UFC Fight Night 122 medical suspensions: Michael Bisping out 60 days after knockout

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Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping’s bench time is doubled in the wake of his second stoppage loss.

Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC) is suspended 60 days with 45 days of no contact during training after a first-round knockout loss courtesy of Kelvin Gastelum (14-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 122, according to medical suspensions released to official MMA records keeper mixedmartialarts.com.

UFC Fight Night 122 took place this past Saturday, Nov. 25, at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Bisping, 38, received a 30-day suspension after being choked unconscious at UFC 217 – just three weeks before the Gastelum fight – by Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC), who claimed the UFC middleweight title after a four-year layoff. But Bisping reportedly received doctor’s permission to compete, despite being badly rocked by a punch prior to being submitted. The UFC, which independently regulated this past Saturday’s event, also cleared him for the fight.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan recently criticized the decision to allow Bisping to fight.

All UFC Fight Night 122 fighters were given a mandatory seven-day suspension, but four fighters received potential six-month terms.

The full list of medical suspensions from UFC Fight Night 122 include:

  • Kelvin Gastelum: suspended 7 days
  • Michael Bisping: suspended 60 days due to KO and 45 days no contact
  • Li Jingliang: suspended 7 days
  • Zak Ottow: suspended 180 days or until cleared by orthopedic doctor for right hand, and suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Wang Guan: suspended 7 days
  • Alex Caceres: suspended 45 days due to right eyelid laceration and 30 days no contact
  • Alex Garcia: suspended 7 days
  • Muslim Salikhov: suspended 7 days
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov: suspended 7 days
  • Sheymon Moraes: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout
  • Song Kenan: suspended 7 days
  • Bobby Nash: suspended minimum 45 days with 30 days no contact for TKO
  • Yan Xiaonan: suspended 45 days due to lip laceration and 30 days no contact
  • Kailin Curran: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout
  • Song Yadong: suspended 180 days or until cleared by orthopedic doctor for right foot, and suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Bharat Kandare: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout
  • Shamil Abdurakhimov: suspended 180 days or until cleared by orthopedic doctor for left thumb, and suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Chase Sherman: suspended minimum 45 days with 30 days no contact for TKO
  • Gina Mazany: suspended 180 days or until cleared by X-ray for left toe, and suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Wu Yanan: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Rolando Dy: suspended 7 days
  • Wuliji Buren: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout
  • Cyril Asker: suspended 7 days
  • Hu Yaozong: suspended minimum 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Kelvin Gastelum and UFC Fight Night 122's other winning fighters?

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UFC Fight Night 122 took place Saturday, and the four-fight main card from Mercedes-Benz Arena, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass, has to be deemed a success.

Three of the four bouts on the main card ended inside the distance, but no win was more emphatic than the main event in which Kelvin Gastelum (14-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) put away former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC) with strikes inside the first round.

Prior to Gastelum’s win, Chinese fighters Li Jingliang (14-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Wang Guan (17-1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) put on impressive performances, while Alex Garcia (15-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) opened the main card with a submission finish.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 122’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Alex Garcia

Peter Sobotta

Should fight: Peter Sobotta
Why they should fight: Garcia is pushing for a quick turnaround, ideally at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg in December, after his upset submission win over touted promotional newcomer Muslim Salikhov.

Garcia spoiled Salikhov’s octagon debut with a second-round submission to help him bounce back from a loss in his previous bout. Garcia has alternated wins and losses over his past seven contests, and until he bucks that trend, he’s not going to be able to move up much in the welterweight pecking order.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of credible competition on the same level as Garcia at this time. Sobotta (17-5-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC), who is on a solid 4-1 run since returning to the UFC for a second stint more than three years ago, is well rounded and dangerous. His style meshes with Garcia’s powerful approach and the winner would be sitting in a good spot at 170 pounds.

