UFC Fight Night 38 Fight Breakdown: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (-225) vs Dan Henderson (+185)

Mauricio Rua The main event of UFC Fight Night 38 is a five-round light heavyweight rematch between legends Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan “Hendo” Henderson. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Rua as a -225 favorite (bet $225 to win $100) while Henderson is a +185 underdog (bet $100 to win $185). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Rua at -215 and Henderson at +165, meaning there has been some action on Rua as the line has tightened. I agree with the betting action as I’m also picking Rua to win the fight. Here’s why. Rua (22-8) is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and is generally regarded as one of the most lethal strikers to ever compete inside the Octagon. He is also known for his durability, having never been knocked out cold despite facing some of the heaviest hitters in the sport. The 32-year-old came up through PRIDE and became a household name in that organization with his highlight-reel knockouts and back-and-forth wars that led him to accumulate a 16-2 record, but since coming to the UFC he has been inconsistent, going 6-6 overall. However, consider the opponents he has faced inside the eight-sided steel cage and his record doesn’t look so bad in hindsight. In the UFC, Rua hold impressive KO wins over Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Brandon Vera, James Te Huna, and Mark Coleman, and in his last appearance he showed he still has gas left in the tank as he knocked out Te Huna in highlight-reel fashion. The UFC took notice of the victory, and now Rua will get a chance to avenge one of his losses when he takes on Henderson in a rematch of their UFC 139 war that “Hendo” won via controversial unanimous decision. Henderson (29-11) is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion as well as the former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion, and when he retires he will go down in the history books as one of the greatest fighters to ever play the game. The 43-year-old is known for his exceptionally powerful right hand, his solid wrestling base, and his granite chin which has allowed him to take massive amounts of punishment in fights only to come back and win them. Just 6-5 overall in the UFC, Henderson is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, but before calling him washed up, consider he lost to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort — or, in other words, three of the best fighters of all time. Despite the losses, the UFC still re-signed Henderson and they booked him to fight Rua in a rematch of their UFC 139 bout that “Hendo” took via unanimous decision. The first time these two fought, Henderson got the edge due to winning the first three rounds, but this time around, “Hendo” is a little bit older and a little bit slower and there’s a very good chance the judges in Brazil won’t be as nice to him as the judges in California were the first time they fought. Either way, expect a war when Henderson steps into the cage, and if this fight is anything like the first one between these two was, it’s going to be one of the best fights of the year. Like the last fight, I expect another all-out war between these two legends of the sport. Unlike last time, though, where Henderson got his hand raised after a back-and-forth fight, this time around I believe it will be Rua who has the upper hand, and I think he will be able to beat down Henderson after he tires out en route to a fourth or fifth-round TKO stoppage. At the current line of -225 Rua/+185 Henderson, I believe this is a favorite or pass situation. The line on Rua is a tad higher than where I’d ideally like it to be to recommend a bet, but at the same time I don’t see Henderson winning and don’t see any value in his underdog line either. As for props, the total for this bout has been set at OVER 2.5 rounds. I think anything -200 or under for that total is a good price to pay as I definitely see this fight going past that mark.

Written by Adam Martin.

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