Britain’s most successful mixed martial artist and UFC athlete, Michael Bisping, will make history on October 8 at the Manchester Arena, as he defends the UFC middleweight belt in his hometown against American MMA legend, Dan Henderson.
Bisping became the first British athlete to win a UFC title on June 4 at UFC 199, when he upset then champion Luke Rockhold on two weeks’ notice. Just four months earlier, he beat one of the best pound-for-pound athletes in the world,Anderson Silva, in an incredible performance at London’s o2 Arena.
UFC 204: BISPING vs. HENDERSON 2 will be the first title defense by a British athlete on home soil in UFC. The bout is also a rematch between the two athletes, who met previously at UFC 100 in 2009 where Henderson (32-14; fighting out of Temecula, California, USA) knocked out Bisping (30-7; fighting out of Huntington Beach, California, USA) in spectacular fashion in the second round.
Additionally, the two opponents will meet for the first time this Friday, August 19 in Las Vegas, as they join UFC President Dana White in a press conference preceding weigh-ins for UFC 202: DIAZ vs. McGREGOR 2. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2:00 p.m. PT/ 10:00 p.m. BST in the Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand Resort & Casino and will also be streamed live on UFC.com.
UFC today also confirmed six further bouts to a card which is shaping up to be a historic event.
Dutchman Gegard Mousasi (39-6; fighting out of Leiden, Netherlands) will meet Vitor Belfort (25-12; fighting out of Rio de Janerio, Brazil). Mousasi won his last two bouts against Thales Leites and Thiago Santos in London and Las Vegas respectively. Incidentally, Belfort recorded his last win against title challenger Dan Henderson in November of last year and sits two places ahead of Mousasi in the middleweight rankings at No.4.
Britain’s own No.9 ranked light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa (15-2; fighting out of London England) will face No.6 rankedOvince Saint Preux (19-8; fighting out of Tennessee, USA) who got his title shot against Jon Jones for the interim light heavyweight belt earlier this year, but narrowly failed to secure the belt.
Heavyweights Stefan Struve (31-8; fighting out of Beverwijk, Netherlands) and Ruslan Magomedov (14-1; fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) will meet in Manchester. Ranked No.14 and no.15 respectively, the bout is sure to be a display of skill as Magomedov tests his striking technique against kickboxing specialist Struve, who has height and reach advantages at seven feet tall.
Additionally, jiu-jitsu specialists Adriano Martins (28-7; fighting out of Manaus, Brazil) and Leonardo Santos (15-4; fighting out of Rio de Janerio, Brazil) will also step into the Octagon® together in an all-Brazilian lightweight bout.
After suffering an injury, Brad Pickett (26-11; fighting out of London, England) was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout in Hamburg, Germany. Pickett will now face Brazilian Iuri Alcantara (37-7, 1NC; fighting out of Soure, Brazil) in front of a home crowd in Manchester in this bantamweight clash.
Finally, after a win against Marlon Vera in London earlier this year, Brit Davey Grant (10-2; fighting out of Bishop Auckland, England) will return to action on October 8 against Polish featherweight Damian Stasiak (10-2; fighting out of Lodz, Poland).Check out our latest podcast episode featuring Desmond Green & Matteo Urella.