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UFC 204 Breakdown: Michael Bisping vs Dan Henderson

If you told me this time last year that Michael Bisping would be the UFC middleweight champion in 2016 I would have laughed in your face. Not that I thought Bisping was unskilled or not capable, simply that the odds weren’t in his favor. If you had said Dan Henderson would be contending for that same middleweight title in the same stretch of time I would have calmly taken a step back and, once at a safe enough distance, asked if you were off your meds. But that’s the beauty of MMA. There’s no script, nothing that is set in stone. Which is exactly why the match between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson at UFC 204 is intriguing despite the fact that both men are past their prime, or at least they’re supposed to be.

Michael Bisping has tasted the power in the right hand of Dan Henderson once before and the end result wasn’t a pretty sight. If the first British UFC champion once to remain king of the hill he’ll have to make some fundamental changes to his approach that wasn’t present in his first bout with Henderson. Firstly, Bisping is going to want to circle to his right away from the H-Bomb especially in those first five minutes. Bisping has a good jab that he can use both as a range finder and as a legitimate weapon. Once he finds the perfect distance, Bisping doesn’t hesitate to throw in combination and does so with damn good accuracy. Expect Bisping to dance on the outside and pick Henderson apart at distance.

Old man Dan Henderson is still in the thick of it despite being 46 years of age. But with age comes experience, something that Henderson has a ton of. But that won’t be enough to rely on in this battle against Bisping. Ideally Henderson is going to want to stay in Bisping’s face through the twenty-five minute bout in hopes of landing a big shot. The problem is that Henderson doesn’t have the chin that he used to and he’s going to have to wade through some fire to get to Bisping. In his most recent bouts there seems to be a lack of patience in Henderson’s game. He’s going to have to set up his strikes with a jab and should focus on throwing his heavy artillery to Bisping’s body rather than just head hunting the entire time. If Henderson can beat up Bisping to the body and put some doubt in the champ’s mind then he could likely uncork a devastating right hand up top to close the show.

Dan Henderson certainly has a chance to win in this fight, but it’s a puncher’s chance at best. Look For Michael Bisping to piece up Henderson on the feet before securing a second round TKO.

Do you think Dan Henderson has a shot at making history?

Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

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