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UFC on Fox 10 Preview

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Bout: UFC on FOX 10
Venue: United Center
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: Jan. 25, 2014

Lightweight Matchup - Benson Henderson (19-3) vs. Josh Thomson (20-5)

Sportsbook.ag Line:
Benson Henderson -330 (Bet $330 to win $100)
Josh Thomson +250 (Bet $100 to win $250)

Benson Henderson looks to get back on the winning path after losing his belt to Anthony Pettis, but it will not be easy as he goes up against a dangerous fighter in Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10 Saturday in Chicago.

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Henderson had an impressive run as the lightweight champion with four successful title defenses, but made a fatal mistake that proved to be the difference in the Aug. 31 loss. After losing to Pettis early in his career by way of one of the most exciting knockouts of all-time, he tried to defend against another knockout kick. However, by trying to defend against the devastating kick, it left him open to being submitted by an arm-bar. It was just one of those nights where Pettis was going to win against any fighter in his weight class. Henderson is still a very talented fighter, and with a win, will be right back in contention to win back the belt.

His Saturday opponent, Josh Thomson, is coming into the match very confident after a knockout victory over Nate Diaz. In that April 20 bout, Thomson delivered a devastating blow with a head kick, and then got the win on the subsequent punches. For the people that are expecting the heavily favored Henderson to go right back to winning, it will not be that easy as Thomson is as tough of fighter as there is in the sport.

In his 19 career victories, "Smooth" Henderson has nine career victories by way of decision. His cardio and conditioning are second to no one in this sport, and is a huge advantage for him every time he steps into the Octagon. He also has six victories by way of submission and four by knockout, but he is at his best when he is able to land punches when needed, and wear out his opponent.

Before his loss to Pettis, Henderson's previous seven matches went to decision, with him going winning all seven matches during that time period, including five by unanimous decision. The 30-year-old Henderson has beaten some very good fighters, including Frankie Edgar (twice), Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez.

He will have a big advantage when it comes to the takedown game, where he averages 2.77 takedowns compared to 1.81 from Thomson. If Henderson is able to take control of the match and dictate the pace, then he will be in great shape to get the victory.

In 15 of Thomson's 20 career victories, eight have come by of submission. He also has six wins by knockout and six by decision. In the victory over Diaz, he showed how explosive he can be with his knockout ability. Both fighters are nearly even when it comes to striking, as Henderson holds a slight 2.89 to 2.66 strikes landed per minute advantage over Thomson.

However, the 35-year-old Thomson has proven to be a little more accurate when throwing punches at 48% accuracy compared to 44% for Henderson. While the talk of the fight will be how Henderson has an opportunity to get back into title contention, "The Punk" Thomson has the same opportunity. He also has the one-inch height advantage over Henderson, and this fight will come down to which fighter can control the tempo.

Heavyweight Matchup - Stipe Miocic (10-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line:
Stipe Miocic -240 (Bet $240 to win $100)
Gabriel Gonzaga +180 (Bet $100 to win $180)

Stipe Miocic will look to continue his impressive run in the UFC as he goes up against the dangerous Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night.

In his last match against Roy Nelson at UFC 161 on June 15, Miocic showed his ability to defeat a powerful fighter by winning the match in a unanimous decision and landing more than four times as many punches as his opponent. Nelson is a fan favorite in the UFC and has the ability to deliver the knockout punch at any minute, but Miocic was able to avoid his fists for the most part and eventually wore Nelson out to get the victory. It was a great bounce-back victory after his knockout loss to Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel 5 on Sept. 29, 2012.

Miocic has a big chance to gain a lot of momentum moving forward, but has a challenge as he goes up against a monster in Gabriel Gonzaga, who has won his last two matches in a combined time of just 1:50. He defeated both Dave Herman (17 seconds) and Shawn Jordan (1:33) by way of knockout, showing that he is an explosive fighter that is looking to end the match quickly. In nine of his past 12 fights, the bout has ended in the first round. Gonzaga has gone 8-4 during that time span, and has put his opponents on their toes from the opening bell.

In Miocic’s 10 career victories, eight have come by way of knockout. He also has two wins by way of decision. He will have a huge advantage when it comes to strikes landed per minute, where Miocic lands 5.5 compared to just 2.4 by Gonzaga. The 31-year-old has shown throughout his career that he has the ability to deliver the knockout punch, but has also shown the ability to wear out his opponents with his striking. He is also a more accurate striker than his opponent, landing 51.4% of his attempts compared to just 46.7% by Gonzaga.

Miocic is a skilled athlete, with a background of being a nationally-ranked Division I wrestler, while also playing baseball for Cleveland State. For Saturday's bout, the 6-foot-4 Miocic will have a two-inch height advantage over his opponent. His last victory over Nelson was a huge momentum builder, and it put Miocic on the map as a true contender in the heavyweight class. With so many people saying it is Cain Velasquez’s class with nobody to contend against him, there is an opportunity for fighters to quickly move up the rankings. While Miocic has a great opportunity in front of him, it will not be easy as he goes up a dangerous fighter in Gonzaga.

"Napao" Gonzaga has 16 victories in his career, with 56 percent (nine) of them coming by way of knockout. He also has seven victories by way of submission and zero wins by decision, and enters Saturday having won five of his past six bouts. While Miocic has the advantage in striking, Gonzaga has the big advantage in grappling. Gonzaga has a takedown average of 3.32, compared to 2.51 for Miocic.

The 34-year-old Gonzaga is one of the very best wrestlers in the heavyweight class, as a lot of the fighters in this class rely mainly on their striking. One thing he has to be careful with is not wearing himself out early, as Miocic is more than capable of winning the fight in decision, and Gonzaga has gone the distance just once in his career, a unanimous decision loss to Brendan Schaub in 2010.

UFC on FOX 10 - Other Bouts

Heavyweight Matchup
Walt Harris -340
Nikita Krylov +260

Lightweight Matchup
Daron Cruickshank -240
Mike Rio +180

Welterweight Matchup
Mike Rhodes -290
George Sullivan +230

Bantamweight Matchup
Chico Camus -225
Yaotzin Meza +175

Bantamweight Matchup
Hugo Viana -330
Junior Hernandez +250

Bantamweight Matchup
Eddie Wineland -475
Yves Jabouin +325

Bantamweight Matchup
Sergio Pettis -260
Alex Caceres +200

Lightweight Matchup
Donald Cerrone -240
Adriano Martins +180

Featherweight Matchup
Jeremy Stephens -155
Darren Elkins +125

  
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