The main event of UFC Fight Night 68 is a five-round middleweight bout between Tim Boetsch and Dan Henderson. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Boetsch is a -190 favorite (bet $190 to win $100) while Henderson is a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Boetsch at -170 and Henderson at +130, and slight action has come in on Boetsch. I agree with the line movement in Boetsch’s direction as I’m picking him to win the fight. Here’s why. Boetsch (18-8) is one of the top-15 middleweights in the UFC. The 34-year-old American is 9-7 overall in the UFC with a 6-4 record at middleweight with wins over Yushin Okami, Brad Tavares, CB Dollaway and Hector Lombard with losses to Thales Leites, Luke Rockhold, Mark Munoz and Costas Philippou. Boetsch is just a tough out for anyone in the division. He is a tough guy with a lot of heart and is very difficult to finish unless fighting elite opponents. Boetsch comes from a wrestling background and he has solid grappling overall, but he also has solid standup as well. He has big power in his hand and has weight knockout wins in his career. The problem with Boetsch is that he can be taken down and controlled on the ground. In almost all of his losses he has been taken down and beat on the ground, which will alway be a concern when he fight the top middleweights. However, going up against a slugger like Henderson who doesn’t shoot for takedowns, this looks like it could be a good matchup for Boetsch. He has to be careful not to get knocked out on the feet, but if he can survive Henderson’s early barrage, Boetsch will have the cardio advantage and in a five-round fight it’s hard to ignore that edge, which is why he’s the favorite in this fight. Henderson (30-13) is one of the legends of MMA. The 44-year-old American is the oldest fighter on the roster and has been fighting in MMA for nearly 20 years since ending his career as an Olympic greco-roman wrestler. He clearly made the right career choice as he has one of the greatest resumes in the history of the sport, including winning an early UFC tournament, winning two belts in PRIDE, winning a RINGS tournament, and being the former Strikeforce middleweight champion. However, he has never won a UFC title, and at his age it doesn’t seem likely. Although he comes from a wrestling background, Henderson is more known for his standup. He has one of the most powerful right hands in the history of the sport, one that knocked out iron-chinned opponents like Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun Rua. He has 14 wins by knockout in his career, with many of those coming by way of the H-bomb. While he was once a P4P great, he has fallen off in recent years. Henderson has lost five of his last six fights and in his return to middleweight was knocked out in 70 seconds by Gegard Mousasi. While once known for his iron chin, it seems like his ability to take a punch is not as good anymore and that’s not a good thing going up against a guy like Boetsch. He still has that H-bomb, but with his ability to take punishment in question and this fight being scheduled for five rounds, it make sense he’s the underdog despite having a far more storied career in the sport. Boetsch isn’t great, but I find it nearly impossible to pick Henderson against anyone decent in the middleweight division. Historically Henderson has not fared well at 185lbs and in his return to middleweight was knocked out in a minute by a light-hitting Mousasi. At 44 years of age, coming off of TRT, and considering all the damage he’s taken in his career, I do believe Henderson’s career is finally coming to an end, and I think Boetsch is going to be the guy who sends him to greener pastures. I think this is going to be a dog fight but I give Boetsch the edge in durability and in cardio. I think Henderson’s only way to win this fight is by landing the H-bomb, and I just don’t think he has it in him anymore. This fight is scheduled for five rounds but I’d be surprised if it made it that far. I think Boetsch catches Henderson’s chin at some point during the fight and finishes him. The line is a bit too high for my liking, but if late money comes in on Henderson and the price tag on Boetsch drops, I will be playing him as I do favor him to win this fight.
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