UFC 251 Betting Pick: Makwan Amirkhani vs Danny Henry

UFC 251 is set to go down this Saturday morning local time but primetime in the US.

Who knew that Fight Island was going to be Yas Island in Abu Dhabi? UFC President Dana White and a few others is the answer, I guess, but I thought the company had bought a private island.

The trip there could have been half the fun.

Guys, if you’ve never seen Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon, I implore you to sit down and watch it immediately. My first martial arts coach made the DVD required reference material for the curriculum.

Unfortunately, we aren’t going to see a private island that is only for fights. Yas Island has actually hosted UFC events in the past. Now, I’m hearing that the fights aren’t even going to be on the beach in the open air.

It’s the desert in the Summer so I don’t think it’s going to rain. They said they didn’t really have aircon for the last event and this one, they would go without once more.

If you don’t have aircon and it’s not going to rain so why not hold the fights outside by the water? At least you’ll get a little breeze.

Anyway, this does have some effect on how we are capping these fights.

I would imagine that fighters who have shown to slow down consistently in their previous contests will have a tough time with the triple digits and possibly tire earlier than ever.

We are back to the larger (30 ft) Octagon. That is worth noting. I don’t like to collect as many variables as possible, though, all the time.

Breaking down fight tape is still 80% of what we do when we are capping a matchup.

Mr. Finland, Makwan Amirkhani has been a two-time winner for me.

I love his grapple heavy approach and the fact that he trains at Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, Ireland, the home of head coach John Kavanaugh and MMA megastar, Conor McGregor.

Before this, if I’m not mistaken, Makwan put in time with Firas Zahabi, the coach of Georges St Pierre, at the TriStar Gym in Montreal. His opponent on Saturday, Danny Henry, from Edinborough, Scotland is a game fighter with an excellent gas tank.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us this week. Let’s look at the lines, break down this fight, and make our pick between the Scot, Henry, and the Fin, Amirkhani.

Makwan Amirkhani (-190) vs Danny Henry (+165)

Round Total

OVER 2.5

Scotland’s Danny Henry is a big boy for the UFC’s 145-pound Featherweight Division.

Standing at 6’ tall with a 73-inch reach, The Hatchet isn’t really great at any one aspect of fighting and he isn’t terrible anywhere either. He is very hittable but Makwan will likely have his sights set on the takedown as he normally does.

I watched Danny fight Dan Ige and the surging Hawaiian was able to crack him early and follow up vicious ground and pound followed by a clean rear-naked choke for the first round tap.

The Scot fought Daniel Teymur in his UFC debut, a short stocky Swedish striker with limited mixed martial arts skills. Teymur just lost to Chase Hooper if that puts this in perspective.

The Swede was lighting up Henry until he gassed halfway through the second round.

In his only other UFC fight, Danny Henry shot a nice right hand down the middle and caught the much more polished and explosive striker, Hakeem Dawodu. The Hatchet quickly jumped on a high elbow guillotine and the Canadian was forced to tap.

I don’t think that fight would play out the same way again even if the two men fought 10 times. Credit to Henry, though. He has great size, an excellent gas tank, nice submissions, and sneaky power.

Will it matter against a fighter who averages 3.4 takedowns per 15 minutes?

Makwan was just in there with Shane Burgos and the Fin won the first round.

He took down the MASSIVE Shane Burgos with his first attempt and came very very close to finishing the young star with a guillotine choke.

After the first round, though, it was all one-way traffic for Shane even though Makwan came close on a couple of takedown attempts.

Makwan does have a bit of a suspect gas tank but according to his Instagram, he has developed a love for running and there’s nothing like pounding that pavement for fight cardio.

There is a reason boxers and Thai fighters run nearly every day.

Even if Makwan Amirkhani can’t get Danny Henry to the mat, he could still outstrike him. He was out-striking Burgos until he was forced to his back foot in the later rounds.

Henry is going to make him work for it, yes, but I don’t think he will be able to hold off the relentless takedowns of Amirkhani. If he got Burgos down, he would likely get Danny to the floor.

My Pick

In Conclusion

The UFC Fight Island is ready to put on fights this Saturday!

I hope they are on the beach but the latest word is that there will be walls and a roof. BORING!! I kid.

How can you have 3 title fights on the main card and call it boring?

  • Jose Aldo vs Petr Yan!
  • Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade 2!
  • Street Jesus on a week’s notice is gonna get his shot at the seemingly untouchable Usman’s belt!

This should be a lot of fun and even with all of the hype and exposure, I believe there are several fights on the card that have valuable betting odds we can exploit.

One of those is Makwan Amirkhani vs Danny Henry.

Makwan was 5-1 in the UFC with his only loss a split decision to the highly impressive Arnold Allen when they gave him a step up against Shane Burgos.

Amirkhani almost beat him in the first round but the never tired New Yorker, Burgos, pressured the Fin until he put him away in the third.

Now, Makwan is getting a step down in competition and is expected to win. I would cap this one at (-240) for Amirkhani so the (-190) still holds some value.

Get your pick in now as this one will likely get more expensive the closer we get to fight time.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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