I didn’t get picks up for last weekends Australia card because I simply wasn’t that interested in a lot of the main card fights, but the week before I went 4 for 4 on my main card predictions for UFC Norfolk, including a big underdog play on Arlovski and the two pick’em fights which Poirier and Guida won handily. I will look to carry that momentum into UFC Shanghai with 2 underdog and 2 favorite picks outlined below.
All of the odds are taken from BetOnline.ag, our top rated betting site for MMA. Here’s our full BetOnline review for you to check out if you’re interested in opening an account and placing some bets.
Kelvin Gastelum vs Michael Bisping
After Anderson Silva was pulled from this fight with Gastelum, Bisping offered his services, just 3 weeks after losing the middlweight belt to GSP at UFC 217. Bisping has stated that Gastelum is a more difficult opponent than GSP, and I would have to agree. We know that merit does not result in title shots in the UFC anymore, and the fact that the Bisping vs GSP fight was a pick’em at the sportsbooks heading into the fight, while Bisping is close to a 3-1 dog against Gastelum proves this hypothesis in my opinion.
All of that said, I still give Bisping a decent shot in this fight. I’m not going to say that he is likely to win, but I think this could be a battle that can go either way. Bisping is a guy that is extremely hard to finish. He got caught by a left in the GSP fight and St. Pierre was able to get his back, but historically, Bisping is a very tough guy to put away. He gets rocked in a lot of his fights, but he can come back and grind out wins. Just look at his victory over Anderson Silva or even his title defense against Dan Henderson. Yes, these guys are both worse than Gastelum, but it shows Bisping has the resolve in 5 round fights to stay in the fight and get the wins.
Gastelum’s a very fast middleweight and his advantage usually comes on the feet using his quick jab to outclass slower opponents. It worked against both Belfort and Kennedy, but Bisping is a much better boxer than either of those two, and I’m not convinced that Gastelum will be able to outwork him so easily in the stand up.
The other factor in this fight is that Gastelum has never gone past 3 rounds in a fight. Yes, his last two outings were main events, but he finished his opponents in the 3rd and 1st in those fights. Kennedy slowed down in the third, while Belfort just always loses early. Bisping is not going to slow down and I don’t foresee Kelvin outclassing him on the feet, or being able to keep him down. Of course, Kelvin could catch Bisping with something like GSP did, but I don’t think it’s really that likely.
This fight should be a back and forth battle on the feet, and I could see it going either way. Bisping has proven himself in 5 round wars, while Kelvin has yet to go past the 3rd, so that is an ace in the back pocket for Bisping. At these odds I think the sharp money has to be on Bisping.
Of course, I’m only looking at this fight from a technical standpoint. There is the chance Bisping simply isn’t mentally ready for this fight after losing to GSP just 3 week ago, but I believe he’s a guy who just enjoys fighting and he will bring the fight in there this weekend.
Play: Bisping +240
Li Jingliang vs Zak Ottow
I think Jingliang is the real deal. He beat Frank Camacho in his last outing and we all saw how good and dangerous Camacho looked this past weekend with his win over Damien Brown. Li is still only 29 years old and he’s riding a 3 fight winning streak in the UFC. A solid performance this weekend should get him a big name fight in his next appearance.
Ottow is a tough guy who won’t be an easy out, but I don’t think his skills match up with Li. He has the ability to grind out a win, but I think Jingliang will be the more active fighter and get the win if this goes to decision. He’s also the more dangerous guy with knockout power and I would not be surprised at all if he caught Ottow with a KO. There are several more paths to victory for Jingliang, so he’s a good bet in my opinion.
Play: Jingliang -172
Alex Caceres vs Wang Guan
I really like Cacares. He brings the fight every time and he’s a very active fighter who is not going to lose decisions in stand up battles very often. Guan Wang is making his UFC debut, and although he has a very impressive 19-1-1 record on paper, the majority of these fights were against extremely weak opponents. Of his last 5 wins, 4 of the fighters were 0-0, which shows just how little we can judge his wins. He did beat Shane Young via decision, but Young did not look good at all against Volkanovski this past weekend, so I’m not going to put too much stock in that win either.
For Guan to win this fight I think he’s going to have to finish Caceres and I just don’t see it happening very often. This is a massive step up in competition for Guan, and although we really don’t know how good he is, I’m going with what I know, and that’s that Caceres goes out and lands strikes on everyone.
Play: Caceres -175
Alex Garcia vs Mulim Salikhov
I’m surprised Garcia is the dog in this fight. Yes, he’s coming off a loss, but that was a very tight fight against Tim Means, who we all know is a very strong and dangerous opponent. Before that he went out and absolutely starched Mike Pyle in a very impressive performance. It wasn’t long ago that Alex Garcia was a very hyped prospect coming into the UFC with a couple big wins. I personally still think Garcia has a lot of ability and going against an unknown like Salkhov I think he should be favoured.
Salikhov is 13-1, but like Guan, he’s been fighting a lot of very weak opponents on the Chinese Regional scene. He knocked out UFC vet Melvin Guillard in his last outing, which was an impressive performance, but before that he was fighting a lot of weak opponents. That said, he’s been finishing everyone early. He now has 9 straight first round finishes, which is impressive regardless of strength of opponent. I really don’t know much about Salikhov, so I won’t have a lot of action on this fight, but I’ll likely have a small bet on Garcia because I do think he is a strong fighter who won’t be an easy out for anyone.
Play: Garcia +147