Wang Guan

Chas Skelly

Should fight: Chas Skelly
Why they should fight: Guan showed why there was a lot of discussion and excitement around his UFC debut when he put his powerful hands on display over three rounds to take a unanimous decision over Alex Caceres.

Although he came close on multiple occasions, Guan couldn’t finish the featherweight fight. He still put a beating on an 18-fight UFC veteran in Caceres over three rounds, though, and that’s certainly not a bad look for an octagon debut.

With just one loss thus far in his 19-fight career, Guan has the style and poise which would make him a compelling matchup for many featherweights. It’s too soon for him to be fighting the biggest names at 145 pounds, but another notable, established member of the UFC roster like Skelly (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) would be helpful in further marking his UFC presense.

Li Jingliang

Alan Jouban

Should fight: Alan Jouban
Why they should fight: The most successful Chinese fighter in UFC history continued to roll when Jingliang extended his winning streak to four fights with a second-round TKO of Zak Ottow.

Jingliang’s run has been impressive to watch, and it’s clear “The Leech” is adding to his skillset and gaining confidence with every bout. He’s a sturdy, powerful welterweight who is not going to be an easy out for anyone, but now it’s time to find out where he stacks up against a more honest level of competition.

Jouban (15-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) might be coming off a pair of losses, but he’s shared the octagon with some of the best at 170 pounds. His size and length would be a difficult matchup for Jingliang, but if he could continue of his run of success through Jouban, he would be in position to start getting contender fights in his division.

Kelvin Gastelum

Should fight: Ronaldo Souza
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gastelum should fight “Jacare” Souza (24-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC) next

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 122 post-event facts: Michael Bisping sets new UFC record for most times knocked down

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The UFC made its debut on mainland China on Saturday with UFC Fight Night 122, check took place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Rising middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum (14-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) added another notable victory to his resume in the main event when he starched former 185-pound champion Michael Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC) for a first-round knockout, concluding a card that had eight stoppages in 12 fights.

For more on the numbers to come out of the UFC’s final November event, check below for 40 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 122.

* * * *

General

Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $105,000.

Debuting fighters went 4-6 at the event.

Gastelum, Li Jingliang, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Song Yadong earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 122 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 122 drew an announced attendance of 15,128. No live gate was announced for the card.

Betting favorites went 8-4 on the card.

Total fight time for the 12-bout card was 1:41:47.

Main card

Kelvin Gastelum

Gastelum improved to 2-1 (with one no-contest) since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in December 2016. He’s 4-1 (with one no-contest) in the organization at 185 pounds.

Gastelum has earned 10 of his 14 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his nine UFC wins.

Bisping suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Bisping suffered his first knockout loss since Jan. 19, 2013 – a span of 1,771 days (nearly five years) and 11 fights.

Bisping’s 12 knockdowns suffered in UFC competition are most in company history.

Li Jingliang

Jingliang’s (14-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak is the longest of his UFC career.

Jingliang has earned all four of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Jingliang’s four knockout victories since 2014 in UFC competition are tied with Neil Magny, Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio for most in the division.

Zak Ottow (15-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) suffered his first knockout loss since Mar. 15, 2014 – a span of 1,351 days (nearly four years) and 12 fights.

Wang Guan and Alex Caceres

Alex Caceres (13-11 MMA, 8-9 UFC) fell to 3-3 since he returned to the UFC featherweight division in January 2015.

Caceres fell to 3-6 in his past nine UFC appearances.

Alex Garcia (15-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has earned 12 of his 15 career victories by stoppage.

Muslim Salikhov (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his 10-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since December 2012.

Salikhov has suffered both of his career losses by submission.

Preliminary card

Zabit Magomedsharipov

Magomedsharipov (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to 10 fights. He hans’t suffered a defeat since April 2013.

Magomedsharipov has earned 12 of his 14 career victories by stoppage. Both of his UFC wins are by submission.

Magomedsharipov’s 11 takedowns landed tied Gray Maynard at the TUF 25 Finale and Jimy Hettes at UFC 141 for the single-fight UFC/WEC featherweight record.

