On November 9th the UFC returns to Brazil for UFC Fight Night 32, an show that features veterans Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson in a Middleweight bout. Perhaps because of his recent performances, or because the fight is in Brazil, Vitor Belfort sits as the favorite at (-210) with the comeback on Henderson at (+175). The Middleweight division is wide open right now, with some high level talent leaving (Yushin Okami, Hector Lombard) and more coming in (Lyoto Machida, Gegard Mousasi), so a win is critical for both men to stay near the top of the division and in title contention.
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Over the course of his last few fights, Henderson has increasingly become a stalker looking for his one big punch. When he lands it, like he did with Michael Bisping, the results are electrifying, but he has tended to lose decisions with the judges when he doesn’t finish the fight.
The problem for Henderson is that Belfort is a better and more precise striker, and he really cannot allow the fight to evolve into a boxing match. Henderson has to break the pattern of his recent fights and get in close, fight in the clinches and possibly on the ground. He has to rough Belfort up and he has to control where the action takes place in every round. Henderson, who is in his 40′s, puts out a lot of energy in his fights, and that has translated into being tired at the end of fights. He has to rough Belfort up enough that he is as deteriorated as Henderson when Dan starts to tire. If Beflort is fresher after Henderson tires, Vitor could finish the fight.
Belfort has always fought with emotion, and he is nearing the end of his career. He appears confused with what and who and in what weight class he wants to fight at times, but he is fighting for another chance at UFC gold. That and being at home are very motivational for Belfort, who should come out of this fight with the ‘W’.