Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business today (Sat., Nov. 25, 2017) for UFC Fight Night 122, which is set to go down inside Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. The UFC Fight Pass-televised event will feature a Middleweight showdown between Kelvin Gastelum and former division champion Michael Bisping. In the co-main event, Li Jingliang takes on Zak Ottow.
Michael Bisping coughed up his Middleweight title a few weeks ago after he was submitted by former Welterweight king Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 in New York City. For “The Count,” getting back on the horse as soon as possible was the best way to “exorcise his demons.” And once he caught wind of Anderson Silva’s latest drug failure, he jumped at the chance to step in to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of Shanghai, China. It’s a bold move on behalf of the brash Brit, but it’s one he says is a win-win situation. And he’s right, as not only does he get the opportunity to get back into the win column, but he gets to collect a nice fat paycheck out of it, too. Getting on Endeavor’s good side isn’t a bad thing, either.
The rest of the card. But we’ll get to that later.
Original card vs actual card:
The card suffered a massive blow after Anderson Silva was forced out of the event once USADA busted him for the second time. As a result, the bout between Silva and Gastelum was scratched (again), paving the way for Bisping to take the short notice bout. James Mulheron was also forced out of the card due to a USADA violation, and his opponent Cyril Asker was pegged to face on UFC newcomer Yaozong Hu.
Liu Pingyuan had to bow out of his fight against Bharat Khandare and was replaced by Yadong Song.
Yaozong Hu will put his undefeated record (3-0) on the line when he faces Cyril Asker on short notice. Also, Bharat Khandare will face fellow Octagon newcomer Yadong Song in Bantamweight action. To keep a long conversation short, this card features a bevy of UFC newbies, so we’ll run down the list:
Wang Guan, Sheymon Moraes, Kenan Song, Yan Xiaonan, Yanan Wu, Wu Lijiburen, will also be making their UFC debuts at this event.
How The Prelims Look:
Not good is an understatement. The card features plnety of newcomers, so the you know the underbelly simply won’t have much to offer, as far as name value is concerned. That said, headlining the “prelims” is Zabit Magomedsharipov, as he will face off against Sheymon Moraes in featherweight action. Why is that of any importance? Well, Zabit has been making headlines lately, as he was recently dubbed as the man who would destroy Conor McGregor. That’s some pretty big talk on his camp’s part, especially since he only has one win inside the Octagon. Still, he does have nine straight wins on his resume.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
I would says Michael Bisping, but win or lose, he’ll come out okay, as taking a short notice fight doesn’t really affect the man or woman stepping up should they lose. That said, the person on the card who could use a win in the bad way is Kailin Curran, as she has dropped her last three bouts. She will look to get back into the win column when she welcomes Yan Xiaonan into the eight-sided cage.
Interest Level: 4/10
I’m being generous, to be honest, as the only fight of note is Bisping vs Gastelum. I get it, the promotion wants to continue to dig it’s flag deeper in other countries, so they have to pack the event with local talent. As a result, the card is filled to the brim with a bunch of fighters most have never heard of. And with nine fighters making their Octagon debuts, fight fans will definitely be hitting up “Fight Finder” on Sherdog to see who’s who.
That said, it will be interesting to see how Bisping bounces back after coughing up his title to “Rush.” Gastelum is far from a pushover, so “The Count” stepping up to do the company a solid is a bold move. For Kelvin, though, earning a win over the former 185-pound champion will be big for his hopes of getting his first-ever shot at a UFC title. A loss, however, will send him tumbling down the rankings, and possibly to Welterweight.
Full UFC Fight Night 122 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 122 Main Event:
185 lbs.: Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum
UFC Fight Night 122 Main Card (7 a.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Li Jingliang vs. Zak Ottow
145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Wang Guan
170 lbs.: Alex Garcia vs. Muslim Salikhov
UFC Fight Night 122 Prelims (4 a.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Sheymon Moraes
170 lbs.: Bobby Nash vs. Kenan Song
125 lbs.: Kailin Curran vs. Xiaonan Yan
135 lbs.: Bharat Khandare vs. Pingyuan Liu
265 lbs.: Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chase Sherman
135 lbs.: Gina Mazany vs. Yanan Wu
145 lbs.: Wuliji Buren vs. Rolando Dy
205 lbs.: Cyril Asker vs. Hu Yaozong
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