UFC Fight Night 68 June 6th, 2015 Middleweight Matchup: Dan Henderson vs Tim Boetsch By @fightnomics The main event at #UFCNOLA features two fighters with a combined 3-9 record of late, but that doesn’t mean we’re in for a boring fight. Both Dan Henderson and Tim Boetsch have paid their dues, and each have pulled off epic comebacks and upsets. In fact, Henderson has averaged just a +210 underdog in his most recent UFC run, while Boetsch has averaged +140 through his UFC career. But they both can’t be underdogs this weekend, and someone will turn their streak around. It’s the type of anything-could-happen fight that could be a snoozer, or could become a legendary slobberknocker with a surprise ending. On a card full of very close odds, the main event is no different. Overall it’s the closest card of betting lines we’ve seen since the UFC on FX 3 card in 2012. The 12th ranked Middleweight Boetsch opened a slight favorite and has risen to -190, with the underdog Henderson currently at +165. Let’s see if the numbers support the lines. Summary Stats:
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Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional tale of the tape is pretty glaring in the age category, with Boetsch having an unusual 10-year Youth advantage over Henderson. With size and stance being equal, this lone advantage is enough to warrant a big edge for Boetsch. As a 34-year old fighter, he’s not accustomed to being the younger guy, so this fight should have a different feel for him. Add on the fact that Henderson is now well into living in a post-TRT world (and we saw what that did to Vitor Belfort’s physique), and edge for Boetsch gets even bigger. Striking Matchup: It’s a clean sweep in striking metrics for Boetsch, which may surprise some. Both guys are reserved in their standup and have a slow pace, but technically Boetsch gets all the advantages on the feet. He’s more accurate and has better strike avoidance, he’s actually more powerful on a per strike basis, and he’s definitely more durable and able to take a punch than Henderson. As long as this fight stays standing, Boetsch has big advantages and only needs to land one clean shot to drop Henderson. The problem is that Henderson has been dropped plenty of times, and still managed to stay in the fight or even come back for a win. The game plan for Henderson on the feet is to find range for his infamous “H-Bomb” right hand and land the one punch that puts his opponent away. That’s worked as recently as versus Shogun Rua, but Boetsch’s chin here is what will mitigate the risk of this scenario. Boetsch has faced powerful strikers before (Lombard, Rockhold, Dollaway), but it hasn’t been his chin that worked against him. Rather, his conditioning has been hit or miss. Sometimes he can go all three rounds, or even come from behind for a late TKO, and sometimes he’s just pressured and fatigued early, as against Mark Munoz. When he uses a reserved pace and keeps it standing, he can last longer – and that’s how Henderson prefers to fight. So again, the scenario on paper seems to favor Boetsch to pace himself and land the first big punch of the fight, which may be all that’s needed. And the sooner, the better… Grappling Matchup: Because on the ground the metrics clearly favor Henderson. Hendo gets advantages in takedown success, takedown defense, and overall ground control. But Henderson hasn’t had the best fight IQ lately, choosing to stand and trade with dangerous strikers and being reluctant to go to ground. Should he get wise here, Henderson has a good shot at grinding Boetsch down early and setting up a wrestling heavy upset resembling what Munoz did to Boetsch. That’s a big “if.” For whatever reasons, Henderson’s first instinct is usually to start trading leather, and he attempts takedowns at a below average rate, and more as a Plan B. When he shoots from a distance, he’s largely unsuccessful, so he also needs to get close to Boetsch if the fight is going to go to the ground. Henderson’s experience, wrestling, and no-quit perseverance should keep the lines in check more so than his H-bomb. If he’s going to pull off the upset, he has a better chance in doing so on the mat than on the feet. And the longer the fight goes, the more each man’s hands will drop, so either one could get the finish late. Reed’s Pick: Fight Does Not Go the Distance (Boetsch by TKO) Click for latest MMA odds Reed’s Recommended Play: The current price of for Boetsch is still less than -200, so he’s a reasonable but not great straight up play. You’ll get a little more value on the TKO or ITD prop finish for Boetsch at -125, because that’s really the main way he’ll win this. But if he doesn’t get the early finish, his chances will start dropping precipitously, and he could easily fold under Henderson’s top control and ground and pound. Both men will be vulnerable late. The Under of 1.5 rounds is currently +120, the Over -140. It’s a low limit, one that says this fight may be over early. But both men are slow starters on the feet, so the under is risky even at slight plus money. The safest play of all is that this doesn’t go the full five rounds, which at -500 can only be paired with others in a parlay. The early finish is hard to call, while the eventual finish is much more likely given that both guys will gas in later rounds probably eat some punches. The worst case scenario for bettors (and for fans) is if Henderson turns into a wet blanket in rounds 3-5 with neither having enough energy to mount an offensive finish. Though if you’re really worried about that scenario, Henderson by Decision runs +950 as a hedge. For information on getting the “Fightnomics” the book, go here. Want to put your knowledge to the test in Fantasy MMA for cash? Use the code “FIGHTNOMICS” for an immediate 25% deposit bonus at Kountermove.