Anderson Silva will return to the Octagon for the first time in over a year at UFC Fight Night 84 when he takes on Michael Bisping at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, February 27.
Silva, one of the best MMA fighters in UFC history, was forced to sit out the last 12 months through suspension after performance-enhancing drugs were found in his system. But he is set to make his comeback against middleweight all-rounder Bisping in the main event.
Here are the latest odds ahead of the clash, via Odds Shark:
|Francisco Rivera vs. Brad Pickett||-235||+195||Pickett to win|
|Tom Breese vs. Keita Nakamura||-1000||+650||Breese to win|
|Gegard Mousasi vs. Thales Leites||-325||+625||Mousasi to win|
|Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping||-310||+225||Silva to win|
All eyes will be on the returning former champion for the matchup in England’s capital after a painful two-year period. In January 2015, The Spider worked his way back from a potentially career-ending leg break to beat Nick Diaz, before being caught taking illegal supplements. He's now 40, and the spotlight will once again be fully focused on the muay thai veteran.
However, it is Bisping who's determined to prevail in the highly anticipated bout with the ex-middleweight champion after a verbal back-and-forth in the build-up. The Brit expressed his disgust at the Brazilian legend’s behaviour during last week’s public workout, per James Dielhenn of Sky Sports:
Here's some inside information - the guy is an absolute fake.
He was passive-aggressive and condescending to me but I couldn't care less because we're going to fight. But then afterwards, his manager is calling my coach to ask me not to [criticise Anderson].
The guy is a fake who can speak English but chooses to use a translator. He showed me that he's too confident at the open workouts by messing around with his friends. Me? I had a solid workout, I'm not messing about.
In terms of the head-to-head, Bisping may never have a better chance to beat Silva. The UFC icon will enter the cage as the favourite due to his historic success through the late 2000s, when he reigned supreme in the division with 16 straight victories, as Bleacher Report’s Nathan McCarter noted.
Silva is well-rounded and a lethal striker, and his 77-inch reach plays an important part of his game plan. Indeed, due to his absence away from competitive action, it will be fascinating to see if his lightning-quick reactions and stamina have been affected.
Who will win the main event at UFC 84?
Bisping, 36, is the broader built of the two fighters and will target grounding his opponent where possible. He predicted the outcome of the fight during the open workout session, per Brad Popkin of MMA Mania, claiming, "I'm going to handle it the old-fashioned way by sticking this and this [fists] right in his face. This shin will connect with his chin [and] he will go down.”
Per Dielhenn, despite joining the UFC just months apart, the pair have never met inside the cage. Silva’s overwhelming success in the middleweight division over the past few years precedes him, meaning he will be expected to make a successful return to action. Decay to his ability is yet to be seen; however, the lengthy spell away means this is a difficult clash to judge, especially with Bisping bolstered by a home crowd.