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Bisping vs. Henderson II: Early Fight Predictions, Keys to Victory for UFC 204

Simon HolmesContributor IAugust 30, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Michael Bisping poses for a photograph ahead of UFC 204 on August 26, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Brunskill/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Michael Bisping, Britain's most successful mixed martial artist and UFC fighter, will look to defend his middleweight belt against Dan Henderson on Saturday, Oct. 8 after snatching the title in dramatic fashion in June.

Bisping will take on the American Henderson in his home city of Manchester in a fight that acts as a rematch to the pair's previous battle in 2009.

Henderson (32-14) knocked out Bisping (30-7) in spectacular fashion in the second round when the pair previously locked horns at UFC 100.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 19:   (L-R) Opponents Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson face off during the UFC 204 press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on August 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The upcoming fight, which will headline UFC 204, could be the 45-year-old Henderson's last crack at the title before retirement.

It will also be Bisping's first defence of the middleweight crown he gained on June 4 after knocking out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in a surprise win.

        

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Bisping, who was born on a British military base in Nicosia, Cyprus, but raised in the UK, only had 17 days to prepare for his title-winning fight after an injury ruled out initial competitor Chris Weidman, according to MMA Fighting's Dave Doyle.

His ability to get himself into title-winning shape on short notice underlines one of his key strengths: fitness.

Bisping is already getting ready for the big fight, according to his Twitter:

michael @bisping

11 hr flight to london, to the cafe Royal. Hit the gym straight away, 4 hours of press, then up to Manchester. It's just how I roll. #ufc204

The Count is nearly eight years younger than Henderson, and his natural fitness could play a major role in the outcome of the fight should it go on for two rounds or more. 

Henderson lost in the third round to both Lyoto Machida in UFC 139 and Vitor Belfort in the UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson during 2013. He last went the distance in a fight in a victory with Mauricio Rua in 2011. 

However, Bisping came out on top after five-round tussles with Anderson “The Spider” Silva earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 84 and against Thales Leites at UFC Fight Night 72 in July 2015. 

The age difference between the pair has been noted by Bisping, who said he expects Henderson to use drugs to try to "cheat" the fight.

"I think he's gonna go out there and have some sneaky PEDs, because he’s gonna think, 'Well, screw it, if I get suspended, so what? I'm retiring anyway,'" Bisping said on his Sirius XM show The Countdown (via the Sun).  

Indeed, Bisping lands 4.4 significant strikes per minute as opposed to Henderson's 2.4, according to the preview page of their fight on UFC.com.

Bisping's versatility and intelligence as a fighter could also be a hindrance to Henderson's title bid.

At February's UFC Fight Night 84 against Silva, the fighter answered his opponent's attempts to evade and parry jabs and counter by not allowing himself to stay on the inside.

This meant he didn't grant enough space for Silva to counter back and jab Bisping.

He has also won his fights via numerous methods. Bisping finished a four-round battle with Cung Lee via technical knockout (TKO) in 2014 and took care of Rockhold, in his last fight, with a KO.

Despite dismissing Henderson's challenge, Bisping will have to draw upon all of his fighting intelligence and stamina to retain his title.

The American, although two inches shorter than his counterpart, has a greater arm reach and a better striking accuracy with 48.1 percent of his significant strikes landing on target, per UFC.com

The veteran fighter has a higher takedown average of 1.58 and a takedown accuracy of 54.32 percent.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 19:  Dan Henderson interacts with fans and media during the UFC 204 press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on August 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Henderson is also a resilient character with the ability to withstand submissions from his opponents.

The quick-hitting Bisping will no doubt fancy his chances against Henderson. The Californian is ranked as the UFC's No. 12 middleweight, per UFC.com, and has won just three of his past nine fights, while Bisping is unbeaten in four.

The Brit also has the uncanny ability to win in rematches against fighters he has previously lost against throughout his long career.   

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