The news came out today that Rafael Dos Anjos has broken his foot and will have to be replaced at UFC 196 next week. That’s a huge bummer and I’m looking forward to seeing who the UFC replaces him with and if they call the fight an “Interim Title Fight”. It seems like Conor McGregor continues to have to fight extra guys before getting his true title shot, which was also the case when Aldo pulled out of their fight and he had to take on Mendes before getting his crack at the champ.
Anyways, that’s the big news out of the UFC today, but let’s not forget that there’s a perfectly good card shaping up this weekend in London. The arguably “Greatest of All-Time” Anderson Silva is up against a home town favourite and perennial contender in Michael Bisping. The other main card fights are also interesting and I’ll give you my picks for each below….
Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping
Firstly I should say that I don’t think Anderson Silva will ever be his old self again. That said, I don’t think his fight against Nick Diaz was a good matchup for him because Diaz didn’t fight into his hands. Silva is a top level counter puncher and I expect that style to work very well against Michael Bisping, a fighter that likes to bring the pressure to his opponent. In the past Silva has been able to make his opponents miss while landing devastating counter punches and even though we are seeing an over the hill Silva in this fight, I still expect him to be able to land some devastating punches while Bisping moves forward.
I like Silva to finish this fight, but I think the odds are pretty fair and don’t think it’s a sure thing by any means.
Play: Silva -285
Gegard Mousasi vs Thales Leites
I’m taking the underdog Leites in this fight. I think he’s being overlooked and I don’t have him being too outclassed by Mousasi on the feet. He has the aggression to really push Mousasi in this one and if he’s being picked apart on the feet he can always resort to looking for the takedown and going to work on the ground.
Leites was on an 8 fight winning streak before losing a split decision against Michael Bisping. Yes, Mousasi may be his toughest fight to date, but I see a few avenues to victory for Leites in this one.
Play: Leites +250
Tom Breese vs Keita Nakamura
Breese absolutely dismantled Cathal Pendred before getting the finish in his last fight. I expect him to be able to pick apart Nakamura in London as well. He’s showed he has the range strikes to prevent fighters from getting inside and looking for the takedown. He’s also shown the patience to avoid putting himself in compromising positions, while letting the finish come to him.
Play: Breese -900
Francisco Rivera vs Brad Pickett
This is just a gut pick for me, but I like Pickett in this one. He’s on a 3 fight losing streak, but his last fight against Thomas Almeida showed that he can still hang with the best in the division (even though he ended up getting knocked out by the prospect). Fighting at home in England, Pickett has had a lot of success and I think he will push the pace in this fight against Rivera.
I’m taking the value here and going with the home town underdog to get the upset over a fighter in Rivera, who really hasn’t beaten anyone that much better than Pickett. Especially if you don’t count the 21 second knockout of Alex Caceres a couple fights back.
Play: Pickett +185