TKO
Ovince Saint Preux $8,400 / Jimi Manuwa $7,800
OSP is a strong, capable wrestler with legitimate power. Overall, he’s the better athlete. So, why did I pick Manuwa? Manuwa has power, also, but it’s more in his kicking game. He’s a good striker, but hasn’t demonstrated real knockout power in his past performances. He does have good boxing fundamentals, and that’s where I feel he has the edge. If he keeps this fight standing, and picks Saint Preux apart from the outside with his kicks and range striking, I think he’ll be able to get the decision here.
Jimi Manuwa via Decision
Iuri Alcantara $8,300 / Brad Pickett $7,900
Alcantara and Pickett are both in the twilight years of their careers, so this is a really good match-up to possibly determine who gets to stay on the roster. Iuri is an excellent grappler with a bucket full of submissions in his 13-year career. He’s got a significant size advantage, which is a great setup for range striking and high kicks.
Here’s why Pickett is a good choice in this particular match-up: his ground game is severely underrated and he’s incredibly durable. You can see Brad swinging for the fences from the first bell to the last, and he is really, really good at stealing rounds in the last 60 seconds. He’s also got the mental advantage of fighting in his home country, and for some, that makes all the difference in the world.
Brad Pickett via Decision
Davey Grant $8,800 / Damian Stasiak $7,400
Davey Grant is a great offensive fighter with decent power and tons of volume output. He’s defensively porous, though, and often leaves his back exposed. Stasiak is a grinder, and while he’s not likely to best Grant in the stand-up, he can absolutely get the job done on the ground. He’s submitted 6 opponents from his 9 wins, and 5 of them have been via RNC. For Grant, that could spell doom.
Damian Stasiak via Submission
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