In a rematch of their memorable UFC 100 bout, middleweight champion Michael Bisping puts his title on the line against former Strikeforce and Pride FC champion Dan Henderson on Saturday at UFC 204 in Manchester, England.
Bisping is fighting as champion in his home country for the first time, while Henderson, 46, is hoping to wind down his career with another signature win. Here are the statistical categories that could end up being the difference on Saturday.
The first fight
The result of the first matchup between these two is one of the biggest talking points heading into the rematch. After months of back-and-forth sniping, including an entire season of "The Ultimate Fighter," the two finally squared off at UFC 100. Bisping stayed on the outside and circled away while looking for openings. Henderson waited and finally landed the big knockout blow. Despite appearing as if he was waiting for the big shot, Henderson actually landed at a respectable 3.45 significant strikes per minute rate. Only three other fighters have landed at a higher rate against Bisping in the UFC. On the other hand, Bisping seemed hesitant to close the distance and landed only 2.64 significant strikes per minute. That rate is the fifth lowest output of his 26-fight UFC career. In order to be successful in this fight, Bisping will need to increase his output while avoiding Henderson's power shots. Considering his recent results, that should not be a problem.
Significant strikes per minute
Bisping has always been a volume striker. In his first 22 fights in the UFC, he landed 4.21 significant strikes per minute. For his past four fights, he has raised the bar even higher and landed 4.65. Henderson has been trending in the opposite direction. Since knocking out Bisping at UFC 100, Henderson has landed only 2.15 significant strikes per minute in the UFC/Strikeforce. In his previous 25 Pride/UFC fights, he had been landing 2.46.
Henderson is known for his signature knockout power, with his right hand known affectionately by fans as the "H Bomb." In 39 fights for UFC/Strikeforce/Pride, he has scored 15 knockouts. As he ages, his power does not seem to be on the decline, as seven of his past eight wins have come via knockout. The downside is that his resistance to power shots has diminished. Henderson began his career with 39 straight fights without being knocked out. He has now been knocked out in three of his past seven bouts.
Bisping does not have the reputation of being a power striker, but he has tallied 10 knockouts in the UFC and another six outside of the Octagon. Prior to knocking out Luke Rockhold and taking the UFC middleweight championship in June at UFC 199, Bisping had landed 314 significant strikes in four fights since his most recent knockout. With that being said, it takes only one shot, and the champion is coming off the biggest knockout of his career.
Henderson twice represented the U.S. at the Olympics and was a fixture of the national Greco-Roman wrestling team for a large portion of the 1990s. However, he has never really been a dominant wrestler in MMA. In fact, Henderson's takedown numbers are remarkably similar to those of Bisping, who doesn't come from a wrestling background. Henderson lands 1.58 takedowns per 15 minutes compared to 1.18 for Bisping. The American is more accurate, as he lands 54 percent of his attempts, while Bisping converts only 43 percent. However, the edge on defense goes to Bisping, as he successfully defends 64 percent of his opponent's takedown attempts, and Henderson stops only 57 percent. Since the wrestling is basically even, expect this fight to remain on the feet throughout.