The UFC is planning a return to the United Kingdom, specifically Manchester, on October 26th, and they will be working to fill the card around a middleweight bout featuring Mark Munoz and Britain’s own Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping. It is a contest between two fighters who will likely need another win or two after this one to get back in title contention, and the loser it at risk of sliding into irrelevance. Bisping will defintely have the home court edge, as come fight time, the British fans will let Munoz know he is far from home, and that will make this line a very close line. Bisping really needs to put together a winning streak, and it has been well documented that if he does he will likely receive a title shot in return. He has hovered near the top of the division, but on two occasions (Sonnen, Belfort) he has faltered when a title shot was there for the taking. Bisping always seems motivated for his fights, but the added pressure to perform in this fight will be there. As for Munoz, a lot of the same can be said for him. He had fought his way into the title picture, then lost to Chris Weidman to snap a four fight winning streak. Munoz then spent a year recovering from injuries and getting fat (he reportedly ballooned to over 260 lbs) and falling out of the title picture at 185 lbs. Munoz returned and looked good in fighting out a UD against Tim Boetsch at UFC 162. At 35 years old, he needs to avoid the depression that led to him pounding down twinkies. Both need that second win in a row to start a streak. All the factors of the home court advantage and the different motivations of both men will serve to make this a close fight at the books, but in the octagon it is a fight that Munoz really should win. Though Bisping is a solid stand up fighter, he will be in danger on his feet as Munoz seems to throw with more intent. Taking the stocky wrestler Munoz down is not an option for Bisping, so Munoz is the one who will control where the fight occurs. Munoz can close the distance and create an ugly fight up against the fence, or he can go for the ground and pound with a takedown. Munoz also is the one with one punch KO power in this fight, something else for Bisping to be leery of. The UFC has really floundered in the UK, and they could certainly use a Bisping win to give the fans a star of their own. Bisping is the best and best known of the British talent in the UFC, but it may be that the last year was spent exposing Bisping as a less than championship caliber fighter. Bisping’s best chance is to have this settle into a stand up fight, where he could get the KO (unlikely) or win a decision by being active with kicks and punches at a distance. It will be interesting to see how raucous and behind Bisping the crowd is. The UFC has run off a string of events in Brazil, and the success rate of Brazilian fighters over foreigners coming to their home turf is extremely high. Bisping, whose personality can be described as acerbic, could really use that hometown boost, and the British fight fans can certainly deliver that to him. At the end of the day, in a close to pick em fight, I’m taking Munoz on this one.