Legends Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson but where does the value lie in our UFC picks? Let's have a look at the UFC odds.
Vitor Belfort (23-10, 16 KO's, 3 Subs)
I'm always impressed that a man with such an illustrious judo and BJJ pedigree has virtually eschewed the ground game because of the explosiveness in his hands. The Phenom has been putting big men with bad intentions to sleep since the mid-90's and he'll get an opportunity to avenge a seven-year-old loss against another venerable MMA legend, Dan Henderson, on Saturday night November 9th.
If Belfort were a firearm he'd be an assault rifle because when the bell sounds the Phenom explodes out of the box and delivers a fusillade of punches and kicks determined to put a quick end to the threat across the cage. Almost three quarters of his matches have been decided by knockout or submission. He's a kill or be killed kind of fighter and one who has never been enamored with the subtle nuances of touching and scoring. It's been over six years since Belfort left the decision in the hands of the judges and that was a victory over the immortal James Zikic. It was only a year before that he dropped a decision to his upcoming opponent Dan Henderson.
Belfort has won 9 of his last 11 in violent fashion with his only two losses coming to perhaps the greatest MMA fighters in history, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Since his loss to UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones in September of last year, he has rebounded with two spectacular wins over Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold.
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Dan Henderson (29-10, 13 KO's, 2 Subs)
The 43-year-old Henderson will be trying to shrug off the split decision losses to both Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans. There's no doubt that time has robbed Henderson of some of the preternatural power that has been his trademark over the past 15 years. Though Henderson has a world class wrestling background, representing the United States in Greco-Roman wrestling in '92 and '96 while earning a gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 2000, he too has brutal strength and dynamite hands at the ready.
But time is a thief and at 43 years of age those reliable fast twitch muscles don't twitch quite as fast and in the world of the UFC, where every opponent is dangerous, that can spell trouble in a big way. Had either the Machida or Evans fight taken place six or seven years ago, chances are those decisions would have been split Henderson's way. But here we are in 2013, 16 years since Hendo first entered the cage and he will be taking on an opponent seven years his junior yet a man who has as much MMA mileage on his wheels as Henderson. We shall see how much tread is left on those tires after Henderson locks horns with Belfort.
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The last time these two met they were much younger and Henderson imposed his will through takedowns and mat control. It should also be noted that Belfort tested positive for steroids after that fight and was banned for nine months and fined $10,000. According to Belfort the doctor who performed his knee surgery injected him with a steroid in order to help him heal without telling his patient. Whatever the case, that was then this is now.
Look for Belfort to tee off before Henderson can establish the ground control game that he plays so well. I can easily see Belfort enticing Henderson to stand and trade. If this scenario plays out, expect Belfort to come out on top. Though I respect Henderson's grappling skills, I like the explosiveness and relative youth of the Phenom in this spot for my UFC picks.
As I peruse the UFC odds, I'm liking Vitor Belfort -250 at WilliamHill.com
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