UFC Fight Night Preview: Silva vs. Bisping

The UFC makes its long awaited return to London on February 27 with UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Bisping taking place at the O2 Arena, shadow sanctioned by the United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation. Europe’s UFC fanbase has been treated to a rare competitive appearance from former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (33-6-1NC) as the Brazilian returns to fight on UK soil for the first time since 2006. The once undisputed pound-for-pound king takes on top British middleweight Michael Bisping (27-7) in a bout that is several years in the making, dating back to Silva’s reign as the 185lb champion and Bisping was fighting to emerge as a potential title challenger. Both fighters are in a position to benefit significantly from what would be a career highlight for the victor. The 36-year-old Bisping was once again forced to reset his pursuit of a UFC title opportunity when the #7 ranked contender was submitted by current champion Luke Rockhold back in 2014. Since then ‘The Count’ has bested two challengers in the form of C.B. Dolloway and Thales Leites, but defeating a headline names such as Silva would make a far greater difference. For the former champion there is much to prove. Upon returning from a career altering leg break suffered during his 2013 title rematch with Chris Weidman, Silva failed to satisfy fans as he edged Nick Diaz to claim an unconvincing unanimous decision in January of last year. Furthermore, the victory was later overturned to a ‘no contest’ after Silva tested positive for drostanolone and androsterone. Silva was handed a $380,000 fine (consisting of his win bonus plus 30% of his show money) in addition to a year suspension. Following the results has claimed to have never intentionally used performance enhancing drugs. Bisping awaits in London as Silva returns to action once again. Bisping’s well rounded game boasting takedown defence, extreme cardio and high volume striking may be more useful than ever before against the 40-year-old Silva. Only time will tell if the former champion is capable of rejuvenating his own masterful striking and reactions that have seen an incredible amount of “Matrix-like” highlights over the years. UFC Fight Night in London will be attended by UKMMAF representatives who will shadow sanction the event, in lieu of being in a position to fully sanction hopefully later this year. In addition, all participating referees are licensed as graduates of the UKMMAF certification course for officials. The remaining actions required of the UKMMAF to enable full sanctioning of events are the securing of dedicated insurance and legal process. UFC Fight Night 84 full card: Main Card (UFC Fight Pass) Middleweight Anderson Silva (Brazil) vs. Michael Bisping (UK) Middleweight Gegard Mousasi (Netherlands) vs. Thales Leites (Brazil) Welterweight Tom Breese (UK) vs. Keita Nakamura (Japan) Bantamweight Francisco Rivera (USA) vs. Brad Pickett (UK) Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass) Featherweight Mike Wilkinson (UK) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (Finland) Bantamweight Davey Grant (UK) vs. Marlon Vera (Ecuador) Middleweight Scott Askham (UK) vs. Chris Dempsey (USA) Featherweight Arnold Allen (UK) vs. Yaotzin Meza (USA) Middleweight Brad Scott (UK) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (POLAND) Lightweight Norman Parke (Northern Ireland) vs. Rustam Khabilov (Russia) Heavyweight Daniel Omielańczuk (Poland) vs. Jarjis Danho (Syria)   Lightweight Teemu Packalén (Finland) vs. Thibault Gouti (France)  Lightweight David Teymur (Sweden) vs. Martin Svensson (Sweden)    

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