UFC on FOX 7 Picks: Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez

Benson HendersonUFC on FOX 7 HP Pavilion, San Jose, California Saturday, April 20, 2013 Lightweight Title: Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez Fight Breakdown: The undisputed lightweight championship of the world is on the line in the main event of UFC on FOX 7 as UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson takes on former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who will be making his UFC debut. Henderson is currently a -275 favorite (bet $275 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers, while Melendez is a +235 underdog (bet $100 to win $235). Henderson (18-2) has won six-straight fights to start his UFC career, including two victories over Frankie Edgar and wins over Clay Guida, Jim Miller, and Nate Diaz, which came in his last outing at UFC on FOX 5. That’s a who’s who of the UFC lightweight division, and these wins are the reason Henderson is ranked No. 6 in the MMA Oddsbreaker Pound-for-Pound Rankings. The 29-year-old is an extremely well-rounded mixed martial artist who possesses exceptional grappling, vicious leg kicks, heart and will, cardio for days, and size, as he’s one of the biggest lightweights out there. He also seems to be well liked by the judges, as he won two controversial decisions over Edgar. In a nutshell, he’s a stud, and he’s someone that’s hard to bet against because he always seems to get the job done. However, if Henderson has any weakness it is his boxing, and that’s one of Melendez’ strengths, making this is a very intriguing matchup for the undisputed title. Melendez (21-2) is finally making his UFC debut after a career mostly spent fighting for Strikeforce and in Japan, where he fought for organizations such as PRIDE, K-1, and Shooto. The 31-year-old is a very well-rounded fighter who possesses excellent boxing, strong wrestling, and dangerous BJJ, and he holds notable career victories over Josh Thomson, Shinya Aoki, and Clay Guida. He’ll be looking to make a splash in his UFC debut in a fight that will be very tough, but also winnable. What Melendez needs to do is he needs to stop Henderson’s takedowns and keep the fight on the feet because, even though Henderson has great leg kicks, he’s been exposed by better boxers before and Melendez’ boxing is top notch. Hopefully Melendez has been training his takedown defence, though, because Henderson’s plan is almost certainly to take this fight to the mat and beat him there. But if Melendez can stop the takedowns, he can make things very interesting, and he could possibly walk away with the upset. Fight Prediction: Melendez will have success on the feet in the first couple of rounds and may even win a few of them if he’s able to stop the takedowns. However, he will start to tire as Henderson uses his size effectively to grind on him and eventually Henderson will get the takedowns and use his dominant ground game to smother Melendez, damage him, and win a decision. Adam’s Pick: Henderson via decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Henderson opened -205 and now he’s been steamed up to -275 and it could go even higher as the event is still a few days left. At this point a straight bet on Henderson is out of the question, so think about using him in parlays but don’t get too crazy as Melendez is certainly talented enough to pull off the upset.

Written by Adam Martin.

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