Remove Gegard Mousasi and insert Anderson Silva for the UFC’s return to London in February of 2016. It was announced on Thursday that the former middleweight champion will go up against Micheal Bisping. It would be Silva’s first fight back since his year long suspension after failing pre and post fight drug tests for his UFC 183 bout against Nick Diaz.
A main event between Mousasi and Bisping had originally been announced several weeks ago. Obviously things have changed dramatically as it was rumored that Silva would face Vitor Belfort upon his return. Though no official comment was given but Luke Rockhold’s victory over Chris Weidman may have changed the UFC’s plans for Belfort as he owns a knockout win over the new middleweight champion.
Silva (33-6) is going through what is possibility the roughest patch in his career. Following back-to-back loses to Chris Weidman and suffering a devastating leg injury he had to sit out a year serving his suspension for failing multiple drug tests back in January.
Bisping (27-7) has put together a two-fight winning streak after suffering a submission loss to Luke Rockhold in November of last year. Prior to his current win streak, Bisping had alternated wins and losses for the previous eight bouts. He still remains of the the UFC’s most polarizing figures as people either love him or hate him.
The event takes place February 27 at The O2 in London and will stream exclusively on the UFC Fight Pass streaming service. Silva’s placement could also help promote the online subscription and may be a sign of things to come as the UFC may start putting its bigger stars on Fight Pass exclusive events. The company placed one of its fastest rising stars, Paige VanZant, in the main event of a Fight Pass event this year. Having more stars and big fights could lead to a subscription hike for the steaming channel.