UFC FIght Night 122 takes place in Shanghai, China tomorrow morning and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Just three weeks after losing to GSP, Bisping says he accepted this short-notice fight with Gastelum to exorcise the demons in his minds that stemmed from losing the middleweight title.
That doesn’t sound like the best idea, especially as Gastelum has already slayed a number of other UFC veterans over the past couple of years, including Johny Hendricks, Vitor Belfort (later changed to a no-contest after testing positive for marijuana) and Tim Kennedy – though he is coming off a submission loss to former champ Chris Weidman.
That being said, Bisping will hold a size and reach advantage here and he’s successfully navigated his way past various heavy-handed strikers over the years. He’ll need to be careful though as Gastelum is fast and is the harder-hitter – the latter point being of particular concern given that Bisping was dropped by St-Pierre prior to his submission finish earlier this month.
If Bisping can avoid getting into a firefight and instead outbox Gastelum then he could make his gamble pay off, but I think his hasty decision to take this fight may well backfire on him as Gastelum finds his chin for a TKO finish.
Kelvin Gastelum to win by TKO in Rd3.
Li Jingliang vs. Zak Ottow
With a 13-4 fight record, including a 5-2 showing in the UFC’s Octagon to date, Jingliang has proven to be a Chinese fighter with the skills to stick around in the promotion and as such lands the co-main event spot in Shanghai.
Jingliang will be the more offensive fighter here and hits harder, though that can leave him vulnerable defensively.
Still, Ottow isn’t a natural finisher on the feet, and his best chance will be to get the fight to the floor and look for submissions.
In the end though I think Jingliang will mostly be able to keep the fight standing, where he’ll land the better strikes and have the higher output of strikes to secure a decision victory, if not a TKO finish.
Li Jingliang to win by decision.
Alex Caceres vs. Wang Guan
Guan wields an impressive 16-1 record as he makes his UFC debut, but now that he’s in the Octagon he’ll be facing a whole new level of competition that will test how good he really is.
By way of contrast, Caceres only has a 13-10 record, but he is a tricky customer to deal with, particularly on the mat, where he’s good in the scramble and is always on the lookout for potential submission attempts.
Guan is primarily a striker with a number of finishes on his record, so he’ll have the power advantage here, but while Caceres isn’t heavy-handed, he can be a hard target to hit with his movement, and combined with his ground skills I think he can emerge victorious here by tapping out his opponent.
Alex Caceres to win by submission in Rd2.
Alex Garcia vs. Muslim Salikhov
This should be a fun stand-up fight, with the Russian ‘King Of Kung FU’ Salikhov holding a 12-1 record and coming off a KO win over a washed up Melvin Guillard, while Garcia has been alternating between wins and losses in the Octagon for some time, including victories over veterans like Mike Pyle and Mike Swick.
Salikov is a dangerous striker who is as likely to knock opponents out with kicks as he is with punches, but Garcia is quick and can put opponents to sleep on the feet too.
However, Garcia is also a good wrestler and that looks like his biggest key to victory here. In a purely striking match-up I’d give Salikhov the edge, but if he’s able to close the distance and look to grapple with him then I think Garcia can grind out a victory here.
Alex Garcia to win by decision.
Prelims: (predicted winners in bold)
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Sheymon Moraes
Bobby Nash vs. Kenan Song
Kailin Curran vs. Yao Xiaonan
Pingyuan Liu vs. Bharat Khandare
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chase Sherman
Gina Mazany vs. Yanan Wu
Rolando Dy vs. Wuliji Buren
Cyril Asker vs. Yaozong Hu