UFC 139 Predictions: Henderson vs. Rua Odds and Picks
by Scott Johnson - 11/15/2011
This weekend fans will be treated to arguably one of the most stacked MMA events in recent memory as UFC 139, on Nov. 19, will feature seven former champions from the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, and Pride. Headlining the show will be former two-division Pride champion and the last man to wear the Strikeforce 205-pounds belt, Dan Henderson -105. His opponent, Mauricio Rua -115, also a former Pride superstar, won the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix and is a former UFC light heavyweight champion.
The general consensus is that the winner of this fight will be granted a shot at current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Rua dropped the title to Jones, but he rebounded nicely at UFC Rio with a first round knockout of Forrest Griffin. Dan Henderson is enjoying a career resurgence, defying the odds at 40 years of age.
Under the new UFC main event guidelines, this bout is scheduled for five rounds. Taking into consideration the fact that these two warriors have combined for 30 wins by TKO or KO, that indicates that there is little chance that we will see the later rounds.
The list of opponents that have fallen by knockout at the hands of these two heavy-hand strikers is truly impressive. Henderson earned a knockout win over Fedor Emelianenko in his last Strikeforce appearance, and he also holds devastating KO victories over Michael Bisping, Rafael Feijao and Wanderlei Silva. “Shogun” Rua's list of victims is equally as impressive, including: Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, and Rampage Jackson.
Henderson’s approach is simple but effective. He uses his wrestling to control his opponent and his big right hand, known as the H-Bomb, to render them unconscious. Against Michael Bisping, Dan set up the H-bomb with a low kick, forcing Bisping to react and leave himself open for the H-bomb. Dan has had a lot of success with this style, but he becomes a little one-dimensional and, as a result, predictable when he starts to focus too much on his right hand.
Shogun is anything but predictable; he mixes up his strikes using kicks, punches, and knees. In his first meeting with Lyoto Machida, Mauricio had a lot of success with his leg kicks, leaving noticeable damage on Lyoto’s body. Rua possess his own powerful right hand; he sets it up with other strikes and he has devastating knees from the Thai Clinch.
Dan is a world-class wrestler and has shown himself to be incredibly difficult to control, both on the mat and in the clinch. Henderson has dangerous ground and pound, but a limited submission game and he has been submitted three times.
Shogun is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, but his submission resume isn’t any more impressive then Hendo’s, with only one victory while having been submitted twice.
I anticipate Dan having a lot of success on the ground against Shogun. Rua's takedown defence is 40 percent, which isn't great. However, having re-watched his fight against Mark Coleman the Brazilian might be even more vulnerable than his TDD percentage indicates. Coleman was able to put Rua on the mat seven times on nine attempts, despite being extremely tired.
Dan doesn’t always rely on his takedowns, but against both Rafael Feijao and Rich Franklin he effectively incorporated them into the fight. If Shogun is unable to stop Dan's takedowns it will be the defining moment of the bout.
There is a lot of debate about which Shogun will show up in this bout; the one that decimated Liddell, Machida and Griffin or the one that struggled tremendously in his first meeting with Griffin, gassed against Coleman and lost his title against Jones.
If you compare both the fighters and styles of matchups; the first group were opening round finishes that didn't force Rua to expend a great amount of energy. The second scenario saw Shogun were gruelling battles that taxed his endurance and broke him down physically. The initial Machida fight was the exception as Rua looked good for five rounds, but that fight was fought predominantly on the feet, which is far less gruelling.
If you had to include Henderson and his style in one of the two groups, he is better suited for the later based on his wrestling and overall physical style. Shogun can short circuit these issues with an early KO, but in 36 fights Dan has never been knocked out and suffered only one first-round submission defeat.
Shogun Rua has suffered only one true knockout defeat, but Henderson has the type of power to change that, especially if Rua gets tired. Even when Rua was exhausted he still survived a great deal of punishment against Jones, but when a fighter is just surviving a bout he isn’t winning it. Henderson doesn't have the greatest track record with endurance either, but he seems to have less issues at 205 and in his three-round victory over Feijao he looked great.
Henderson takes this matchup by knockout. From a betting standpoint the return on Henderson is solid considering the lopsided odds that seem to be the norm in main events. Prop bets focusing on this matchup not going the distance and ending via knockout are also wise investments, but, again, with the past track records of each man don't expect a huge return.
UFC 139 has the potential to be a fantastic card from the opening bell of the first prelim to Bruce Buffer's final call after the main event. Good luck this weekend and make sure you check out all of the betting UFC 139 fight predictions here at Doc Sports.
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