UFC Fight Night 122 tips: Best bets for Bisping v Gastelum
We make our pick for the main event in Shanghai, as Manchester's former middleweight champion of the world returns to the Octagon.
Michael Bisping v Kelvin Gastelum
No one can question Michael Bisping’s heart.
That the Englishman is even fighting in the main event in Shanghai, just three weeks after being choked out by Georges St-Pierre, is incredible.
Ultimately, though, the difficulty in taking two tough fights in such quick succession will be very clear, as the 26-year-old Gastelum will use his superior handspeed to dominate on the feet.
The American isn’t the kind of fighter who will gas out in the late stages, and proved in a March knockout win over Vitor Belfort – which became a no-contest when Gastelum tested positive for marijuana – that he has the power to go along with his boxing skills.
Bisping’s stamina is perhaps the best in the division, and it’s worth backing this fight to go beyond the second round at .
But Gastelum is a dangerous all-round fighter, and he should earn a points victory and prove that the former middleweight champion has made a mistake jumping back in so soon.
Zak Ottow v Li Jingliang
Fighting in his home country for the first time in the UFC, Li has the chance to earn the biggest win of his career against submission specialist Ottow.
Li is a powerful striker with 12 wins and four defeats on his professional record, and he’s won five of his seven UFC bouts, including his last three.
He will have to be wary of being taken down by Ottow, who’s ended 15 of his wins to date by submission and has lost just one of his last seven fights.
But the Chinese striker’s takedown defence is good enough to stifle the American’s wrestling, and he should manage to land one of his big bombs and finish the fight with a knockout, just as he has in three of his last four wins.
Guan Wang v Alex Caceres
Wang is taking a huge step up here in his first UFC appearance by taking on experienced featherweight Caceres.
The American has lost five of his last eight fights, although he has faced some of the best fighters in the lower weight classes, including Urijah Faber, Francisco Rivera and Yair Rodriguez.
He will provide a real test for the 31-year-old Wang, who is an excellent striker with a record of 16 wins, one draw and just one defeat.
The Dongbei Tiger has won by knockout 10 times in his career, and will surely hope to stand throughout this bout, given that he’s fighting a dangerous submission artist.
The chances are, however, that Caceres will use the experience he’s built up in 17 professional fight to pin down Wang, take him to the mat and earn his sixth submission win.
Alex Garcia v Muslim Salikhov
This is clearly the nickname match-up of the night as the Dominican Nightmare takes on the King of Kung Fu.
Garcia has lost three of his last five fights, and now meets one of the welterweight division’s scariest prospects.
Salikhov is making his UFC debut on the back of a 10-fight winning streak that includes eight knockouts, and he’s stopped four of his last five opponents with spinning head kicks.
He holds the clear advantage in terms of striking, and will win this fight if Garcia is unable to take him down and keep him on the mat.
The Dominican 30-year-old has heavy hands and a puncher’s chance on the feet, but the smart money is on Salikhov landing one of his unconventional strikes and ending this fight inside the distance.