UFC 82: Pride of a Champion
Saturday March 1, 2008 11:00PM (EST)
Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva
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UFC Middleweight Championship mixed martial arts fight: Dan "Hollywood" Henderson +120 vs. Anderson "Spider Silva -150
At +120 at BetUS.com and at most online sportsbooks this is a great underdog pick to make. Yes Anderson “Spider” Silva (20-4) is a beast but so is Dan “Hollywood” Henderson (21-6). Henderson has done it all in mixed martial arts fighting and has fought the best of the best in MMA. Both have almost identical MMA records in the win/lose ratio, but the difference between the two is the level of competition each of them has fought.
Hollywood Henderson does not usually fight at the middleweight level as he chooses to fight at higher weight classes instead of his natural fight weight. He has also fought some of the best fighters in the world at these higher weight classes like Quinton Jackson at UFC 75: Champion vs Champion, Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE 33: The Second Coming and at PRIDE 12: Cold Fury, Vitor Belfort, Kazuo Misaki twice, Murilo Bustamante twice, Akihiro Gono, Ryo Chonan, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, his brother Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira twice, Yuki Kondo, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Shungo Oyama, Ricardo Arona, Murilo Rua, Akira Shoji, Renzo Gracie, Renato Sobral, Gilbert Yvel, Carlos Newton, and Allan Goes at UFC 17: Redemption.
Just look at the names he has fought. No one in MMA has fought the names he has fought and Henderson has fought in every scenario imaginable. He has fought in cages, rings, octagons, tournaments (He won the UFC 17 tournament, the 1999 RINGS King of Kings title and the 2005 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix), on short notice, in large stadium crowds, exhibitions (with Frank Shamrock), at Pankration tournaments like ADCC and of course for title fights.
Many non MMA fans have no idea about Henderson and his MMA pedigree and résumé. Henderson started wrestling at the age of 5. He went on to wrestle at Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State University, participating in the 1993 NCAA championships. After completing his collegiate eligibility, he moved to the international circuit, and competed on the 1992 and 1996 U.S. Summer Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling teams. He also co founded Team Quest with Matt Lindland and Randy Couture. In Pride, he was the last Welterweight (183 lb.) and Middleweight (205 lb.) champion of the PRIDE Fighting Championships at the same time.
Anderson Silva is no slouch and is the best striker in the middleweight division. However, in the UFC we have seen great KO ‘s from him. However, he just has not fought the level of fighters that Henderson has. Two wins over Rich Franklin at UFC 77: Hostile Territory and at UFC 64: Unstoppable is not a major feat as Franklin, in my opinion is one of he most overrated fighters in the world. He stopped Chris Leben who is no where in the same league as Silva and had no purpose being in the ring with him. Fans of the UFC only see the Silva dominance in the UFC which is good but he has fought a lesser level of fighters so his wins look outstanding.
Bottom Line: Dan Henderson has been hit by some of the hardest strikers in the world and at higher weight classes like Wanderlei Silva, Rampage Jackson and the Nogueira brothers and none of them could knock him and he has never been knockout in a MMA fight. EVER. If Silva is able to KO Henderson he will be the best pound for pound fighter bare none. But I don’t think so. Technically Silva is a better and smoother striker but Henderson has that looping over hand that catches a lot of fighters. He has a never say die attitude and is always pressing the attack.
Henderson is by far the better striker and even though Silva has better jujitsu, Silva will not be able to over power his BJJ skills on Henderson. This fight will be a slug fest and I see Henderson win the exchanges with heavy shot and he will take Silva down and score take down points. I don’t think Henderson will be able to ground and pound Silva out, but he will do enough damage to win the fight.
Dan "Hollywood" Henderson becomes the new UFC middleweight Champion with a 5 round split decision over Silva.
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