I share some thoughts, opinions, and takeaways on an entertaining UFC 204 Pay-Per-View Card this weekend. I also recap how my predictions did:
-Dan Henderson won that fight. I know I know I know, Bisping out struck Henderson, and showed better “octagon” control for most of the fight retaining his belt. The records will show Bisping won the rematch. However, ask yourself this simple question, who would you have rather have been after the fight ended? The guy with not so much of a scratch on his face (Henderson), or the guy whose face was completely busted up, swollen, and bloody (Bisping)? This is more a critique on the current way the UFC chooses to score fights, than it is a criticism of Bisping or the judges. I had the fight 3-2 in favor of Henderson giving him the 1st, 2nd, and 5th rounds. He demolished Bisping in the 1st, brutally knocked him down to end the 2nd, and scored a takedown, and the biggest punches in the 5th. I like the old Pride days of scoring the fight as a whole instead of single rounds. I recognize they try to address dominate rounds by allowing for 10-8 scoring, but judges are very hesitant to use that score. In the end Dan Henderson if he decides to walk away from the sport has can do so without regrets after that fight. He fought Bisping the only way he could win it, conserving his energy and trying to score a knockout. Henderson may have not gone home with the belt, but he knows he’s gotten the better of Bisping in both their matchups.
-Michael Bisping deserves all the credit in the world for his effort. He’s a tough SOB and a worthy middleweight champion. It would have been really easy after that first round, to pack it in trying to avoid another embarrassing knockout at the hands of Henderson. However, Bisping went to work after that near knockout and showed why he is the belt holder. His counter-striking, and technical footwork has allowed him a rebirth late in his career. I do not think he will be able to defend his belt successfully against anyone else in the top 5 in the division. Although he continues to prove doubters wrong, and that’s a credit to his determination and unbreakable will. I am not sure who he faces after this fight. The UFC has no other favorable matchups for him after giving him Henderson. Despite being the champion, Bisping will likely be an underdog whoever he fights from the middleweight divisions stable of top 5 challengers.
-Mousasi looked phenomenal. He stared down Vitor Belfort, and willingly exchanged with him, beating Belfort at his own game. Mousasi can beat anyone in the middleweight division, and is a nightmare matchup for whoever he faces next at 185lbs. Hopefully the UFC will reward him with a top 5 Middleweight, and chance at a title shot if he wins. A rematch against the #3 ranked middleweight Jacare Souza, giving him a chance to avenge his loss, would be a great matchup. Belfort is no longer the same fighter in the post-USADA era. He’s still talented and a ferocious matchup for most fighters, but he is no longer a title contender.
-Jimi Manuwa took Ovince Saint Preux’s soul Saturday night. In what may have been the best performance of his career, he beat Preux all over the octagon, and then finished him with a vicious knockout. Considering Jon Jones could not get Preux out of there, even while he had a broken arm; this was a really impressive victory. Manuwa has earned a shot at one of the top Light heavyweights not named Anthony Johnson or Daniel Cormier. Give Manuwa Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira, or Alexander Gustafsson and let’s see if he can earn a title shot.
My UFC 204 predictions:
Saint Preux @ (-155) (Loss) -$110
Mousasi @ (-315) (Win) +$23
Mousasi/Belfort Over 1.5 rounds @ +115 (Win) +115
Henderson @ +190 (Loss) -$100
UFC 204 results (2-2) (-$72)
Prediction Record Year to Date (16-15-0) (-$200)
-Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
-Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
*Stats via www.UFC.com
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