Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch:
While it’s become painfully obvious that the once-great ‘Hendo’ is on his last leg and perhaps fighting on longer than he should be, this is a fight tailor-made to his skills (or whatever he has left), as Boetsch loves a brawl and those are the only fights I see Henderson potentially winning anymore. Both fighters lack a ton of technical grace, but they are certainly willing to plant their feet in center of the Octagon and throw down in a good old-fashioned melee. I firmly expect that to happen here aside from my suspicion that Henderson could use his supposedly Olympic-level wrestling skills to neutralize Boetsch’s ‘Barbarian’ power. But he rarely, if ever, does that anymore, so expect this one to play out like the slugfest it’s been billed up to be. I think both fighters can take a ton of punishment (although Henderson hasn’t shown that in recent fights) so I’m picking ‘Hendo’ by third round TKO.
Tim Boetsch and Dan Henderson bring very similar qualities to their UFC Fight Night 68 headliner, the most glaring the fact that they both have extremely durable chins. The main difference between the two is age, and that factor plays in favor of the 34-year-old ‘Barbarian’. Recent form is also negative for the aging ‘Hendo’, who has dropped five of his last six, getting finished rather brutally in three. There’s no question that ‘Dangerous Dan’ is a mixed martial arts legend, but I feel that at 44 years of age he’ll be hard pushed to even beat a mid-tier fighter like Boetsch. As sad as it is to say it, I feel Henderson is in for a rough night. His H-bomb is just about all the former Pride FC two-weight class champion has left in his arsenal, and even that has failed him in his latest showings. Boetsch by TKO in round two.
Legendary former champion Dan “Hendo” Henderson has looked well, rather awful as of late, losing five out of his last six bouts and getting finished left and right, but I think he has a good opportunity to bounce back against Tim Boetsch, even at 44 years old. “The Barbarian” is a tough challenger, possessing brute power and decent wrestling, but I think Henderson is simply better overall. The former Olympian undoubtedly has the wrestling advantage and I think he can out-grapple Boetsch as well if the fight ends up there. If the fight stays on the feet, “Hendo” needs to mix it up, add low kicks, and not rely solely on that devastating right hand of his. If he does that I think he’ll get the job done, and maybe even score a finish. Henderson by third round TKO.
Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell:
This is a strong heavyweight bout that’s been flying under the radar in my opinion. Both fighters bring the momentum of recent win streaks in to Louisiana, but Mitrione’s is the far more impressive, as he’s dispatched Gabriel Gonzaga, Derrick Lewis, and Shawn Jordan with consecutive first round knockouts. Rothwell has won two straight over Alistair Overeem and Brendan Schaub, but he’s also only fought twice since the summer of 2013. Although ‘Big Ben’s’ knockout power is no joke, I expect the more athletic Mitrione to outclass him with speed, footwork, and volume on the feet in this fight. Few heavyweights have the movement level and hand speed of Mitrione thanks to his vast improvement during his time spent with the Blackzilians. Based on that alone, I have to go with ‘Meathead’ via first round KO.
Matt Mitrione suddenly finds himself on the crest of a three-fight win streak, and is really on form with his striking lately. Ben Rothwell has the power to finish anyone in his weight, as proved by his upset knockout win over Alistair Overeem in 2014. The main advantage I see for ‘Meathead’ is technique and athletic ability, and I just don’t see ‘Big Ben’ overcoming those factors. In fact, I really don’t foresee this being a close fight at all. I predict Mitrione will put an end to this fight early on, not wanting to give the judges a chance to do their job. ‘Meathead’ by first round KO.
A bout between two rising heavyweights, this one is a hard one to call for me because both Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione have looked very good as of late, and both men are solid in all areas. Rothwell is much more experienced, but I think “Meathead” definitely holds the striking advantage. Scoring knockout victories in eight of his nine wins and each of his last three bouts, Mitrione has solid power and also possesses a black belt in Shotokan Karate. Rothwell showed knockout power of his own in his last bout, and may own the wrestling advantage, but I think Mitrione will be able to keep this one on the feet and outstrike “Big Ben”. Mitrione by second round TKO.
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