Pinche’s Picks: UFC 204

Jeg kan godt lide at feste med min skjorte ud! That’s Danish for “hello fight fans”, I learned that in high school Spanish class. I am back at it again with my picks for UFC 204; the only fight card not to be called “the best fight card ever” in the past 3 months. The event takes place Saturday at The Manchester Arena in The United Kingdom.

Michael Bisping will be making his first title defense against Dan Henderson; this will be Henderson’s last fight. Also fighting on the card, Vitor Belfort, Stefan Struve, and Ovince St Preux. This card is guaranteed to have plenty of action for the Manchester fans, and for the gambling fans. Here is my gift to you, my picks for UFC 204.

-800 Mirsad Bektic (10-0) vs +550 Russell Doane (14-6):
Russell Doane has his hands full with this fight. Not only is Doane on a 3-fight losing streak, he also took the fight with the undefeated Bektic on 5 days notice. Doane’s last fight ended in a submission loss to Pedro Munhoz back in July, and Bektic is coming off of a 2nd round TKO win over Lucas Martins in May. Much respect to Doane for having the courage to take the fight, but Bektic takes this one by decision Saturday night.

-175 Stefan Struve (31-8) vs +155 Daniel Omielanczuk (19-5-1):
Daniel Omielanczuk is currently riding a 3-fight winning streak in the UFC. He last fought Alexey Oleynik back in July, winning by decision, but is now facing an opponent a foot taller than himself. Stefan Struve is stepping back into the octagon after his impressive 16 second KO victory over Bigfoot Silva back in May. Although he’s spent most of the past couple years injured, he seems to be getting back on track to claim his spot in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The biggest advantage here will be Struve’s reach, but I don’t think Struve finishes this one standing. Although Struve hasn’t won by submission in 4 years he still has 16 wins from tapping out his opponents. Saturday, Struve pulls an old rabbit out the hat and submits Omielanczuk.

#5 Ovince Saint Preux (19-8) vs +135 #8 Jimi Manuwa (15-2):
This fight has all the right ingredients for a blood spilling slugfest, with a side of head kick soup. Both fighters are coming off losses and are looking to get back into the win column. Manuwa, who will be fighting in his home country, is coming off of a KO loss to light-heavyweight title contender Anthony Johnson. He is 3-2 in his last 5 fights and has the kind of power in his hands that legends are made of, 13 out of his 15 victories has come by TKO. Saint Preux is coming off of a decision loss to former champ Jon Jones back in April, after taking the fight on short notice. Saint Preux is very athletic and has just as good of stand up as Manuwa, but his ability to control the fight will earn him the win. Saint Preux gets the decision in this fight.

-345 #9 Gerard Mousasi (39-6-2) vs +285 #5 Vitor Belfort (25-12):
This fight was supposed to happen years ago under the Affliction promotion, but Barnett pissed hot, one of their owners is probably about to be our president, and that whole thing just kind of collapsed.

Luckily, at 39 years of age, Belfort still has some fight left in him and would like to bounce back from his TKO loss to Jacarè Souza. Belfort holds wins over top middleweights such as Luke Rockhold and current champion Michael Bisping, but I think we have seen the best of Belfort. Mousasi, on the other hand, is on a 2-fight winning streak and is 4-1 in his last 5 fights. He last fought Thiago Santos in July, winning by TKO and I see the same thing happening here. Mousasi finishes this fight early by TKO.

Middleweight Title -245 Michael Bisping (30-7) vs +205 #13 Dan Henderson (32-14):
The last time these two fought each other, they were both coming off coaching jobs on The Ultimate Fighter and it was 2009; which is around the last time I thought these two would be fighting for the middleweight title, but fighting is a crazy sport and here we are in 2016, ready to watch a 46-year-old Dan Henderson try to take the belt away from a 37-year-old Michael Bisping, in what will be Henderson’s last fight.

We all remember how the last fight ended,with Bisping knocked out on the mat in a weird frog position, while Henderson flew through the air to land one last punch. Henderson showed he still possesses knockout power after knocking out Hector Lombard in his last fight, and Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold in his last outing, as well as scoring a victory over Anderson Silva. I was very happy to see Bisping win the belt, I thought he deserved it after all of his years in the UFC, but I think Henderson deserves it more. He has won belts in Pride and Strikeforce, and will be the first man to hold a title in all three organizations come Saturday. His hands are still heavy and he will connect. Henderson does what Henderson does and wins this one by KO. It might not be pretty but it will happen.

+145 Brad Pickett (26-11) over -165 Iuri Alcantara (32-7)

-325 Rob Font (12-2) over +265 Ian Entwistle (9-3)

-185 Davey Grant (10-2) over +160 Damian Stasiak (9-3)

-265 Albert Tumenov (17-3) over +225 Leon Edwards (11-3)

+110 Mike Perry (8-0) over -130 Danny Roberts (13-1)

+180 Leonardo Santos (15-4-1) over -220 Adriano Martins (28-7)

-225 Mark Diakiese (9-0) over +185 Lukasz Sajewski (13-2)

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