A fight that should thrill old school fight fans has been added to UFC 204, expected to take place October 8 in Manchester, England. That night, former UFC champion Vitor Belfort will meet with Pride and Dream star Gegard Mousasi in a throwback fight that should provide fireworks. The news was first reported by Combate.

The card, expected to feature a headliner of middleweight champion Michael Bisping defending his title against the man who brutally knocked him out at UFC 100, Dan Henderson, has yet to be officially announced. However, it appears all but a done deal, and should be a thriller for longtime fans of MMA with names like Hendo, Moose, and Belfort attached. More importantly, this is a fight that could produce a new contender at 185lbs, as Mousasi (39-6-2) enters the night on a two fight win streak with victories over Thales Leites and Thiago Santos. One of the better known fighters in the UFC not to have secured a title shot, a win over Belfort, despite the Brazilian being on the downside of his career, could put him within striking distance.

Belfort (25-12), meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from the first non-title fight loss since 2009. That was to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who many feel should be the man fighting Michael Bisping this fall.Belfort came up short in title shots against Jon Jones and Chris Weidman in recent memory, and is a long way from getting back into the title picture, but a win over Mousasi would at least correct course and get him sailing in the right direction.

As noted, it is Jacare who realistically should be the man facing Bisping at UFC 204. However, given Henderson’s status as a legend in the sport, and his announcement that his next fight would likely be his last, the UFC went with nostalgia (and the bigger draw, frankly) for Bisping’s first title defense. Jacare, meanwhile, will remain next in line.

That means that even with a win, Mousasi isn’t about to cash in a ticket to a quick title shot. However, the middleweight picture could be very different come October 8, especially if Henderson should win and do as threatened and retire. Were that to that happen, one could see a Mousasi-Jacare fight for the vacant middleweight strap (if not a four man tournament featuring Weidman and Luke Rockhold). The two have met before, with Mousasi securing the Dream middleweight title in a 2008 bout in Japan.

Regardless, expect Mousasi vs. Belfort to bring fireworks. Belfort, while having fallen a notch or two in the past year, remains a dangerous striker, and Mousasi, despite his laid back style, is capable of explosive output. It looks like UFC 204 is quickly becoming a must-see event.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.