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Strikeforce preview: Can Dan Henderson give Fedor Emelianenko his third loss in a row?

Dan Henderson(left) will face Fedor Emelianenko

The main event of the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson main event will obviously be between Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson. Dan Henderson will be moving up to heavyweight to face Emelianenko, even though he has fought as a middleweight as is the current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.

Dan Henderson comes into this fight with an overall record of (28-8) with 13 wins via TKO/KO. He was last seen in the cage knocking out Rafael Cavalcante to win the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship. Henderson has knockout power in his right hand and outstanding wrestling. He’s also extremely powerful for an undersized light heavyweight.

Fedor Emelianenko comes into this fight with an overall record of (31-3 1 NC) with 16 wins via submission and 8 wins via TKO/KO. He was last seen in the cage receiving an absolute beatdown at the hands of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silvain the first round of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament. Emelianenkoalso has big power in his hands, and an outstanding background in sambo. He’s incredibly explosive and quick for a heavyweight.

Bet on Fighting has Emelienenko as the betting favorite at (-260) and Henderson as the underdog at (+210).

This is an interesting fight for the simple fact that stylistically it favors the smaller fighter in Dan Henderson. Henderson has a great chin, and the ability to take the larger Emelianenko down and has considerable power himself. However, if there was one chink in the armor of Henderson it would be his submission defense which is something that Emelianenko could exploit if Henderson gets careless. Almost half of Henderson’s losses have come via submission. The one chink in Emelianenko’s armor is that he doesn’t take punishment very well. He cuts very easy and that’s something Henderson can exploit if he takes Emelianenko down and lands some ground and pound.

I don’t see either guy knocking the other out as neither have been knocked out before. I don’t think either has a distinct advantage on the feet as both are not technically sound strikers. Emelianenko has the edge in hand speed but that’s about it. I don’t think the weight difference will be much of a problem for Henderson as he’s incredibly powerful by all accounts from those that have trained with him.

Fedor needs to keep his distance standing and use his explosive hand speed to score with strikers. Otherwise, he needs to put Henderson on his back somehow. Fedor’s ground and pound is legendary and Henderson is prone to submissions as I mentioned before. However, if he’s not able to do either of those things I don’t see how he wins unless he catches Henderson with a hail mary right hand the way he did Andrei Arlovski or Brett Rogers.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m picking Dan Henderson to win this fight because I think he has more ways to win. I think he will be able to control where the fight takes place. I think he’ll be able to close the gap on Fedor and put him against the cage and then he has many options from there. He could just control the action from that position or simply put Fedor on his back. He’ll need to be aware of Fedor’s ability to throw him if clinched against the cage as Fedor has a background in judo. He’ll also need to be careful of Emelianenko’s ability to explode with his hips while going for sweeps and/or armbar if he is successful getting the takedown. Fedor has fought one dimensional his past few fights, but he certainly will go for submissions if put on his back.

If Fedor is able to win it would ignite all types talk about how he’s back, etc. However, if he is to lose to Dan Henderson, he pretty much needs to call it a career and then Dan Henderson could add another notch in his belt and continue his distinguished career. If Henderson loses, well he lost to a heavyweight and to one of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time and there’s no shame in that.

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