Hollywood couldn’t have dreamt up a matchup with more compelling storylines than Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson 2 at UFC 204. Somehow, the fact that it’s a title match is the least meaningful component of it all.
Let’s check out the fight preview and UFC odds for this fight.
Michael Bisping’s Odds
Let’s start with the fact that Michael Bisping is the middleweight champion. For a decade, he’s been the stepping stone fight, the guy that up-and-comers called out because he was a big name, but ultimately beatable.
Even as a perennial contender, nobody thought he had the goods to be a champion. He didn’t have enough power, couldn’t handle elite wrestlers, wasn’t an elite athlete, etc. etc.
Even his title shot against Luke Rockhold was a stroke of luck. Stepping up on two weeks notice due to an injury to Chris Weidman, Bisping was as high as a +590 underdog in the UFC betting odds. Then he went out and knocked out Rockhold in the first round and scored a frontrunner for knockout of the year.
However, countless UFC fans are still excited about his fights this year.
This guy needs no introduction. An MMA legend, Hendo has won titles in Pride, Strikeforce and even has an Olympic silver medal in wrestling. The first time these two met, it was at UFC 100 in 2009 – then the biggest card in the promotion’s history.
After a heated war of words, Henderson landed one of the cleanest H-Bombs of his career flush on the chin of the Brit, knocking him out cold before his back even hit the mat. Then, Hendo launched himself through the air to land a forearm on his unconscious opponent’s face, “just to shut him up a little bit.”
The Stakes Have Never Been Higher
Bisping’s punchface became the subject of a hilarious Photoshop battle. Henderson adopted his midflight silhouette as the logo of his clothing company. And for six years, Bisping has had to watch highlight reels of himself getting knocked out cold. Even if Bisping wanted to forget, he couldn’t. Now, he has a chance for revenge.
What’s more, this is Dan Henderson’s last fight – win or lose. He could walk away with the one accolade that has eluded him in two decades as a pro fighter: a UFC championship belt. Will he ride off into the sunset, or will Bisping exact a long-awaited avenge? Like I said, even Hollywood couldn’t make this up.
With the storylines out of the way, let’s go over your MMA betting options. All odds courtesy of BookMaker.eu, where you can bet online on nearly every fight card. (UFC odds are updated daily.)
UFC 204 Main Event – Middleweight Championship
Dan Henderson +190
Michael Bisping -225
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -105, under -115
UFC 204 Odds Analysis
Bisping is more than a 2-1 UFC betting favorite, and you’d have to bet $225 to win $100. Though he’s been fighting in the UFC since 2006, he has maintained a top-10 status for the majority of his career. That still holds true today, while Henderson has been on a steep decline for years. This explains Bisping’s status as a heavy favorite, even though Henderson has already beaten him.
The over/under for this five round championship fight is split down the middle at 2.5 rounds, with the under as the more expensive play at -115. Henderson isn’t built for prolonged wars anymore, and oddsmakers have set the totals accordingly.
Who Has the Knockout Power in This Fight?
Henderson is 46 years and is just 3-6 in his past nine fights. His age, compounded with the UFC’s ban of TRT – which Hendo was a known user – has sapped the legend of almost every physical advantage he once possessed. The longtime Team Quest captain is slower and weaker than ever. He no longer even has the strength to use his Olympic wrestling background – the very foundation on which his MMA career was built.
But knockout power is always one of the last things to go with aging fighters, and that’s the case with Dan Henderson. As long as he can throw his overhand right, he has the chance to win a fight – it’s just that damn powerful. In his first matchup against Bisping, Hendo literally shuffled around the cage with his right hand cocked, eating punches until he found the perfect moment to land it. It’s likely he’ll do the same this time around.
Bisping has always been an outfighter, but in recent years he’s evolved into a far more effective one. Once content to skip around on the periphery and land inconsequential combinations, the 37-year old now is much more authoritative with his footwork and strikes. Credit striking coach Jason Parillo for transforming Bisping into a much more effective boxer.
The champion has always been one of the best conditioned athletes in the division. This is somewhat out of necessity, as Bisping’s style has always been predicated on volume and pace. Much like the Diaz brothers, it’s not rare to see “The Count” lose rounds early only to overwhelm opponents later with superior stamina. This could be his single most important weapon against Hendo.
How You Should Bet
In Hendo’s past six losses, he’s been either knocked down, knocked out, submitted or straight up ragdolled. The calls for his retirement have gone on for years. Though he was able to score a shocking upset over Hector Lombard in his last outing, the truth is that Hendo no longer has what it takes to consistently beat elite fighters. And yes, we can consider Bisping one of the best in the world.
If Henderson is unable to land an H-bomb early, we already know that he does not have the endurance to go deep into fights. That would make him an exhausted, stationary target for highly technical, supremely conditioned boxer. Bisping to win is an easy pick.
Our UFC Pick:
Bisping to win at -225
For more UFC news, check out BJ Penn, Michael Bisping & UFC Predictions for the Biggest Fall 2016 Fights and UFC 205: Early Odds and Fight Facts