thatch-henderson The main event of UFC Fight Night 60 is a five-round welterweight bout between Brandon Thatch and Benson Henderson. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Thatch is a -130 favorite (bet $130 to win $100) while Henderson is a +110 underdog (bet $100 to win $110). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Thatch at -130 and Henderson at -110 and the public is slightly backing Thatch in the matchup. I favor Thatch in this matchup and I’m picking him to defeat Henderson. Here’s why. Thatch (11-1) is one of the top up-and-coming fighters in the UFC welterweight division. The 29-year-old American is 2-0 in the UFC with a submission win via strikes over Paulo Thiago and a knockout win over Justin Edwards. All told, he is currently riding a 10-fight win streak with all of his victories during his win streak coming via stoppage. In fact, all 11 of his wins are by T/KO or submission — all inside of the first round. Thatch is one of the most devastating strikers in the entire sport. He uses punches, kicks, elbows and knees to blast his opponents and put them away quick. He is extremely aggressive and moves forward to go for the kill in every fight. His wrestling is generally untested, as is his cardio, but by all accounts talking to people at Elevation Fight Team, he is capable in those areas — however, we won’t know until he’s actually tested inside the cage. Thatch has been out for 15 months rehabbing old injuries and is looking to make a statement in this fight against Henderson, one where Thatch will have a major size advantage. Thatch will be the hometown fighter in this one and he had a full training camp to prepare, as he was originally set to fight Stephen Thompson. He will also have the striking edge over Henderson. However, ring rust and untested wrestling and cardio are definite question marks here, and that’s why you see the line in this fight so tight despite all the hype behind Thatch, hype which I truly believe is justified. Henderson (21-5) is the former UFC lightweight champion and is was one of the top fighters in the division, but he is moving to welterweight for this bout with Thatch. As a lightweight, the 31-year-old American went 9-2 in the UFC with wins over Rustam Khabilov, Josh Thomson, Frankie Edgar (x 2), Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Mark Bocek, with losses to Rafael dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. Henderson is a well-rounded fighter who is good everywhere which is why he is such a dangerous opponent. He has very good wrestling, great cardio, a good submission game, good striking and in particular his leg kicks, and he has a lot of experience fighting the best in the world. However, he is a 155lber, and he is taking this fight with Thatch just weeks after going three rounds with Cerrone. If Henderson had a full camp and if he had the chance to properly bulk up to fight as a welterweight, I would give him a better chance in this fight, but fighting a bigger opponent on short notice seems like a bad idea, and that’s why Henderson is the dog her despite being a former UFC champion. Thatch is a massive welterweight while Henderson is moving up on lightweight on short notice. Thatch has had a long layoff which is definitely a concern, but it wasn’t a layoff where he got hurt, he was actually healing old injuries instead. And I think if those injuries are healed up, this is a guy who could soon be a legitimate welterweight contender. Henderson just fought a few weeks ago as a lightweight and hasn’t been able to put on the muscle he needs to compete with bigger welterweights like Thatch. We’ve seen Henderson get knocked out recently and that’s what Thatch does best — knock his opponents out in devastating fashion. And I expect that to happen once again. I have a lot of respect for Henderson for taking this fight to save the show, but this is a really bad matchup for him. I don’t think he will be able to take Thatch down, at least not in the first few rounds, and on the feet Thatch is a devastating striker. I believe Thatch will finish Henderson in the first or second round and announce himself as someone to watch out for in 2015. The concern is if Thatch doesn’t get a stoppage in the first few rounds he could be in trouble as the fight goes on as Henderson’s wrestling and cardio will likely take over in the later rounds, but I just don’t see this fight going long enough for Henderson’s strengths to come into play. At -130, I believe Thatch is the right side for a bet.


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