UFC 164 preview: Why Ben Henderson will avenge previous loss to Anthony Pettis

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[ads2]UFC lightweight champion Benson HendersonThe UFC 164 PPV will also take place this week on Saturday night and will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The main event will feature a rematch from the final WEC event which took place in 2010 between a pair of lightweights in Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis.

Henderson lost a split decision to Pettis in their initial matchup, in which Pettis took the WEC lightweight strap from him. However, their paths have taken very different paths since that bout. Henderson hasn’t lost since that bout (7-0), and is the current UFC lightweight champion with three consecutive title defenses. Pettis lost his first UFC fight against Clay Guida, but has rebounded to win three consecutive bouts since then, including back-to-back TKO wins.

Henderson is currently the slight betting favorite at -125 with Pettis as the betting underdog at +105, however, there are many folk that think Pettis will be able to get another win against the champion.

I don’t think it happens this time for a few reasons.

Henderson has been the more active fighter since they last fought, and has fought against much stiffer competition since coming over to the UFC. If I had to gauge each fighter on the amount that they have improved since their initial fight, I would give the edge to Henderson without question. He has closed up almost all of the holes in his game, whereas Pettis is still susceptible to takedowns while putting himself in bad positions with flashy kicks, etc.

Also, Henderson has all of that championship experience under his belt with his last four fights all going five rounds. Pettis hasn’t gone five rounds since his fight with Henderson in 2010, and hasn’t gone past the first round in almost two years which should clearly give an edge to Henderson.

Pettis certainly has the striking skills to land something huge and put Henderson away but the percentages of that happening are relatively low as Henderson has very good striking defense according to Fightmetric.

Henderson will likely (and have to) strike enough to set up his takedowns and look to inflict damage to Pettis from the top position. He can’t afford to stay on the feet with Pettis and strike the entire time since that’s where Pettis is most comfortable. He did a solid job of that in the initial matchup, and should be able to capitalize on that with the improvements to his skills over the past couple of years.

Henderson should take this fight via unanimous decision.

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