UFC Fight Night – Boetsch vs Henderson: What To Watch For
Another Monday in the books, and another UFC Fight card to look forward to. This week the UFC will have a fight night event in New Orleans, Louisiana. The main event of the card will be Dan Henderson against Tim Boetsch, and the night will also showcase battles in the heavyweight division when Ben Rothwell faces Matt Mitrione, and Shawn Jordan versus Derrick Lewis.
With the 12-fight card ready to roll, here are the top 5 things to keep an eye on:
1.) Is this Dan Henderson’s last fight?
Dan Henderson (30-13) has enjoyed an 18-year career in professional mixed martial arts. Henderson was the only fighter to ever hold two MMA titles in different weight classes at once, when he had the Pride FC middleweight and light heavyweight titles. Henderson has lost five of his last six bouts, and has been brutally stopped in three of his last three fights.
Tim Boetsch will have is back against the wall as well, as he has gone 2-4 in his last six UFC fights, and another loss could be argued his departure from the UFC. On August 24, Henderson will be turning 45, and his recent performances may be proof that “Hendo’s” best days are behind him, and retirement may be imminent for a definite hall of fame candidate who has displayed a very successful MMA career.
2.) The Heavyweights
There are two heavyweight bouts on this card, one of the fights is a ranked match when #12 Matt Mitrione faces #10 Ben Rothwell, and both Derrick Lewis and Shawn Jordan look to continues their winning ways and a potential top 15 rank spot. Shawn Jordan has impressive back-to-back TKO wins, and a third straight win may start considering Jordan (17-6) to face top 15 fighters and start a journey to a title hunt. Lewis (12-3) will be no pushover, who also has enjoyed a successful UFC career so far, going 3-1, with three TKO victories, including his last win against Ruan Potts back in February.
Mitrione has been on a nice three-fight win streak of his own, knocking out all three of his opponents in the first round. Rothwell is no slouch though, winning his last two fights via TKO, including his most recent win over Alistair Overeem. Rothwell has not fought in nine months however, which may prompt some ring rust. The winner in this fight should see a jump into the top 10 (for Rothwell, a jump from number 10 to possibly seven or eight). Both of these fights are potential “performance of the night” nominees with all four fighters bringing vicious knockout power.
3.) The Return of Brian Ortega
Brian Ortega (8-0, 1 NC) was one of the hottest prospects to join the UFC when he made his debut at UFC on Fox 12 back in July 2014. Ortega would defeat Mike de la Torre, unfortunately the fight would be overturned to a “no contest” when Ortega tested positive for steroids. Ortega would be fined and suspended for nine months, sincerely apologizing to fans for his poor choice in using a banned substance to ready himself for the UFC.
Ortega is only 24 and has endless potential in becoming a top five fighter in the bantamweight class. Ortega will Thiago Tavares, a seasoned vet who also displays phenomenal jiu jitsu and striking skills, a true test for Ortega. This fight will be very technical on the ground, and on the feet, both fighters have good stand up to cause trouble for one another.
4.) Cacares and Rivera look to avoid three straight losses
#11 ranked bantamweight Fransisco Rivera lost his UFC debut back in 2011, when he lost in The Ultimate Fighter finale 13 card to Reuben Duran. Rivera (11-4) would depart the UFC and win back-to-back fights via knockout in a total combination of one minute and fifty five seconds. Rivera would return and go 3-0 with one no contest in his four UFC fights. Since then, Rivera has lost back-to-back Takeya Mizugaki and a Urijah Faber.
Alex Cacares had a winning streak of his own going on, winning four of his five fights (one no contest). Cacares has recently lost back-to-back to Urijah Faber and Masanori Kanehara. Both fighters will be fighting with the heavy burden of avoiding a third-straight loss in the UFC, a one way ticket to getting released from the organization. According to Bovada sports’ betting lines, this fight is nearly a push, with Cacares at -120 and Rivera at -110.
5.) Anthony Birchak and Joe Soto look for post-debut success
Both Anthony Birchak and Joe Soto had successful careers outside the UFC, both fought in Bellator as well. That success took a stop when both debuted in the UFC in 2014, with Joe Soto (15-3) losing against T.J Dillashaw at UFC 177 in a bantamweight title fight, and Birchak (11-2) losing to Ian Entwistle at UFC on Fox 13.
Both fighters are still great additions to the bantmanweight class that can make a run at the top 15 rankings. The loser will be looking at an 0-2 hole in the UFC however, while the winner returns to his winning ways and the climb into the rankings. Soto comes into the fight as the slight favorite at -175 and Birchak at +145.
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