Magomedsharipov earned the 12th anaconda choke submission in UFC history.

Sheymon Moraes (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by submission.

Kenan Song

Kenan Song (12-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Song’s 15-second knockout is the fifth fastest in UFC welterweight history.

Song’s 15-second win was the second fastest in UFC history by a debuting behind Anthony Johnson’s 13-second win.

Bobby Nash (8-4 MMA, 0-3 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career.

Nash has suffered all of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Yan Xiaonan (8-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) improved to 5-0 (with one no-contest) since returning from a nearly five-year layoff in July 2015.

Kailin Curran

Kailin Curran’s (4-6 MMA, 1-6 UFC) six UFC losses are tied with Jessica Eye for most of any female in company history

Curran suffered her fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of her career.

Curran fell to 1-6 in her past six bouts.

Bharat Khandare (5-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Khandare has suffered all three of his career losses by submission.

Shamil Abdurakhimov

Shamil Abdurakhimov (18-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) earned his first knockout victory since March 11, 2011 – a span of 2,451 days (nearly seven years) and nine fights.

Chase Sherman (11-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has suffered all three of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Yanan Wu (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of her career.

Wuliji Buren (8-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) fell to 2-4 in his past six fights.

Hu Yaozong (3-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his three-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Alex Garcia after UFC-Shanghai victory: Who's getting the attention now?

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SHANGHAI – Alex Garcia was aware of the hype around UFC Fight Night 122 opponent Muslim Salikhov leading into Saturday’s bout. He shut all that down with a second-round submission win.

Garcia (15-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) put Salikhov (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) away with a second-round rear-naked choke in their welterweight clash, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, to prove a point as the underdog. Now the focus is all on him.

“Look now: I’m the one that’s getting the attention,” Garcia told MMAjunkie after his victory. “He was getting attention in the beginning. I wasn’t getting any. At the end of the day, I’m getting the most at the end of the fight. So I’m happy with that.”

Garcia was able to shut down Salikhov’s offense with his grappling game, setting up the submission finish. He said he was hunting for that exact technique entering the contest, and managed to get the job done.

The Tristar Gym-trained fighter has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights and said he hopes to get a more active schedule in order to get into a winning trend. He hopes the UFC will oblige with a spot on next month’s UFC on FOX 26 fight card in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

“Every win feels like the biggest win of my career because winning is very important in this sport,” Garcia said. “You have to win every time to be on top of the game.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 122 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total approaches $16 million

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SHANGHAI – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $105,000.

UFC Fight Night 122 took place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The card streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC), who earned a maximum non-title payout of $20,000 for his main event appearance.

The full UFC Fight Night 122 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Kelvin Gastelum: $10,000
def. Michael Bisping: $20,000

Li Jingliang: $5,000
def. Zak Ottow: $2,500

Wang Guan: $2,500
def. Alex Caceres: $15,000

Alex Garcia: $5,000
def. Muslim Salikhov: $2,500

Zabit Magomedsharipov: $2,500
def. Sheymon Moraes: $2,500

Kenan Song: $2,500
def. Bobby Nash: $2,500

Yan Xiaonan: $2,500
def. Kailin Curran: $5,000

Song Yadong: $2,500
def. Bharat Kandare: $2,500

Shamil Abdurakhimov: $2,500
def. Chase Sherman: $2,500

Gina Mazany: $2,500
def. Yanan Wu: $2,500

Rolando Dy: $2,500
def. Wuliji Buren: $2,500

Cyril Asker: $2,500
def. Hu Yaozong: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,550,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,873,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC-Shanghai with the Nuge, Kanye and Jackie Chan (because of course)

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While it take intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Kelvin Gastelum def. Michael Bisping via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:30

Michael Bisping: “Song 2” by Blur

Kelvin Gastelum: “El Palenque” by Vicente Fernandez

Li Jingliang def. Zak Ottow via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:57

