HEART VS. BRAIN – UFC 204 (pt. 3): Henderson vs. Bisping – Breaking down emotional and rational reasons to predict outcome

By Ross Clark, MMATorch contributor

Michael Bisping (art credit Grant Gould © MMATorch)


For my next trick, I will theorize and discuss an upcoming Dan Henderson fight without using the following phrases: punching power, one punch knockout ability, and the ever so wittily named “H-Bomb.”

Dan Henderson’s fighting style is hardly a mystery: walk forward, line-up the opponent, swing the right hand. Henderson has two major tells when preparing to launch his right hand; the first of which is holding out his lead left as a measuring stick. He will fling out a few slow jabs and then leave his hand out in front of his opponent’s face. The slow pace of the jabs means it takes the opponent a split second longer to register Henderson isn’t retracting the jab and the right hand is coming. Also, the jab can restrict the opponent’s vision which again makes it harder for the opponent to notice the incoming overhand. Remember it is the punch you don’t see coming that leaves you on your back looking up at lights. The second method Henderson uses is to throw the left low kick. This works to keep the opponent in place but also allows Henderson to take a big step forward and throw his entire bodyweight into his right hand.

After years of falling short in title eliminators, Michael Bisping became the first British champion earlier this year. The majority of people had written Bisping off after alternating wins and losses all through 2012 up until 2015, however he has always remained a sold competitor and never considered an easy out. The trademark of Bisping’s striking is his jab; he throws it with caution and mixes in a lot of feints. This went a long way in his fight against Anderson Silva and demonstrated his maturity and stubbornness in sticking to a game plan. It is this maturity which will carry Bisping in this fight. Bisping will continually increase the pace of the fight, and after wearing Henderson down over the first half of the fight he will look for the finish in the championship rounds.

Brain’s Prediction: Bisping via KO in the fourth round.


Michael Bisping was the first British fighter in the UFC to be considered a true prospect and even to this day no other British fighter has reached Bisping’s level. I’ve been a fan of watching Bisping compete for many years. So even though this is a sport of individuals I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of British patriotism and the need to celebrate with a cup of Earl Grey tea and crumpets when he won the title earlier this year. For that reason, I’d love to see Bisping pick up his first title defensive with a second straight knockout.

On the other hand, Dan Henderson has received a lot of punishment throughout his long career. Previously being known for having a chin made of granite, Henderson has experienced his only three knockout losses all in the last few years. Nobody likes to see a legend of the sport end his career on a string of brutal losses, especial when you consider the long-term effects it can have on a fighter’s health. As a result, I think I’ll be going a little outside the box with this prediction.

Bisping has four submission wins to his name, however one of those is a submission due to punches and the most recent of them was against Ross Pointon in 2005 just prior to them both competing in the third season of The Ultimate Fighter. Therefore, as I want to see Bisping pull off an impressive victory and not see Henderson take more unnecessary punishment before he retires, no matter how unlikely a result this may be, my heart’s prediction is…

Heart’s Prediction: Bisping via submission in the third round.

(Ross Clark is an MMATorch contributor from London, England. He has trained in MMA at the London Fight Factor and has attended classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and MMA. He attained his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu last October. His “Heart vs. Brain” column is inspired by his night’s out talking with friends about upcoming fights, debating who will win, and seeing people struggle between rationally, objectively predicting an outcome versus and the emotions that come up regarding whom they want to see win. He analyzes upcoming big name fights by breaking down the two approaches and acknowledging when one approach leads to a different prediction.)

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