Just over one year since his overturned victory against Nick Diaz, former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva returns to action, taking on Michael Bisping in London's O2 Arena this Saturday afternoon.
In addition, Gegard Mousasi will look to rebound from his first-ever technical knockout (TKO) loss against the resurgent Thales Leites, while top prospect Tom Breese squares off with Japanese submission artist Keita Nakamura.
The entire event can be found on UFC Fight Pass, including the nine preliminary bouts.
Here's what's on the "Prelims" docket across the pond:
185 lbs.: Brad Scott (10-3) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (16-1)
Scott reached the finals of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Smashes" welterweight tournament before dropping a decision to Australia's Brad Whittaker. He's since gone 2-1, choking out Dylan Andrews last May in his most recent effort. His 10 wins are split between knockouts and submissions.
After a decision over Bruno Santos in his promotional debut, Jotko suffered his first career defeat at the hands of Sweden's Magnus Cedenblad in Berlin. He's since won consecutive decisions over Tor Troeng and Scott Askham in Sweden and Dublin, respectively. 10 of his wins and each of his last five have come by decision.
Krzysztof Jotko is not a man you turn to when on the hunt for an all-action scrap, but he's good at what he does: grinding the bejeezus out of people. His size, strength, and top game make him damn near impossible to shake off once he's got a grip on you. Scott simply does not have the sort of defensive grappling to get anything going against him.
Jotko's predictability and limited skillset aren't an issue against someone who knows exactly what's coming but doesn't have the means to stop it. Expect a three-round wrestlefest that ends in a Polish victory.
Prediction: Jotko by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Rustam Khabilov (17-3) vs. Norman Parke (21-4-1)
Khabilov's suplex beatdown of Vinc Pichel and thrilling war with Jorge Masvidal put him on the cusp of contendership and set up a main event scrap with Benson Henderson. Unfortunately for him, "Tiger" could not overcome the former champion, nor could he turn away Brazilian giant Adriano Martins last February. This will be his first fight in over a year thanks to visa issues scrapping a planned fight with Danny Castillo.
Parke's five-fight UFC unbeaten streak came to an end at the hands of Gleison Tibau two Januaries ago, after which he dropped a decision to another huge Brazilian in Francisco Trinaldo. He managed to right the ship last August with a unanimous decision over Reza Madadi in something of a grudge match. He has 16 wins by stoppage, though just one in the last three years.
Khabilov's fallen off the face of the earth somewhat and I honestly don't think that's very fair; Henderson and Martins were always going to be difficult matchups for him. He's still one of the better lightweights in the world, one very well-equipped to take out Parke.
Parke is facing an uphill battle no matter how you look at it. Khabilov is the better striker of the two, the more powerful puncher, and the stronger wrestler. Parke's game isn't debilitating enough to drain "Tiger" in three rounds, either, giving him few avenues of victory. The one thing he has going for him is that he can probably survive whatever Khabilov dishes out, but the good news ends there. The Dagestani re-enters the win column with a dominant decision win.
Prediction: Khabilov by unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Daniel Omielanczuk (17-5-1) vs. Jarjis Danho (6-0)
Omielanczuk scored a nasty one-punch finish of Nandor Guelmino, only to suffer consecutive losses to Jared Rosholt and Anthony Hamilton afterwards. He returned to his winning ways last July with a 48 second starching of late replacement Chris De La Rocha. He will give up three inches of height to the 6'3" Danho.
The aptly-nicknamed "Man Mountain" has turned heads on the European circuit with six stoppages in six wins, four of them via knockout. In addition to competing in Germany, where he currently trains, he has also appeared twice in his birth country of Syria and once in Finland. He's stopped four opponents in the first round, including one in 10 seconds.
Danho's nickname is no joke; the man's absolutely gigantic. The problem is that he's nowhere near the overwhelming force a man of his size ought to be. His grappling technique is rudimentary at best and he can be moved around the cage far more easily than should be the case.
Against Omielanczuk, a decent Judoka with the chin to stand up to Danho's punches, the outlook isn't great.
The big Pole is the better submission and takedown artist of the two and can take care of himself on the feet. Expect him to lock something up from top position once Danho's gas tank starts to empty.
Prediction: Omielanczuk by second-round submission
155 lbs.: Teemu Packalén (7-1) vs. Thibault Gouti (11-0)
Finland's Packalén debuted in the UFC on short notice last July, replacing the injured Jake Matthews against Frenchman Mickael Lebout. Despite demonstrating some impressive grappling chops, Packalén ultimately suffered his first professional defeat via unanimous decision. He stands three inches taller than Gouti at 6'1."
Gouti made a bid to join Team Europe on The Ultimate Fighter 22, only to lose a decision to David Teymur in the elimination round. Undaunted, he returned to Europe and knocked out former UFC competitor Anton Kuivanen with one punch for the Cage lightweight title. He enters as a late replacement for the injured Lukasz Sajewski.
Packalén’s takedowns are the weakest part of his game; the Finn has some killer scrambles and great submissions, but his shots seem to stop dead once he hits the opponent’s hips. This is something he seriously needs to fix to take on the division’s stronger fighters. Might be good enough against Gouti, though.
The Frenchman is the cleaner boxer of the two and packs more power, admittedly, making this close to a pick-em fight. Still, short notice against a grappler of Packalén’s caliber is bad news. Packalén catches him in a scramble sometime in the first round.
Prediction: Packalén by first-round submission
155 lbs.: Martin Svensson (14-5) vs. David Teymur (3-1)
After defeating Germany's Mohamed Grabinski on TUF 22, Svensson squared off with Team Faber's Thanh Lee in the Round of 16. Though he managed to stop the high-octane striker with ground-and-pound, a broken elbow resulted in his exit from the show and denied him a chance to fight on the Finale. He has stopped eight opponents via submission.
Teymur, an experienced kickboxer with a win over Sanny Dahlbeck, out-slugged Thibault Gouti to earn a spot on TUF 22, after which he outlasted Johnny Nuñez to reach the quarterfinals. There, he took on teammate Marcin Wrzosek, who took a competitive two-round decision over the Swede. Teymur has stopped two of his three professional opponents via knockout.
Teymur’s striking is a joy to watch; his knees in particular are terrifically crisp and powerful. His two main issues are his lack of durability and shaky defensive grappling. Teymur got dropped more than once on the show and also wound up mounted more than once.
While he may have a size advantage against Svensson, a natural featherweight, I’m just not confident enough in his ability to keep it standing. I’d love to see Teymur fix up his counter-wrestling and wreck fools with his knees and body attack, but he’s just too inconsistent. Svensson grapples his way to a decision win.
Prediction: Svensson by unanimous decision
Four fights tomorrow, featuring a bevy of European prospects.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 84 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining main card balance -- also on Fight Pass -- at 4 p.m. ET.
See you tomorrow for part two of our preview!