Li Jingliang: “We Are Rising” by Unknown

Zak Ottow: “Real American” (Hulk Hogan’s WWF theme song) by Rick Derringer

Wang Guan def. Alex Caceres via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Wang Guan: “300 Violin Orchestra” by Jorge Quintero

Alex Caceres: “Rebellion” by Jose Arroyo

Alex Garcia def. Muslim Salikhov via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:22

Alex Garcia: “Bandoleers” (“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” soundtrack) by Don Omar feat. Rego Calderon

Muslim Salikhov: “Uppercut” by Tupac

Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Sheymon Moraes via submission (anaconda choke) – Round 3, 4:30

Zabit Magomedsharipov: “Kick in the Door (Remix)” by Notorious B.I.G.

Sheymon Moraes: “Champions” by Kanye West

Kenan Song def. Bobby Nash via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:15

Kenan Song: “Nan Er Dang Zi Qiang” by Jackie Chan

Bobby Nash: “Come With Me Now” by Kongos

Yan Xiaonan def. Kailin Curran via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Yan Xiaonan: “Self Improvement of Men” theme music by James Wong

Kailin Curran: “Entourage” by Nick Lewis

N/A
Song Yadong def. Bharat Kandare via submission (front choke) – Round 1, 4:16

Song Yadong: “Journey to the West” by Jingging Xu

Bharat Kandare: “Bolo Har Har Har” by Mithoon

Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Chase Sherman via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:24

Shamil Abdurakhimov: “Alugho” by Youth of Dagestan

Chase Sherman: “Who Do You Love” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Gina Mazany def. Yanan Wu via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Gina Mazany: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

Yanan Wu: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

Rolando Dy def. Wuliji Buren via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Rolando Dy: “Tibay” by Quest

Wuliji Buren: “Genghis Khan’s Warriors” by Khan Band

Cyril Asker def. Hu Yaozong via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:33

Cyril Asker: “Katchi” by Ofenbach

Hu Yaozong: “The Sandstorm” by Master City & DJ Sugar Kid

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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UFC Fight Night 122 results: Alex Garcia upsets Muslim Salikhov with second-round submission

Alex Garcia turned out to have a solid plan for shouting down the highly touted newcomer Muslim Salikhov.

It relied on takedowns and grappling superiority, both of which Garcia (15-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) had in spades, and it paid off when he got Salikhov (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) to the floor and locked up the rear-naked choke to force the tap at the 3:22 mark of Round 2.

The welterweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 122 event at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

While the fight remained standing, Salikhov’s skills as a striker were on display. He battered the body of Garcia with kicks early, and seemed a constant threat to unleash a sudden spinning attack.

But when Garcia committed himself to the takedown, he put Salikhov on the mat with relative ease. After a takedown early in the second round, Garcia’s pressure from the top succeeded in forcing Salikhov to give up his back, which was all the invitation Garcia needed to sink his hooks and wrap his forearm across the neck and jaw of Salikhov, crushing both to force the submission finish.

The win for Garcia is his first since a decision loss to Tim Means in June. Salikhov’s loss snaps an 11-fight winning streak outside the UFC.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 122 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in China.)

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UFC Fight Night 122 staff picks: How many are picking ex-champ Michael Bisping on short notice?

