Wow! Talk about a quick turn around for the crew at Zuffa. Wednesday in Kentucky, Saturday in Brazil… The brand is clearly working towards that global domination goal. Now, I hate to say it, but this preview is going to be incredibly abbreviated. Not only is this card rather lackluster to the average American fan, but the celebration of a quarter century of ALar living on this Earth is this Friday. That joyous event coincides with the start of UConn basketball season, therefore my time is somewhat limited. Even with those roadblocks in the way, my favorite fighter is in competition this weekend, so I HAVE to toss my fans some knowledge regarding Hendo’s latest scrap. A rare one fight preview from yours truly, but hit the jump to check it out!
Vitor Belfort (-230) v. Dan Henderson (+180)
On paper, this fight makes no sense. Vitor has been using his TRT fuel to shoot up the ladder at 185, while Hendo has been dropped two tentative fights in a row at Light Heavyweight. There is little marketing for the rematch here since both fighters have changed drastically since their PRIDE 32 scrap where Hendo dominated with his elite wrestling. Now in 2013, we find each athlete at very different points in their career. In recent media, Vitor is somehow attempting to convince us that his resurgence isn’t medically related, while Hendo is admittedly attempting to just maintain relevance within the sport since his fall from grace at UFC 151.
MMA hardcores will certainly be on edge when these two legends clash on Saturday, but who will come out victorious? Vitor has looked like a world-beater as of late, but if we look at how Hendo and Vitor each handled a certain Michael Bisping, we can toss that one out as a push. We can then compare the Rockhold win for Vitor and the Evans loss for Hendo. Last time out, Vitor struck gold when he tossed out a spinning kick at Luke Rockhold’s dome and ended up with a violent KO victory. Hendo’s last two bouts have seen the wily vet hesitant to toss out the H-Bomb and he has dropped two decisions with little fuss.
On Saturday, I see this as a test of who can best control the tempo. Hendo holds the grappling advantage, but Vitor’s initial blitz isn’t something to be forgotten. We haven’t seen Vitor reach a decision since 2007, and I think this one might change that trend. Hendo knows how to control great strikers (Machida, Rampage) and can go toe to toe with damn near anyone (How’s life, Fedor?). Vitor can win this if he blitzes Hendo and earns an early stoppage, but when was the last time someone knocked out Dan Henderson??? Oh yeah, NEVER. I see this thing going to a decision with Hendo working Vitor on the feet. He will sustain the initial barrage and then use a combination of crisp striking and wrestling to put a beat down on Belfort. These two will be pretty high on the Coleman Index come the latter rounds therefore I believe Hendo will land that H-Bomb and earn a TKO win in the fourth. A great Birthday present for yours truly!