Bellator 292 predictions — Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Benson Henderson: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream

The Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix kicks off with a high-profile title fight between Usman Nurmagomedov and Benson Henderson. It’s the present and the future against the past as reigning champion Nurmagomedov defends his crown against multiple champion Henderson at Bellator 292 on Friday night.

Nurmagomedov (16-0) made his first Bellator lightweight title defense in San Jose against a very experienced opponent. Henderson is in the last stretch of his career, but he is by far the most experienced and established Grand Prix competitor. Nurmagomedov lived up to the high expectations associated with his last name. Friday’s main event gives him the opportunity to create his own legacy by adding a famous name to his perfect track record.

“Benson is a great opponent because he is a great fighter with a great legacy, so for me, beating him first would be a big step forward,” Nurmagomedov said at the Bellator 292 press day on Wednesday. “It’s a great start because he’s very famous. It will be good for my resume.

“Whether in MMA or life in general, I never fire people. The fact that he lost can be due to many reasons, and people tend to correct their mistakes. He is a strong fighter and I don’t underestimate him because he has lost fights before.”

It took a while, but Henderson (30-11 years old) found himself in familiar territory. The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion is no stranger to the spotlight, defeating Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Frankie Edgar (twice) and Donald Cerrone (twice). Bellator 292 is Henderson’s last fight. One last push for a world title before he steps aside to support his wife Maria Henderson’s burgeoning MMA career. Henderson is by far the biggest underdog of his career, but you won’t be able to gauge that by talking to him.

“[I have the advantage] everywhere,” Henderson told CBS Sports. “I think the biggest challenge for him will be kickboxing. If he wants to stay in kickboxing and just kickboxing, I have no problem with that. We put on gloves and fight according to the rules of kickboxing. I think I will win this. Put on your gloves and fight in Muay Thai, I think I’ll win that too.

“Do you want to put on a jersey and start wrestling? No problem. Let’s do freestyle, let’s do Greco, let’s do folk style. Whatever fighting style you choose, I’ll probably win. wins me in sambo. I don’t have much experience in sambo. In jiu-jitsu gi I win it. No-gi in jiu-jitsu, I win it.”

Check out the full interview with Benson Henderson below.

Friday’s co-main event includes a Grand Prix fight at the opposite end of the bracket. Tofik Musaev and Alexander Shabliy, who took 2nd and 4th places in the official Bellator rating, respectively, meet in the quarterfinal match. Musaev has a little deja vu as the winner of the Rizin Grand Prix. The Azerbaijani fighter knocked out Sidney Outlaw in 27 seconds in his Bellator debut and also defeated former lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull. Shablil enters the fight with a seven-fight winning streak, including a TKO of former champion Brent Primus and UFC alumnus Adriano Martins. Striking phenomenon Michael “Venom” Page opens the main card against submission ace Goichi Yamauchi.

Below is the rest of the fight card for Friday with the latest odds from Caesar’s bookmaker before we move on to the forecast and choose the main event.

Bellator 292 map odds

Darling outsider Weight category
Usman Nurmagomedov (c) -2000 Benson Henderson +1000 Lightweight Championship
Alexander Shabliy -140 Tofig Musyaev +120 Easy
Valentin Moldavsky -300 Linton Wassel +240 heavyweight
Michael’s Page -125 Goichi Yamauchi +105 welterweight

Viewing information Bellator 292

Date of: March 10 | Start time: 22:00 ET (main map)
Location: SAP Center – San Jose, California
TV channel: Show time


Usman Nurmagomedov vs Benson Henderson: The stakes are terribly disrespectful to Henderson, but it’s a testament to Nurmagomedov’s boundless potential. Nurmagomedov is already an all-round threat, and at 24, he has a good decade to become truly special. The lightweight champion showed off his grappling skills in a dominant performance against Patrick Pitbull. This was a major addition to the dynamic strikes he had shown in previous fights. However, the ultra-talented and well-prepared champion should expect a long night of work against Henderson. The challenger has the ability to fight from a distance and slow grappling exchanges, a combination that has kept him safe and healthy throughout his 13-year career. Henderson, 39, has only been stopped four times in 41 fights and only once in the past seven years. Henderson has as diverse a skill set as he claims, but I doubt he has enough technical edge, if any, to offset Nurmagomedov’s strength and athleticism. The fight may be marginally competitive depending on Nurmagomedov’s result, but the result is the same. Nurmagomedov via UD


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