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Bisping
vs.
Gastelum
Jingliang
vs.
Ottow
Caceres
vs.
Guan
Garcia
vs.
Salikhov
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 116-76
bisping2017
Bisping
(53%)
jingliang2017
Jingliang
(64%)
caceres2017
Caceres
(72%)
salikhov2017
Salikhov
(55%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 121-71
bisping2017
Bisping
jingliang2017
Jingliang
caceres2017
Caceres
salikhov2017
Salikhov
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 120-72
gastelum2017
Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
guan2017
Guan
salikhov2017
Salikhov
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 120-72
trophy copy 2015 Champion
gastelum2017
Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
caceres2017
Caceres
salikhov2017
Salikhov
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 119-73
gastelum2017
Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
caceres2017
Caceres
salikhov2017
Salikhov
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 119-73
trophy copy 2016 Champion
gastelum2017
Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
caceres2017
Caceres
salikhov2017
Salikhov
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 113-79
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Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
caceres2017
Caceres
salikhov2017
Salikhov
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 112-80
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Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
guan2017
Guan
salikhov2017
Salikhov
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 112-80
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Gastelum
ottow2017
Ottow
caceres2017
Caceres
agarcia2017
Garcia
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 111-81
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Bisping
ottow2017
Ottow
caceres2017
Caceres
agarcia2017
Garcia
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 110-82
trophy copy 2014 Champion
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Gastelum
jingliang2017
Jingliang
guan2017
Guan
salikhov2017
Salikhov

For the first time in its history, the UFC has touched down in mainland China this week.

UFC Fight Night 122 takes place Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass. (With the time difference, the prelims start at 3:45 a.m. ET and the main card starts at 7 a.m. ET.)

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC), who just lost his title three weeks ago in the UFC 217 main event, fills in for Anderson Silva on short notice. He takes on Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who is a 3-1 favorite. Of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts, only two are going with Bisping in the headliner.

In the co-main event, Li Jingliang (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a slight favorite in his welterweight bout against Zak Ottow (15-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC). Eight of our 10 pickers are going with China’s Jingliang to give his home fans a thrill.

Also on the main card, Alex Caceres (13-10 MMA, 8-8 UFC) has a 7-3 edge over Chinese newcomer Wang Guan (16-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in their featherweight fight. And to open the main card, only two pickers are taking slight underdog Alex Garcia (14-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) to top Russian newcomer Muslim Salikhov (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in their welterweight bout.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Bisping, Jingliang, Caceres and Salikhov are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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10 reasons to watch UFC-Shanghai, the UFC's debut in mainland China with Bisping vs. Gastelum

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Michael Bisping lost the UFC middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre on Nov. 4. The veteran fighter tended to his emotional and physical wounds for a few days, then he told the UFC he’d be happy to face Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday in the UFC Fight Night 122 main event.

The opportunity arose when Gastelum’s original opponent, former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, was flagged with a potential doping violation. And so, 21 days after losing his title, Bisping steps back into the octagon.

Saturday’s event is the UFC’s first foray into mainland China after it held events in Macau in 2012 and 2014.

With the opening of a new market, the promotion went heavy on local talent. One of those fighters, Li Jingliang, who is in the process of establishing himself as the face of the UFC in China, competes in the co-headliner against Zak Ottow. The bout is Jingliang’s first fight in his home country since he won the Legend FC welterweight title in 2013.

UFC Fight Night 122 takes place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. It can’t be a positive for both competitors

It’s hard to argue with Gastelum’s (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) logic. After Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) replaced Silva, the 26-year-old said he liked the new matchup better. A few years ago that remark would have been laughable. Today, it’s on the mark. Bisping is currently ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA Middleweight rankings. He’s also just a few weeks removed from his reign as 185-pound champion. Silva is ranked No. 10 and 1-4 with one no contest dating back to 2013.

“If I win this fight, it will put me up high in the rankings, and I’ll be in the conversation to fight for the title,” Gastelum, a rankings honorable mention, said during a recent media call. “That’s ultimately my goal. He’s ranked No. 2 (in the official UFC rankings), fresh off his title fight with ‘GSP.’ I feel like this is an even better fight for my career, and I expect it to be a tough fight.”

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The 38-year-old Bisping also sees the matchup as a positive.

“Obviously (UFC 217) didn’t go my way,” Bisping said of his title-losing defeat to Georges St-Pierre. “The best way to rectify that is to get straight back on the horse, so to speak, try to get back in the win column.”

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One of these men will leave China disappointed.

