Michael Bisping will put his UFC middleweight title on the line in his home town of Manchester against veteran Dan Henderson on October 8.
The fight will headline UFC 204 and was confirmed by the UFC on Monday:
UFC Europe @UFCEurope
It's on!! #UFC204 @Bisping vs. @DanHendo in Manchester on Oct 8!! 🎟 https://t.co/9poyBi5h2d https://t.co/NGcdXsbZBf2016-8-15 08:00:04
Other eye-catching bouts for the night were also revealed:
UFC Europe @UFCEurope
More HUGE bouts for #UFC204 in Manchester!! Tickets on sale Sept 9 ➡️ https://t.co/7LGTj4q0yZ https://t.co/3JS4YRkas82016-8-15 08:15:05
The main event will be a rematch of the pair’s tussle at UFC 100, which Henderson won via second-round knockout. Bisping won the middleweight title at UFC 199 in June, upsetting Luke Rockhold with a first-round stoppage.
For Bisping, it’ll be a memorable evening, with the fight scheduled to be held at the Manchester Arena, as confirmed by the UFC.
Stepping in as a late replacement for Weidman at UFC 199, he was not expected to pose too much trouble for Rockhold. However, six months on from that defining night, he’ll return to Manchester as the champion and defend his title in front of plenty of adoring fans.
While that’ll excite the supporters of the sport from the United Kingdom, they could be in for a long night at the Manchester Arena before they get to see the champion in action, as noted here by Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie:
Chamatkar Sandhu @SandhuMMA
The event will start at 11pm with the main card kicking off at 3am. Depending on how fights go Bisping vs Henderson should be on around 5am.2016-8-15 08:03:01
It will most likely be worth the wait, as there’s plenty of history between these two. Indeed, Bisping recently spoke about the nature of the finish from their previous bout—Henderson struck a grounded and unconscious Bisping—and how “that could have left me severely brain damaged,” per Sirius XM (h/t Yahoo Sports).
In the same slot, Bisping also said he expects Henderson to try to “cheat” his way to victory due to the fact the 45-year-old is in the twilight of his career. The American’s bout with Bisping will be his 47th professional fight, although he’s yet to win a UFC title.
Despite the angst bristling between the pair, Bleacher Report’s Nick Akerman believes both men will receive fair backing from the Manchester crowd:
Nick Akerman @Nakerman
Bisping vs. Henderson is a win-win for the UFC. Manchester crowd will shower both fighters with love no matter what happens. Exciting!2016-8-15 08:23:02
Aside from the main event, there are some potentially thrilling fights on the undercard, most notably the showdown between Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi.
The former lost his last bout against Ronaldo Souza, and despite so much experience, he will find it tough to bounce back against the enigmatic Dutchman. Mousasi turned in a brilliant performance at UFC 200 to beat Thiago Santos, his second win of 2016 after beating Thales Leites in London earlier this year.