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UFC 204 Picks

By Ken Boehlke

The biggest event in UFC history is on the horizon, but first, an epic rematch is set for this Saturday when Michael Bisping defends his 185 pound title against Dan Henderson in Manchester, England. Here are some betting selections from the main card.

Stefan Struve vs. Daniel Omielańczuk

Struve -210
Omielańczuk +160

The 7 foot tall Struve is a tough matchup for absolutely anyone due to his size, but he’s really struggled recently, losing three of his last five with the two wins coming against way over the hill Brazilians. Struve was supposed to fight Ruslan, but he was pulled a few weeks ago. Omielańczuk is a dangerous guy, but on short notice, this is just too much of a step-up in competition. Struve may back off a bit to test the gas tank of Omielańczuk early, but he should really start taking over toward the back end of the first round and certainly into the second and third if the fight lasts that long.

Pick – Struve by Decision (-210)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Jimi Manuwa

Saint Preux -170
Manuwa +140

This is OSP’s first trip to the octagon since his short notice fight against Jon Jones for the title back in April. In that fight, he simply was not himself, and Jones picked him apart. It’s probably the reason this spread is just -170 when it really should be pushing -250 or so. OSP is an absolute monster on a full camp and sports wins against Rafael Cavalcante, Pat Cummins, and Mauricio Rua, but even more impressive are his losses. In addition to Jones, there were defeats to Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader and Gegard Mousasi, who are all in the top 10. Manuwa has a similar story with tough losses to Rumble Johnson and Alexander Gustaffson. In the end, OSP’s athleticism and power will take over rather quickly. Manuawa has been out of the cage for over a year and hasn’t tasted victory since April of 2015. It’s much harder to select how Saint Preux will win the fight than it is to pick him to win. Let’s say it’ll happen early, but it wouldn’t shock me in the least bit if it’s a three round annihilation that goes to the cards.

Pick – Saint Preux by TKO in Round 1 (-170)

Vitor Belfort vs. Gegard Mousasi

Belfort +255
Mousasi -335

Gegard is one of the most underrated fighters on the entire UFC roster, but all the fault for that goes to Mousasi himself. Simply put, the Dutch fighter just can’t seem to put forth his best effort when the lights are on and it’s time to shine. There’s really no reason he shouldn’t be able to grab Vitor and drag The Phenom to the ground, but picking Gegard is always a risky proposition. This really seems like another fight tailor-made for Mousasi to get another highlight win on the name of a past his prime (and post drug-testing) former superstar. Mousasi should win, and rather easily, but if Vitor can hit one of those kicks, ala the ridiculous spinning back kick Uriah Hall KO’ed Mousasi with, Belfort could steal this. For the sake of not picking all favorites in this post, let’s go with Vitor. (This fight is a classic do-not-bet fight as there’s just no value. There’s no sense laying -335 for a guy that could lose, but the +255 payout is certainly not enough to risk your hard-earned money on Belfort either.)

Pick – Belfort +255 – TKO Round 1

Michael Bisping (c) vs. Dan Henderson

Bisping -225
Henderson +175

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how Michael Bisping is the champion after that incredible performance against Luke Rockhold. But he is, and now for some reason, the UFC has decided to try to sell a story rather than an actual good fight. Dan Henderson has lost six of his last nine fights. SIX! Now I get it, seven years ago at UFC 100, Hendo KO’ed Bisping in one of the more memorable fights in promotion history, but come on with this. There is absolutely no way Henderson should be in a title fight, and it may be even more ridiculous that the price is just -225. Bisping has been on an absolute tear and looks like a completely different guy. His striking is leaps and bounds beyond what it was in 2009 when Hendo knocked him out, and he’s also got the confidence of wearing the belt and fighting in the UK, where he’s 17-0 in his career. Factor in the revenge The Count wants for that loss six years ago, which derailed his title aspirations at the time, and we’re talking about a man on fire. Bisping will absolutely destroy Henderson within the first three minutes of this fight and we will all be left asking ourselves, why Rockhold, Weidman, or Souza weren’t the better choice for Bisping’s first title defense.

Pick – Bisping KO 1st Round


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