UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos

UFC_Fight_Night_49

In the second of this weekend’s double-header of Ultimate Fighting Championship action, the Octagon returns to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the first time since December 1994.

UFC Fight Night 49 will emanate live from the BOK Center, with combat beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The headline bout of the evening pits former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson against veteran Brazilian fighter Rafael Souza dos Anjos.

Meanwhile, welterweight up-and-comers Mike Pyle and Jordan Mein will square-off in the co-main event bout.

Betting Sports brings you a rundown of these two bouts now.

No. 1 Henderson vs. No. 5 dos Anjos

Currently sitting at No. 1 in the UFC lightweight division rankings and making his eighth headline performance under the UFC banner, Benson Henderson (21-3-0, 8-1-0 UFC) knows what it’s like to be at the top. He also knows what it’s like to be sat in limbo.

Since losing the lightweight championship to Anthony Pettis a year ago, Henderson has worked hard to earn a rematch, but so far hard work hasn’t gotten the 30-year-old far.

Whilst he’s seen off challenges from Josh Thompson (decision) and Rustam Khabilov (submission), Pettis has nursed an injury, begun coaching on the next series of The Ultimate Fighter and made a push to be featured on the Wheaties box.

The champion isn’t scheduled to defend his title until UFC 181 in December, when he will take on Gilbert Melendez, the second coach on the 20th season of TUF. That means Henderson’s shot at the title won’t come until March or April at the earliest. It could be a lot further off if the recent noise about a Jose Aldo-Anthony Pettis superfight becomes more than just noise.

Of course, any rematch at all is dependent on whether the matchmakers want to see Henderson vs. Pettis III.

For now, Henderson can do little but maintain his focus, keep his attention on the fight at hand and ensure he comes away with a victory.

For Rafael dos Anjos (21-7-0, 10-5-0 UFC), the No. 5 ranked fighter in the division, Saturday’s headline bout with Henderson offers the chance to make a huge impact.

An upset win over the former champion would propel the 29-year-old into the title picture, and potentially given him next dibs on a title shot. Only Khabib Nurmagomedov – who handed dos Anjos his last loss – could stake as a strong a claim that he deserved a shot. Of course, this is dependent on the Brazilian winning on Saturday.

Dos Anjos earned a TKO victory over Jason High in June to bounce back from April’s loss to Nurmagomedov. But can he score the upset against a man that has – current champion aside –single-handedly plowed through the division?

Odds: Henderson (-360) is the favorite over dos Anjos (+270).

No. 13 Pyle vs. Mein

An MMA oldtimer mixes it up with a young stud in Saturday’s co-main event matchup.

38-year-old Mike Pyle (26-9-1, 9-4-0 UFC), a former WEC welterweight championship, will look to pick up a second straight win, and a sixth win in seven bouts. He’ll also look to earn his way into the top 10. Doing so would be something of a statement for the Dresden, Tenn., native.

Pyle has become something of a ‘nearly man’ in the UFC. He’s strung together plenty of wins, but once he reaches a certain level of talent, he simply fails to pick up the W. Losses to Matt Brown, Rory McDonald and Jake Ellenberger are demonstrative of this.

For “Quicksand”, a win on Saturday is a must.

For 24-year-old Jordan Mein (28-9-0, 2-1-0 UFC), Saturday’s high profile bout offers an opportunity to show the world what he can do.

After earning a victory in his UFC debut, Mein lost to Matt Brown in a Fight of the Night performance last April. After a year off, he came back with a win over Hernani Perpétuo back in April. The Canadian will look to pick up another win on Saturday, adding his name to the top 15 rankings in the process.

Odds: Mein (-235) is favored over the older Pyle (+185).

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Below you’ll find the fight card in its entirety, complete with odds for each bout.

UFC Fight Night 49 early preliminaries will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The preliminary card will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The main card will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, starting at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Bet on UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos

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Mixed martial arts fans are in for a treat next weekend as UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barão II sees T.J. Dillashaw defend his newly-won UFC bantamweight championship against the man he won it from, Renan Barão.

The event is scheduled to take place at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday, August 30.

Betting Sports will bring you a preview of the pay-per-view event next week.

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