UFC Fight Night 49 Fight Breakdown: Benson Henderson (-350) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (+290)

Ben-Henderson The main event of UFC Fight Night 49 is a five-round lightweight battle between former UFC lightweight champ Benson “Smooth” Henderson and top contender Rafael “RDA” Dos Anjos. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Henderson as a -350 favorite (bet $350 to win $100) while dos Anjos is a +290 underdog (bet $100 to win $290). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Henderson opened as a -300 favorite and RDA opened as a +200 dog, meaning there has been some action on the favorite Henderson thus far. I agree with the line movement as I’m picking Henderson to win the fight. Here’s why. Henderson (21-3) has been excellent in the UFC, going 9-1 overall in the promotion against some of the best lightweight fighters on the planet, with the only loss coming to UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The 30 year old has wins in the UFC over Frankie Edgar (x2), Josh Thomson, Rustam Khabilov, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Mark Bocek to have proven himself as an elite fighters and one of the toughest outs at 155lbs. He has excellent offensive wrestling which allows him to take his opponents down and beat them up on the matt with ground and pound, he has an excellent kickboxing game, fantastic submission defence, a solid chin, some of the best cardio in the business and a great fight IQ. In short, he’s one of the most consistent fighters in the UFC and usually a very safe bet. His experience in five-round fights should help play dividends here against dos Anjos, who has never gone five rounds before, so while it should be a relatively competitive fight like most Henderson fights are, he still holds most of the edges in the bout and deserves to be a big favorite. Dos Anjos (21-7) has been on a roll in the UFC in recent years, going 6-1 in his last seven fights with wins over Jason High, Donald Cerrone, Evan Dunham and Anthony Njokuani, to name a few, and with his only recent loss coming to top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. At 29 years of age, RDA is in his prime and is one of the best fighters in the world at 155lbs. He has improving striking on the feet but he also has excellent submission ability as well. His wrestling isn’t amazing, but it’s usually good enough to keep his fights standing and win them. The win over Cerrone was impressive, especially looking at how hot Cerrone has been since then, but the loss to Nurmagomedov was definitive and if he looks that flat against Henderson he will have a hard time winning the fight. Although RDA has some edges in this matchup, particularly his striking, he also has a lot of areas where he’s worse off and that’s why he is one of the biggest underdogs in the UFC this weekend. This should be a very exciting mixed martial arts match that I see taking place both on the feet and on the ground. Although RDA has improved takedown defence, I believe that Henderson is too strong a wrestler and I don’t think he will have the cardio to stop Henderson’s relentless pressure in the later rounds. Although RDA may win the first round or two if the fight stays on the feet – he is the better striker, in my opinion – Henderson should be able to get the takedowns to win at least three rounds on the judges’ scorecards and earn the decision victory. At -350, I like Henderson as the first piece of a two-team parlay. Although I like RDA, I think Henderson is a bad matchup for him and I just can’t see him winning this fight, so I do see value in the current line on Henderson as I believe he should be closer to -400 for this particular matchup. So I think the Henderson moneyline should be a winning parlay piece. Although I do lean Henderson to win a decision, laying juice on that prop isn’t worth – instead, there could be some value on Henderson wins inside the distance, which pays out at . But I think the safest bet here is to just play the moneyline.

Written by Adam Martin.

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