2. Different types of pressure

Li Jingliang

After a 2-2 start in the UFC, Jingliang (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has found his footing in the welterweight division. The 29-year-old has won his three most recent fights. He looks to end 2017 with an undefeated record. Ottow (15-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) wants to prevent that from happening.

Despite his winning streak, Jingliang faces pressure in this contest. Knowing the UFC likes to build fight cards around popular hometown fighters, a win in his home country could put the Jingliang in the running to headline the next event the promotion holds in China.

Ottow faces a different type of stress, the stress of fighting out his contract. The American is 2-1 in the UFC with a split-decision win in his most recent bout. And as we know, it’s always easier to negotiate after a victory.

3. High hopes

In February, the UFC released a video to announce the signing of the Wang Guan. That should give you an indication that the promotion has high expectations for the 31-year-old featherweight. Guan meets the more experienced Alex Caceres in his UFC debut.

Guan’s sole loss was a 2013 decision defeat at the hands of one-time WSOF bantamweight champion Bekbulat Magomedov. Unfortunately for him, Magomedov and Shane Young, who Guan (16-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) bested in 2015, are the only name opponents on his record. Expect him to be very anxious to add Caceres’ (13-10 MMA, 8-8 UFC) name to his list of 12-career finishes.

Caceres enters this tilt with a doctor-stoppage TKO win over Rolando Dy in his most recent outing.

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4. We’re throwing spinning … stuff

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia meets Wushu Sanda world champion Muslim Salikhov, who makes his UFC debut in China, in the main card opener.

Salikhov is a fighter to watch in the welterweight division. A devastating striker, the Dagestanian has 10 first-round knockout victories. His past four striking stoppages have all been spinning kicks with the most recent being a 93-second trouncing of Melvin Guillard. Salikhov’s only loss came in 2012 when he entered an MMA bout thinking it was a kickboxing match.

If Salikhov (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) can get by Garcia (14-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC), who is coming off a decision loss to Tim Means, he could be an intriguing addition to the 170-pound division.

5. Rising prospect returns

Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit Magomedsharipov, a former ACB champion, made his UFC debut in September. The Dagestanian entered that contest with a lot of hype. The 26-year-old, who trains with Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza and Marlon Moraes, delivered a “Performance of the Night” winning submission stoppage of Mike Santiago. The victory was his ninth straight win.

A very athletic and flashy featherweight, Magomedsharipov is a well-rounded fighter with a deep well of unorthodox, and accurate, striking techniques. He looks like he could quickly develop into a contender at 145 pounds. Magomedsharipov (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets one-time WSOF bantamweight title challenger Sheymon Moraes (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

Moraes hasn’t fought since June 2016 due to a contract impasse with the WSOF. He defeated Luis Palomino by decision in that bout. If the 27-year-old Brazilian has acquired even the slightest dusting of cage rust he could find himself in deep trouble.

6. A hard road

The first female Chinese fighter to sign with the UFC, Yan Xiaonan is unbeaten in her past six fights. Nicknamed “Fury,” Xiaonan lives up to that moniker. She is almost recklessly aggressive in her striking style.

Xiaonan (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who has not fought for more than a year, faces Kailin Curran. The Hawaiian has struggled during her UFC run. Curran (4-5 MMA, 1-5 UFC) has only one win in six fights with the promotion. That victory came two years ago. She is currently on a three-fight losing skid.

The reason Curran remains employed by the UFC is due to her proclivity to put on entertaining fights. Expect this strawweight contest to fit that pattern.

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7. New guy, meet the newer guy

Bharat Khandare is the first Indian-born fighter to join the UFC. The former Super Fight League featherweight champion is an incredibly aggressive fighter with good strength. He’s also shown a heavy top game with powerful ground strikes. Khandare’s shortcomings are that he has a tendency to leave himself open for counterstrikes and he also telegraphs his takedowns. The 28-year-old recently came back from a break of nearly three years. He lost his return bout by first-round submission. The defeat ended his five-fight winning streak. Khandare has never left the second round.

