The Manchester Arena plays host to UFC 204 this weekend, but it’s fair to say the event will be one for the night owls among us.
That’s because the trade-off for having such a major mixed martial arts event in the UK is the fights must take place at a time to suit the US pay-per-view audience. That means the main card won’t begin until 3am Sunday morning in Manchester.
Hopefully the crowd in the arena will keep themselves awake long enough to enjoy the massive main event for the UFC middleweight title between home favourite Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping and a retiring Dan Henderson, as they are expected to make the walk to the octagon sometime between 4.30am to 5am.
Yes, you did read that correctly. Even if Henderson pulls off the shock and topples Bisping for the title, he plans to hand it right back and ride off into the sunset.
To be fair at 46 years old and with a 47th fight on the horizon, it would be a fairy-tale ending to already legendary career for the outsider.
For Bisping the fight is also hugely significant moment in his career. He stunned the MMA world to become the UK’s first ever UFC champion after coming on 17 days notice to knock out Luke Rockhold in what’s considered one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.
Now he’s got his first title defence at the historic Manchester Arena an hour away from where he grew up in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
‘The Count’ heads into bout against his aging opponent as a big favourite, this is despite the fact when the pair last met in the octagon Henderson knocked him out inside two rounds at UFC 100 in 2009.
Unfortunately for Henderson Father Time is looming right behind him in terms of his career and he’s lost six of his last ten contests.
Confidence will also be running through Bisping’s veins given that he’s won his last four bouts in-a-row and you just can’t see him going down at home.
When you look through both men’s records you have to feel that a knockout or TKO at will force a result on Sunday morning, as both have made a bloody good living making people hit the canvas.
Another thing the stats reveal is that round 3 maybe the best to place for your money if you fancy a Bisping knockout. That bet comes at and ‘The Count’ has won half his 18 UFC victories in that round, admittedly some by decision.
Being one of the best brawlers in the history of the company, Henderson will always have a puncher’s chance of landing a knockout anytime at , but Bisping should have Manchester wide awake by putting Henderson to bed in Sunday’s early hours.