It was the best of times...
It is going to be the greatest MMA bout in the young history of Mixed Martial Arts.
UFC 82: Pride of a Champion is on tomorrow and for me, the 2008 MMA season starts. The headlining match is between current UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva and current Pride FC Middleweight Champion, Dan Henderson.
This fight is everything that Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva was supposed to be before Wanderlei lost to Henderson at Pride 33 which crowned Dan Henderson the first in MMA to hold two belts in different weight classes from the same organization.
There is no unsubstantiated hype surrounding either fighter. This is not Brock Lesnar nor Kimbo Slice but rather, two accomplished top tier veterans of Mixed Martial Arts in their respective weight class putting everything on the line for the highly coveted belt as the event title goes, Pride of a Champion.
I've had a chance to really think about this match and only one constant rang true for me when measuring the style and "spirit" of both fighters is that it will be bloody and the most violent fight you'll ever see which will become the benchmark for any fighter who ever has aspirations of becoming a future champion in the UFC.
I was disappointed with the Rampage/Henderson fight at UFC 75 because it amounted to nothing more than a wrestling match for five rounds with Rampage coming out on top on points when the decision was made unanimously by the judges in favor of Rampage.
I expected to see a slug fest however, it was smart of Henderson to steer clear of that knowing full well that Rampage Jackson has the most powerful punch in MMA. I applaud Rampage for beating Henderson at his own wrestling game but like I said, five rounds of wrestling isn't much fun to watch in a mixed martial arts match (not to mention a title fight at that) and you can be sure that Anderson will not play the same game.
Back to Anderson and Hendo... In watching Henderson, it is clear that he likes to tie up his opponent in the body clinch against the ropes/fence. This will be a detrimental move for Henderson against a Muay Thai black belt which will precipitate the Muay Thai plum to gain control over the shorter Henderson... think Rich Franklin when he fought Silva the first time and the second :)
UFC 64: Middleweight title fight - Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin
Anderson Silva vs. Franklin II
Some critics of MMA say that the fighters don't have adequate or even correct boxing skills. Well, this cannot be said for Anderson Silva as his punches are straight, crisp and accurate. Henderson on the other hand utilizes looping hay maker type punches similar to Chuck Liddell which has the power to knock his opponent out but not the same accuracy as Anderson or even the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Rampage Jackson for that matter.
It is important to note that neither Dan Henderson or Anderson Silva have ever been knocked out in an MMA bout. I don't see it happening in this fight either. What I do see is Henderson getting sloppy in the later rounds (3 or 4) then succumbing to a simple armbar when the opportunity presents itself.
Henderson has lost to both of the Nogueira brothers this way in the past and seeing that Anderson Silva trains in Black House with them, I don't see any other way than a submission victory for Anderson Silva to end this fight.
Although Dan Henderson is a bona-fide top tier fighter, he hasn't ever faced a fighter like Anderson Silva yet in his career and fortunately for the 37 year old fighter, he probably never will again.
Here's some handpicked highlights of both fighter's careers... Hope you enjoy the fight tomorrow as I surely will!
Dan Henderson Highlight
Anderson Silva Highlight
Fightlinker.com » Fightlinker - MMA, UFC, and other funny fight crap
Five Ounces of Pain
MMA on Tap
Friday, February 29, 2008
It was the best of times...
Posted by Greg Clark at 11:31 AM