Khandare (5-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces the more experienced Kenan Song (9-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in this bantamweight matchup. The 22-year-old, who is a late injury replacement, is sometimes overzealous in his striking, which might provide Khandare the opening he needs to get the fight to the mat. Yadong enters this contest on the strength of an April decision win.

8. Looking for a breakthrough

The heavyweight contest between Chase Sherman and Shamil Abdurakhimov features two fighters looking to establish a foothold in the division.

This battle is one of experience vs. potential. Abdurakhimov is a well-rounded fighter who has spent the majority of his 36 years competing in martial arts. A pro since 2008, he was close to a breakthrough in his most recent outing. Abdurakhimov (17-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) appeared to win the first three rounds of his UFC Fight Night 102 bout with Derrick Lewis before succumbing to strikes in the fourth stanza. Sherman’s (11-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) most recent outing, a decision win over Damian Grabowski was his best performance to date. The 28-year-old showed patience, poise and a nice assortment of strikes in that outing.

Don’t be surprised if the winner of this bout moves on to face a fighter in the bottom half of the rankings.

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9. Hoping for something better this time

Gina Mazany didn’t have much luck in her first UFC fight. She accepted a bout against Sara McMann on 16 days’ notice. She came in more than three pounds heavy for the bantamweight matchup. On fight night Mazany was unable to land a single strike before she tapped out at 1:14 of the first round. The loss was the first of her five-fight career.

Mazany does have three stoppage wins in her four victories, but it must be noted those four opponents combined for two victories.

Mazany’s opponent in this bantamweight bout, Yanan Wu (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), is eight years younger than Mazany (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), but has five more fights on her record. Her sole loss was a 2016 TKO at the hands of current Invicta FC bantamweight champion Yana Kunitskaya.

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10. Stay on the gas

Rolando Dy

Rolando Dy is better than his 0-2 record in the UFC suggests. A resilient fighter with a sound striking game, the 26-year-old struggles to stay active and keep the pressure on his opponent for prolonged periods. With his job possibly on the line, Dy can’t afford to lay back in the fight. (And it doesn’t help Dy missed the featherweight limit at Thursday’s weigh-ins, coming in at 148 pounds.)

Dy’s opponent, Wuliji Buren, makes his UFC debut in Shanghai. Buren (10-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has good wrestling and ground skills, but he hasn’t fought high-level competition. With that, it’s hard to get a read on just how well he’ll perform against Dy (8-6-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC), who has decent takedown defense.

Expect Dy to do everything in his power to keep this fight standing.

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC-Shanghai in-depth breakdown: Stylistic matchups, fight picks, best bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 122’s main-card bouts.

UFC Fight Night 122 takes place Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 38 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 75.5″
  • Last fight: Submission loss to Georges St-Pierre (Nov. 4, 2017)
  • Camp: RVCA Gym (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodx / Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC middleweight champion
+ “TUF 3” winner
+ Regional MMA titles
+ 18 KO victories
+ 3 submission wins
+ 12 first-round finishes
+ Consistent pace and pressure
^ Good cardio and conditioning
+ Excellent feints and footwork
^ Manages distance well
+ Accurate left hook
+ Underrated grappler
+ Good guard retentions and getups
– Dropped in 5 of his last 7 fights
+/- 5-3 against UFC southpaws

Kelvin Gastelum (13-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 26 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 71″
  • Last fight: Submission loss to Chris Weidman (July 22, 2017)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ “TUF 17” winner
+ 10th Planet jiu-jitsu purple belt
+ 7 KO victories
+ 4 submission wins
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ High-pressure approach
^ Good volume and combinations
+ Improved boxing
^ Accurate hooks and crosses
+ Hard left body kick
+ Solid wrestling and scrambling
+ Strong from front-headlock
^ Always looks for the back

Summary: The main event in Shanghai features a middleweight matchup between Michael Bisping and Kelvin Gastelum.

