UFC Fight Night 122 - Main Card Breakdown
Date: Saturday 25th November, 12pm (UK)
Location: Shanghai, China
Venue: Mercedes Benz Arena
Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum
21 days from the biggest fight of his life, the biggest card of the year and a crushing defeat in which he lost his middleweight championship – Michael Bisping is preparing for another fight on the other side of the world against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122.
The man is a true warrior and has stepped in as a replacement for Anderson Silva who got pulled from the card after being flagged for a potential doping violation. It is impossible to comprehend the emotional toll for Bisping after UFC 217 and to respond by starting another training camp deserves respect and takes courage, especially when taking on another legitimate middleweight contender.
Gastelum moved up to middleweight after struggling with the 170 lb limit at welterweight and although he is undersized for the division, he has displayed abilities that can trouble any opponent on his day. As a middleweight he beat the brakes off Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort but was submitted by Chris Weidman – one of the best wrestlers in the UFC who possesses the power of a light heavyweight, so that was really a mismatch.
This fight, however, should create fireworks. They are both phenomenal strikers with relentless outputs and that is why their ‘significant strikes landed per minute’ is highlighted as the key stat. The stand-up battle between Bisping’s technical onslaught of attacks and Gastelum’s hand speed and combinations will be absolutely fascinating. See below for the statistical breakdown:
Li Jingliang vs Zak Ottow
Li Jingliang makes his 11th professional appearance in China on Saturday 25th November but this will be his home debut fighting for the UFC. It has been a long time coming with seven UFC fights to his name and the Chinese fans will be just as excited as him as he takes on Zak Ottow in Shanghai.
Ottow makes his first appearance in China for a very compelling match-up as they are both extremely well-rounded with similar skillsets. They are both well versed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, strong wrestlers and great strikers.
When opponents are as evenly matched as this it isn’t rare for the fight to end in a decision but the key stat highlighted is the amount submission finishes they have. They have earned a healthy 15 between them but the American boasts 10 of these, leveraged on his foundation of wrestling. This fight really could go anywhere but Jingliang has got to be wary of Ottow’s ever-improving Jiu-Jitsu. See below for the statistical breakdown.
Wang Guan vs Alex Caceres
Wang Guan makes his UFC debut in his home country and has earned the chance after an impressive string of performances – winning his last seven with five of them coming via a finish. He will be very grateful to make his entrance in China which will be his 19th appearance there and many believe this fight will be a slobber knocker.
Both fighters are very exciting and relish a stand-up war. Alex Careres has struggled against very talented fighters in his UFC career but is coming off a superb TKO victory over Rolando Dy.
The record of Caceres will excite Guan as although he has fought stellar competition, he has lost in numerous ways, giving Guan various opportunities to prepare for. Whether he can exploit these opportunities is a different matter as it remains to be seen if the UFC debutant can match up to the opponents Caceres has fought. See below for the statistical breakdown:
Muslim Salikhov vs Alex Garcia
Many fans have been desperate to see Muslim Salikhov in the UFC and his chance has finally come as he meets Alex Garcia to kick off the main card in Shanghai. Salikhov is a world champion in Sanshou which is the art of Chinese kickboxing and has amassed a breathtaking Kickboxing record of 185-13-1.
The Russian just loves to fight; whilst remaining active on the Kickboxing circuit he has been competing in MMA since 2011 with great success, only losing once which came in his third fight. His pedigree has transitioned majestically over to MMA with 10 spectacular knockouts in his 12 wins and hopes to add an eleventh with the scalp of Garcia.
The Dominican Republic native is a significant step-up in competition and although he is not in the same league as Salikhov in terms of striking ability, he is very well-rounded and his vast MMA experience competing with UFC calibre fighters for nearly four years will give him confidence against the promotional newcomer.
The key stat in the statistical breakdown is Salikhov’s form as the Russian has not only won his last 10 fights, he has blasted through his opponents, whereas Garcia has suffered his first three professional losses in his last five fights.