UFC Shanghai had its main event switched on short notice, but Cageside Press still has their picks set for the Saturday morning card.
|Staff Writer||Salikhov vs. Garcia||Caceres vs. Guan||Jingliang vs. Ottow||Bisping vs. Gastelum|
|Heath Harshman (89-43)|
|Mike McClory (68-44)|
|Dan Doherty (79-53)|
|Mike Straus (17-12)|
|Paarth Pande (69-51)|
|Jay Anderson (74-58)|
|Gabriel Gonzalez (31-25)|
|Eddie Law (63-63)|
UFC Shanghai went from a lousy card with an intriguing main event, to a lousy card with an important main event in a matter of weeks. Anderson Silva unfortunately failed a USADA drug test, but that opened up the opportunity for the last middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, to step in against the ever-improving Kelvin Gastelum.
Michael Bisping is just three weeks removed from his title fight loss to Georges St. Pierre, which has fans worried about his health heading into a bout with a dangerous striker like Gastelum. Bisping’s title reign lasted nearly a year and a half, but he only defended his title once before UFC 217. Kelvin Gastelum is officially 1-1 with one no contest since moving up to 185-pounds, but the no contest was a first-round knockout overturned for marijuana usage. Five of eight writers believe Bisping will suffer a two-fight losing streak for the first time in his MMA career.
Li Jingliang is China’s biggest star in MMA and is beloved by UFC fans for the constant action in his fights. “The Leech” is on a three-fight winning streak with a pair of knockouts and a Fight of the Night bonus. Zak Ottow entered the Octagon for the first time last year and has since gone 2-1, with all of his fights ending with a split decision. Cageside Press is not split on this one at all, with Jingliang being picked unanimously.
Wang Guan is a very promising Chinese bantamweight with a 19-1-1 record including 14 knockouts and 13 first round finishes. He will be making his promotional debut against the well-known Bruce Leeroy AKA Alex Caceres. Caceres recently stopped a two fight skid with a second-round TKO, and has been with the promotion since 2011. Cageside Press believes experience will be the key here, with six of eight writers siding with Bruce Leeroy.
Muslim Salikhov is another scary Dagestani fighter making his UFC debut. What makes him stand out though, are his many gold medals in Sanshou, which is otherwise known as Chinese kickboxing. Salikhov is 12-1 in MMA with 10 knockouts, and he’s knocked out his last two opponents with spinning back kicks. Let that sink in. Alex Garcia is a physically intimidating fighter with a 4-3 record inside the Octagon. Cageside Press is on the hype train, with all but one writer picking Salikhov.