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UFC Fight Night 49: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos LowKick Staff Predictions
Benson Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos:
Mike Drahota: Henderson has looked like a man on a mission since losing his belt at UFC 164, and I think he’s fully deserving of his No. 1 ranking. He’ll always be criticized for his fighting style that many fans deem boring, but the bottom line is that he wins more often than not. Dos Anjos has been stellar as well, winning six out of his past seven with the only loss coming to No. 3-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although dos Anjos is a longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he’s been doing more damage with his striking, evident by him being the last man to defeat surging No. 4 Donald Cerrone. But I think “Smooth” is too smart to play that game, and will make another fight ugly by pushing dos Anjos up against the cage to control him en route to a smothering win. Henderson by decision is the easy pick for me.
Rory Kernaghan: Rafael dos Anjos once again finds himself in deep water at lightweight, as he faces the ex-champion Benson Henderson in Oklahoma. The styles match up pretty well, but the question that emerged for me is ‘what does RDA bring that anyone else Bendo has beaten couldn’t offer?’ The answer, in my opinion, is nothing. Sure he has KO power, but not against top 10 guys. His last 10 wins have seen dos Anjos score two T/KO wins, and that was against Jason High and George Sotiropoulos. The truth is that “Smooth” is too unorthodox, well rounded and experienced for RDA. I’m picking Henderson by submission late in the fourth round.
Buster Evans: In all honesty, I think this is a pure mismatch and I can’t see any way of Rafael Dos Anjos winning tomorrow night. ‘RDA’ is undeniably a tough opponent who is very well rounded but he isn’t even in the same league as Ben Henderson who outclasses him in nearly every aspect of MMA. Expect “Bendo” to dominate right from the bell, wearing dos Anjos down before choking him out in the final rounds. Henderson via submission Round 4.
Mike Henken: Benson Henderson has been on a roll since losing his lightweight belt in August of 2013. The No. 1-ranked lightweight has a tough test in front of him in the main event of UFC Fight Night 49 against the No. 5- ranked Rafael dos Anjos. The Brazilian dos Anjos is known for his very strong ground game and improving striking. However, Benson Henderson is far from a walk in the park. He is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt himself and has some of the best submission defense in MMA, having only been submitted twice in his 24-fight career.
He is also a former collegiate wrestler and a black belt in Taekwondo. “Smooth” uses unorthodox striking including kicks from various angles due to his Taekwondo background. On top of all of this, Henderson always comes in shape and puts a relentless pace on his opponents. I think Henderson will use his striking and wrestling to outclass and outpoint Dos Anjos on route to victory. I predict Henderson defeats dos Anjos by unanimous decision.
Photo: Joe Camporeale for USA TODAY Sports