Originally slated to face Anderson Silva, who was pulled when he was flagged for a potential doping violation, Gastelum now will meet another former champion in Bisping.

Fresh off of a title loss that took place earlier this month at UFC 217, Bisping will be looking make an insane turnaround when he steps into the cage Saturday night. And with that being the glaring intangible heading into this fight, we are once again faced with uncertainty being the underlying theme in a headlining bout.

That aside, we still have a matchup of top-shelf middleweights on our hands, and I see these two producing potential fireworks on the feet.

An inherent pressure-fighter, we have recently started to see Gastelum’s skills come to fruition under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. Having a history of transforming high-level grapplers into dangerous strikers, Cordeiro has seemingly imparted the same knowledge onto Gastelum, who now incorporates crushing kicks to his already potent punches.

Staying in the Southern California scene, we have also watched Gastelum make measurable improvements to his boxing and footwork. In recent outings, we have seen Gastelum pivot more off of his right hand, which allowed him to take superior angles and get the jump on opponents.

Considering the speed advantage that Gastelum should have on paper, I would not be surprised to see him try to get his hands going early and often, especially from his left side.

As many now know, Bisping sustained an eye injury earlier in his career that required surgery. And though the true extent of his operating capacity may not be known, the Englishman has seemingly found himself susceptible to both punches and kicks from that side.

Still, Bisping is far from a sitting duck.

Since said incident, we have seen Bisping improve upon his hand and head positioning, as he seems to carry a heightened sense of urgency and awareness about his game. In fact, one could argue that Bisping’s work with Jason Parillo has been a big part of his late-career renaissance.

A striking coach with strong boxing roots, Parillo has helped many notable fighters grow, including lightweight legend B.J. Penn. In turn, we now see Bisping move much more fluidly with his footwork, which fuels his pulling and returning preferences.

Applying angles appropriately, the Englishman will also change his level more, which can open up his options and make him harder to hit. That said, it was Bisping who fell victim to a level-changing combination in his last outing when Georges St-Pierre dropped him with a left hook.

Against Gastelum, Bisping will likely have more potent threats firing at him from that side. However, given that Gastelum’s takedown threat isn’t as palpable as St-Pierre’s on paper, we may, oddly enough, see a smoother version of Bisping this time out.

Nevertheless, Gastelum will still have a ground game that the former champion will need to respect.

Despite also being bested via submission in his last outing, Gastelum has typically had an underrated grappling and transition game. A natural inside of a scramble, the Arizona state champion’s wrestling chops shine through in the way in which he goes about his business.

Whether he is floating from a front-headlock series or using Peterson or Granby roll to create reversal opportunities, Gastelum can be a handful for any fighter not equipped to stifle his game.

Should Gastelum elect to exercise these skills against the Englishman, he could present some interesting problems. But, like St-Pierre, Gastelum will also likely have to hurt Bisping before being able to work him over on the mat.

Even though wrestling pressure has been Bisping’s traditional foil, he surprisingly succeeds little control time in both wins and losses. Facilitated by active hips, the Englishman aggressively utilizes a butterfly hook or half-guard to create enough space to scoot his way to the fence.

Not afraid to turtle and stand if he needs to, Bisping displays excellent grip and hip awareness, which usually make it difficult to grab his back in the process of standing. But against more mobile fighters like St-Pierre or possibly Gastelum, this scenario can become much riskier in practice.

The oddsmakers have opened Gastelum as a clear 2-1 favorite, and the public seems to agree, driving the price onward and upward from there.

Bisping gave us a memorable 2016 that still has many rooting for him to finish his career well. The red flag, however, is the quick turnaround.

Not only did Bisping get dropped by a flush hook to the head recently, but he also sustained a plethora of hard elbows before eventually getting his back taken and finished. Couple that with being matched up against a younger, faster and harder-hitting fighter –– and it quickly becomes hard to forecast a positive outcome for the former champion.

Official pick: Gastelum inside the distance

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie