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UFC Fight Night 84: Gegard Mousasi says Thales Leites a more difficult matchup than Michael Bisping

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Gegard Mousasi missed out on facing one-half of the UFC Fight Night 84 main event act, Michael Bisping, after "The Count" was taken from an encounter with "The Dreamcatcher" and slotted opposite Anderson Silva.

The former Strikeforce light heavyweight titleholder was then pegged to face ex-middleweight title challenger Thales Leites in the co-main event of the same card, which takes place tomorrow afternoon (Sat., Feb. 27, 2016) inside O2 Arena in London, England.

Though he admits a win over Bisping would've garnered him more attention than one over the resurgent Brazilian, Mousasi expects a tougher fight when the two collide "across the pond."

From his conversation with FOX Sports:

"Thales Leites is a tough opponent. He's a worse matchup for me than Michael Bisping because he will try to go for takedowns to score points and stuff like that. I'm very confident I'm going to be dominant in the fight. Zero chance he's going to take me down, I believe. I'm not going to take unnecessary chances like the last fight. Everything has to be technical, precise and punishing. I'm going to be sharp."

Interestingly enough, Leites was last seen on the wrong end of a split-decision verdict handed to Bisping in their UFC Fight Night 72 main event last July. Prior to that loss, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was a winner of eight straight tilts, including finishes of Tim Boetsch and Francis Carmont.

Mousasi, on the other hand, is also coming off a tough loss, a crushing second-round finish at the hands of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 runner-up Uriah Hall back in September. The former K-1 kickboxer has endured his ups and downs inside the Octagon, accumulating a 4-3 UFC record.

He will have his hands full in this exchange with Leites, who has shown he's become much more than a dominant grappler. Mousasi, though, has been installed the favorite by Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Who are you taking?

For continuous coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 84 card, including live updates and play-by-play, click here and here.