Benson Henderson’s (20-3-0) road to recapture the title he lost last year hits a big roadblock when he takes on Rustam Khabilov (17-1-0) in a five-round lightweight bout on UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque, New Mexico this Sunday, June 8 (Saturday, June 7 MDT).
Here is how the betting odds of the match are stacking up at Bodog Sportsbook:
o Benson Henderson – 1.40
o Rustam Khabilov – 3.00
Henderson was able to defend the UFC lightweight belt thrice after winning it from Frankie Edgar in UFC 150 before losing it to rival and current holder Anthony Pettis in UFC 164. He won his first fight after losing the title and it was a bit shaky, needing to eke out a split decision over Anthony Tomlin.
After fighting mostly in Russia, Rustam was sensational when he made his US debut in The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale, knocking out Vinc Pinchel in the first round. He followed it up with another first- knockout win in UFC 159 over Yancy Medeiros and an exciting, down-the-wire unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal in UFC: Fight for the Troops 3.
Save for that dominant performance against Nate Diaz, Henderson has yet to win convincingly since winning the title from Edgar and the loss to Pettis last year somehow exposed his vulnerability to aggressive opponents.
Khabilov is exactly that type of fighter. The sambo master has a penchant for vicious takedowns – just watch his match against Pinchel to see how he delivers those nasty suplexes. Henderson will need to keep the match on the ground in order to negate Khabilov’s takedowns.
A win over the former champion may lineup Khabilov for a possible title fight against current title holder and similarly forceful fighter Pettis. On the other, a victory this weekend can snag Henderson another title shot against his rival.
Here are the odds of the other bouts on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night:
o Diego Sanchez – 2.47
o Ross Pearson – 1.55
o John Dodson – 1.20
o John Moraga – 4.57
o Rafael dos Anjos – 1.35
o Jason High – 3.22
o Yves Edwards – 2.51
o Piotr Hallaman – 1.53
o Erik Perez – 1.88
o Bryan Caraway – 1.94