UFC 204: Early Preview of Bisping-Henderson 2
The onset of the Michael Bisping title era surprised plenty, including us, when Bisping knocked out former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 as a longshot underdog. Bisping’s first title defense, however, will see him as a betting favorite, currently running -230 over challenger Dan Henderson at +190 according to 5Dimes.com.
It’s very rare to see a 37-year old champion in today’s shark tank of MMA, and the selection of his opponent in the 46-year old Henderson has a lot to do with why Bisping is a betting favorite, despite the outcome of their first meeting.
At UFC 100, Dan Henderson secured a permanent place in highlight reel glory with a vicious knockout of Bisping, a culmination of their coaching feud in The Ultimate Fighter reality series. Yet despite that knockout by Henderson, already early prognosticators are choosing Bisping to successfully defend his title, and simultaneously exact his revenge from UFC 100. As noted, that will require Bisping to avoid the big right hand of Henderson, a threat so famous it’s known specifically as the “H-Bomb.”
The early matchup stats clearly show that Bisping is indeed the more technical striker, displaying better accuracy and strike avoidance, while simultaneously maintaining a much higher strike volume than the more reserved Henderson.
And while both men have been knocked down many times, Henderson is already one of the most frequently knocked down fighters in history – a trend that has only accelerated in the waning days of his career.
Certainly, Henderson’s single-strike power is greater than Bisping’s, but the liability of Henderson’s diminished durability makes him an easy target for a more accurate and busy striker. Since odds were first released by oddsmakers, Bisping’s status as the favorite has held steady in the more than 2-to-1 range, and should remain there until fight night. Neither man will withstand a clean shot from the other, but chances are good that Bisping will be the first to land one. And that means a decision is less likely overall, while a Bisping KO is a good possibility, likely to the delight of what will be a strongly vocal hometown crowd.
Stay tuned for deeper dissection of this matchup as UFC 204 approaches.