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UFC Fight Night 68: After last week’s 16/1 winning treble what’s to be gained from this week card headed by Dan Henderson?

by Rob Dore | June 6, 2015

Having given you a 16/1 winning treble last weekend I’m going to take a quick look at this week’s UFC Fight Night 68 card from New Orleans, Louisiana to see if there’s more money to be made.

The 44-year old legend that is Dan Henderson tops the card for what most fight fans hope will be his last bow in the octagon. Elsewhere there are some heavy hitters going toe-to-toe, fighters scrambling for title shots and others clinging on to their UFC futures. We’ll start from the top of the main card and work our way down.

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Dan Henderson v Tim Boetsch
Neither of these fighters has been doing well in recent years. 44-year old Dan Henderson has one win in his last six. The one time granite chin no longer holds up against any kind of punishment, his wrestling is out-dated and although his power is still a danger, it has become decidedly easy to avoid.

Dan Henderson taking on Rich Franklin back in 2009 (pic: Inpho)

HENDO THE LINE?: Dan Henderson taking on Rich Franklin back in 2009 (pic: Inpho)

Tim Boetsch has lost two of his last six fights so he’s far from a lock. On the positive side he is a full decade younger and if his coaches are worth their salt they’ll have him circling away from Henderson’s power shot until the older man tires and becomes a less dangerous prospect.

Boetsch is favoured to win at 1/2 and many are predicting he’ll stop Hendo. However, four of Boetch’s last six wins have come via three-round decision and for all his current failings Henderson is still vastly more experienced. He took the current light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier late into the third round just a year ago.

This is a five round fight so it’s unlikely to go to points but don’t be surprised to hear the bell ring for round four.

Boetsch to win in round 4 at 14/1

Matt Mitrione v Ben Rothwell
Two big guys with knockout power. This one seems unlikely to make it to the end of the first round.

Mitrione has won his last three fights by KO and eight of his nine career wins have come in this manner. Boetsch has twenty knockout wins in his far more experienced career.

Matrione has improved greatly and edges his striking is a little slicker than his opponents. He looks the smarter bet to win by KO in the first round at 11/4 but you can cover your ass by taking Rothwell to win by KO in the first round.

With a significant  push towards title contention on the line for the winner one or both of these men might decide to take a more cautious approach. These are not very cautious fighters though so an early finish remains the most likely outcome.

Dustin Poirier v Yancy Medeiros
Poirier takes a 20% chunk of Medeiros’ purse after the Hawaiian failed to make weight by a significant margin. The Louisiana native will be looking to impress in front of his home crowd and add a win bonus to his pay-packet.

Both men have finishing power with Poirier’s last three wins coming via knockout, a run punctuated by his defeat to Conor McGregor. He has since bounced back with a win and can show he is a title challenger at lightweight by stopping Medeiros. A potential fight of the night with strong arguments for both fighters. Poirier to win by knockout at 11/4 offers some value.

Thiago Tavares v Brian Ortega
Two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts with 17 submission wins between them, considerably more from the more experienced Tavares (13 of the 17). IT would be tempting to plump for one or the other to win by submission, in which case I’d go for Tavares at 10/3, but as often happens they may well cancel each other out on the mat. Tavares is the favourite but the younger Ortega might be worth taking on at 4/1 to win on points.

Joe Soto v Anthony Birchak
Both men are coming off debut losses. Birchak was submitted via heelhook within a minute of his UFC bow. Soto took the Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw into the fifth round after stepping in on a day’s notice. His admirable performance will have boosted his confidence and he’s unlikely to struggle with the pressure after fighting at the top of a PPV card.

Both of Birchak’s losses have been by submission and Soto submitted four of five opponents before facing Dillashaw. Soto to win by submission at 10/3.

Francesco Rivera v Alex Caceres
Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres is a talented fighter by so erratic in his performances that he’s difficult to back or oppose. Both men are on two-fight losing streaks and a third straight loss often means being cut from the UFC. Caceres could rise to the occasion and submit Rivera at 3/1 or Rivera might KO Caceres at 3/1. A real pick ’em fight only the brave punter will get seriously involved with.

Weekend Treble: Matrione to win by KO, Poirier to win by KO and Brian Ortega to win at 17/1 (it’s actually closer to 18/1)

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