Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson will try to take another step closer to reclaiming the division’s belt when he takes on Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 49. The event is set for Aug. 23 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Here are my UFC Fight Night 49 predictions:
Benson Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Henderson (21-3-0, 9 submissions) is coming off wins against tough opponents Josh Thomson and Rustam Khabilov, while dos Anjos (21-7-0, 8 submissions) is 1-1 in his last two fights, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov before bouncing back with a win against Jason High.
Both men are well-rounded fighters, but Henderson seems to be the better striker and grappler. “Bendo” should be able to mix things up nicely, and earn his third consecutive victory.
Prediction: Ben Henderson wins via decision.
Francis Carmont vs. Thales Leites
Leites (23-4-0, 13 submissions) is 3-0 since his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but he’ll be in for a step up in competition when he takes on Francis Carmont (22-9-0, 10 submissions) at UFC Fight Night 49. Leites is a gifted BJJ specialist, who has displayed improved striking skills since his return, but Francis, who is the better striker on paper, should be able to dictate where the bout takes place with his striking. If the fight hits the mat, the odds of Leites tapping him out are pretty slim considering the fact even Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza wasn’t able to submit Carmont.
Carmont will likely get the better of the striking exchanges when these two collide, and he also has the option of taking Leites down and controlling him there.
Prediction: Francis Carmont wins via decision.
Demian Maia vs. Mike Pyle
Following his decision to drop down to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division, Maia (19-6-0, 9 submissions) came close to contention, but losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald sent him to the back of the line. He bounced back with a win against Alexander Yakovlev during his last outing.
Pyle (26-9-1, 16 submissions) is coming of a knockout victory against T.J. Waldburger and a win against a respected MMA veteran like Maia would establish him as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC’s welterweight division.
The striking exchanges between these two should be even, but Maia has a significant advantage, like he typically does, in the grappling department. Pyle’s takedown defense is decent, but it likely won’t be enough to keep the Brazilian from putting him on his back.
Prediction: Maia wins via submission.
Remaining UFC Fight Night 49 predictions:
Max Holloway defeats Mirsad Bektic
Tom Niinimäki defeats Chas Skelly
Neil Magny defeats Alex Garcia
Tim Elliott defeats Wilson Reis
James Vick defeats Walmir Lazaro
Beneil Dariush defeats Tony Martin
Matt Hobar defeats Aaron Phillips
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC Fight Night 49 FightPicks after weigh-ins. Up +20.61 units so far this year. Thanks to all those who paid tribute after the record setting UFC Fight Night 40 picks that earned + 12.71 units.