If things had gone according to plan, the UFC’s November 26 debut in Shanghai, China, would have been headlined by a middleweight scrap between former champion Anderson Silva and dangerous contender Kelvin Gastelum. Regrettably, a potential USADA violation recently forced Silva out of this planned contest, leaving the UFC with mere weeks to find a replacement opponent for Gastelum.
Enter Michael Bisping who, until UFC 217 earlier this month, owned the UFC middleweight crown. Just weeks after losing his title to resurgent former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Bisping stepped up to replace Silva, saving the UFC’s debut in the largely untapped stronghold of mainland China.
Despite his status as a very recent champion, however, Bisping will step into the cage inside Shanghai’s Mercedes Benz Arena as an underdog. The sportsbook William Hill has now posted the first line for this fight (via BestFightOdds.com), and it has identified Bisping as a slight +120 favorite, while Gastelum has been pegged as a minor -161 favorite. This means that a successful $100 bet on Bisping will earn you $120, while it would take a successful bet of $161 on Gastelum to win $100.
Bisping’s loss to St-Pierre came by way of rear-naked choke. That said, the former champ absorbed ample punishment before the fight ending choke, having been dropped by a left hook and pummelled with a storm of ground and pound. This very recent dose of punishment is probably the reason for his underdog status.
Gastelum, meanwhile, also lost his last fight by submission, having recently been choked by former champion Chris Weidman. This loss was preceded by a destruction of Vitor Belfort, which was unfortunately overturned when Gastelum tested positive for marijuana metabolites, and a thumping of Tim Kennedy.
Who do you think wins this Kelvin Gastelum vs. Michael Bisping showdown in Shanghai, China?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/11/2017.