Jake Kirby is backing Michael 'The Count' Bisping to outlast the legendary Dan Henderson in Manchester this Saturday, but it could be a gruelling affair...
"...as displayed against Hector Lombard three months ago, Henderson certainly hasn't lost any power with his advancing years. He may not be as fast as he once was, but he is definitely still to be respected on the feet."
UFC returns to England this weekend for the highly-anticipated first title defence of Manchester's own Michael Bisping. It will be his first showing since his shock knockout victory over Luke Rockhold back in June. His opponent? None other than Mixed Martial Arts royalty, and previous foe, Dan Henderson.
If you've spent any time on YouTube watching those highlight reel knockout videos, then you'll be familiar with the outcome the last time these two warriors met. Henderson owns one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history and it came at the expense of Bisping. That, along with the speculation that this will be Henderson's last professional fight (win, lose or draw) are what make this match up so appealing.
The contest in itself is intriguing, as both are very much strikers, but both operate with vastly contrasting styles. Bisping, a slick volume puncher, is known for his extremely high work rate, and immense cardio. He has never been seen as much of a power hitter but if his last fight against Rockhold is anything to go by, then he may be packing more of a punch than we all originally thought.
On the flip side, we have Henderson, the 46-year-old veteran who is one of the most respected in the industry. He packs one of the deadliest right hands in all of mixed martial arts. And, as displayed against Hector Lombard three months ago, he certainly hasn't lost any power with his advancing years. He may not be as fast as he once was, but Henderson is definitely still to be respected on the feet.
I envisage a relatively tentative Bisping, especially in the opening rounds. He won't want to play with Henderson's right hand and will be doing everything in his power to avoid a repeat of what happened between them six years ago. Over 2.5 rounds is available at a shade of odds-on at 10/11 with the Sportsbook, which I see as genuine value.
Bisping has always been seen as a bit of a decision merchant, and I have a feeling that normal service will resume this time around (despite his knockout win over Rockhold last time out). There is obviously a very good chance that one of the two get finished, and Bisping is certainly a big danger as the fight goes on, but just because Henderson is 46-years-old, he shouldn't be underestimated. As this is likely to be his last time in the octagon, I see The Count having a real hard time putting him away.
Bisping via decision is available at 3/1 on the Sportsbook and is well worth a punt.
Back Over 2.5 Rounds @ 10/11
Back Bisping to win via Decision @ 3/1
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