UFC Lightweight Bout: Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson
Odds: (-325 Henderson / +250 Thomson )
Betting Pick: Henderson
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n the main event of UFC on FOX 10, former UFC Lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson will look to get back in the win column as he faces top contender Josh Thomson. In his last fight, Henderson suffered his second loss to fellow WEC veteran Anthony Pettis. Thomson, on the other hand, is coming off a complete destruction of Nate Diaz, so Henderson is going to have his hands full trying to reassert himself as a major player in the 155 pound title picture.
Benson Henderson is a former WEC and UFC Lightweight champion with an extremely dynamic offensive skill set. He’s a very quick and athletic wrestler with great striking, a solid ground game, and exceptional endurance. He is one of the biggest fighters in the Lightweight division, but despite his height and bulk he is just as quick as most of his opponents. Henderson’s size, technique, and raw athletic ability combine to make him one of the most formidable opponents in his weight class. Against Thomson, who is a dominant grappler with dangerous submissions, Henderson’s most important goal has to be staying off his back. Thomson is hard to escape from and if Henderson is stuck in a defensive posture his height and strength advantages are both negated. If he can control the positioning in this fight and avoid winding up underneath Thomson, Henderson has all the tools to win this fight and put himself back in position for a title shot.
Josh Thomson was, for years, one of the best Lightweights in the world outside of the UFC. While he has suffered a few recent losses, they were all to top-level opponents and he has just as many impressive wins under his belt. He arrived in the UFC with a headkick knockout of tough opponent Nate Diaz, and taking a second tough fight instead of waiting for champion Anthony Pettis to recover from an injury shows how much of a competitor he is. He’s going to be giving up some length and reach to Henderson, which could cause problems in the striking game, but he is excellent at closing the distance and securing takedowns, and if he can get inside Henderson’s lanky limbs he could definitely put him in a bad position. The key for Thomson is to avoid striking with Henderson as much as he can. The more time he spends clinched up or on top of Henderson, the better his chances for victory.
There is no doubt that Josh Thomson is one of the world’s best 155 pounders, or that he is capable of beating anyone in the division on any given night. That said, I think that Henderson walks into this fight with too many advantages to ignore. Thomson is a top-level grappler, but Henderson is a long way from a slouch himself. Couple that with his superior striking and reach, and I just think Henderson has more ways to score points than Thomson does. This should be a close, hard-fought affair, but I see Henderson stuffing enough takedowns and landing enough punches to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Ben “Smooth” Henderson by Decision.
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