Strikeforce just keeps on keepin’ on, ya know? Even after Zuffa, who owns and operates the UFC, bought Strikeforce back in March, Strikeforce has continued to operate as a premier MMA organization. From this summer’s Heavyweight Grand Prix to now a possible “super fight” between two MMA veteran champions taking place outside Chicago, Illinois this Saturday night, Strikeforce continues to produce high-end fights. I know what many of you fight fans out there are saying, “Emelianenko vs. Henderson is a great fight… 5 years ago!” I was saying that, too; things like, oh both these guys are past their prime, Fedor can’t dominate anymore or Hendo is 40 years old for Christ’s sake. How can anyone expect a 40 year old vs a fighter who has lost his last two fights to be considered a super fight? Maybe that would have worked if Henderson was still simultaneously holding the Light Heavy and Middle weight titles or Fedor was still in the midst of a ten year unbeaten streak, but now in 2011, long since both of these warriors’ glory days in Pride… c’mon.
You wanna know something? That’s all a bunch of shit. Take a look at these two guys. We have Fedor Emelianenko who was UNBEATEN for TEN YEARS and won 27 fights IN A ROW! There is no way that two losses means this guy is done. If anything, these past two fights have lit a fire deep inside one of the most precise fighters in the world. One of the last places I would want to be is between Fedor and a victory. I can only imagine what he must be thinking during his camp. This is a man who looks truly embarrassed after a loss; a look that says he will do anything to not let it happen again. And speaking of his two losses, it’s not like they were against a couple minor leaguers. He lost to two of the best heavyweights in the business. A division where Fedor’s 5’11″ 230-lb build is rapidly becoming too small. His last lost came at the hands of Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. They call him “Big Foot” for a reason. Try a 6’4” and 265-lb reason. And the loss before that to Werdum came at the hands of one of the top BJJ practitioners in the world. One could hardly make the argument that Fedor is done.
And then there is Dan “Hendo” Henderson. This is a guy who might be 40, but so what? We all saw Randy Couture effectively fight well into his 40’s. And what about boxer Bernard Hopkins? This past May, at age 46, Hopkins won the Ring, WBC, WBC Diamond and IBO Light Heavyweight Titles surpassing George Foreman’s record as the oldest champion in history. So, being 40 does NOT rule someone out of contention. At all. Dan is also coming off of two dominating victories with the latter winning him the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title.
So, this fight is definitely legit. We have two of the most dominating figures in the sport’s history going head to head. Another aspect of this match-up is how close it is. Every pundit in the MMA world is split. Many think this is Hendo’s fight while an equal amount are claiming this is the fight the gets Fedor back on track. It really is that close. But let’s take a closer look and see if there isn’t an advantage one way or the other.
An important aspect worth noting is that this is a heavyweight bout. Many thought that there would be some catch weight agreed upon, but as always, Hendo is not shy to move around weight classes. This is, of course, the first guy to ever hold two belts simultaneously at different weight classes in MMA history so moving up is not a problem. Now having said that, anyone who wrestles or trains BJJ knows how much a 20-30 pound difference can make when you have some dude sitting on your chest trying to choke the shit out of you. Those extra pounds could make all the difference in the world to Fedor. If he can take advantage of the weight difference and use it to control Hendo on the ground (who is a world class wrestler, btw) then Dangerous Dan is going to have to suffer through some serious ground and pound. Not to mention how talented a submission specialist Fedor is. I don’t think Hendo will want to try and take Fedor down this fight. The size advantage will surely help Fedor when it comes to stuffing any take down attempts.
Dan will have to use his striking to create opportunities throughout the fight. This is good news for him since his hands should be considered lullabies… because they put muthafuckers to sleep! For those of you who don’t remember his 2009 KO (which won multiple KO of the Year awards) over Micheal Bisping, check it out here. Then check out any of his other 13 KO’s and you will see what I mean. Hendo is going to have to use is speed to control the pace of this fight. He will also have to rely on hand speed and boxing to keep Fedor at bay and neutralize the take down game.
Now, having gone through all that, it would be easy for me to switch the names and ground vs striking advantages around and still have a pretty accurate description of what could happen. Both these guy’s games are that good. This is what makes this particular fight so hard to predict. I guess that closer look didn’t shed any extra light on the situation, huh? All in all, this match-up undoubtedly deserves the Super Fight title.
We wanna know what you think. Who’s taking it? And why?