EA SPORTS UFC 2’s in-game simulation engine predicts the winner of the UFC 204 main event – Bisping vs Henderson 2.
Who will come out on top in the middleweight title fight?
Michael Bisping labelled his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title victory in June as “destiny”. Dogged determination would be a far more fitting summation, though.
The Brit’s gruelling career has been almost poetic in its underestimation. Long considered a solid, but not spectacular mixed martial artist, few thought it conceivable the UK would ever boast a UFC champion – let alone it’d be Bisping who’d make the breakthrough.
To this day though, even with UFC gold wrapped around his waist, there are those who struggle to pinpoint exactly what he’s good at. And it’s even more perplexing to them that the 37-year-old is enjoying the most prosperous period of his career at an age when retirement should call.
But Bisping has never been a fighter reliant on strength or athleticism, though his cardio output has always been peerless. His style has proved more age-proof than those who depend on speed and explosiveness, while his subtle improvements over the years in technique, within a framework of added experience, has held off any physical deterioration.
It’s meant that when he meets Dan Henderson for a second time in the main event of Sunday’s UFC 204 in Manchester, he won’t just be defending the belt for the first time, but that he’s also fighting to secure to a legacy as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history.
It’s been a truly remarkable journey and one which will have come full circle from the personal nadir of a devastating defeat at the hands, or more accurately the right-hand, of Henderson at UFC 100 in July 2009.
That second-round knockout, vicious in its intention and cold-blooded in its execution, has formed a silhouette which has haunted Bisping’s career. But in the face of adversity the Lancastrian has always remained relevant in the 185lbs division, using both his mouth and his fists to manoeuvre himself into title contention.
Yet when it came to the No. 1 contender fights, he would fall again – three more times in fact to Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold. That trend changed drastically after the last defeat in November 2014, though.
Fast forward to now and Bisping is currently riding a four-fight win streak dating back to April 2015. He followed a career-defining victory over the legendary Anderson Silva by finally getting his shot at the belt when he filled in for the injured Chris Weidman on twoweeks notice at UFC 199.
He was considered a huge underdog given the champion, Rockhold, had defeated him via a quick and easy guillotine choke in 2014, but he shocked the world with a first-round knockout. Not bad for a fighter who has long been denounced as lacking the knockout power to be considered elite.
Now, immortality awaits and with victory on Sunda, appreciation too.
For years he was the only UK name and without Bisping, MMA would not be thriving both in Britain and in Europe today. His personality, reputation and name value has carried the sport outside of North and South American and for that, a Hall-of-Fame spot is simply undeniable. He has been the flag bearer for the European market and you can make an argument that no belt was needed, and neither is revenge on Sunday, to cement his place among the greats.
But for Bisping victory would be more than just number 20 – the most in UFC history – it would provide him with a satisfying salute to those who have doubted him.
We take a closer look at four fights away from the main event which are not to be missed at UFC 204 in Manchester.
Who do you think will win?
MAIN CARD (185LBS)
MAIN CARD (265LBS)
FIGHT PASS CARD (170LBS)
PRELIMINARY CARD (155LBS)