UFC Lightheavyweight Clash Between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort Set!
UFC has set a Lightheavyweight matchup for November 9th between Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson. Both men are over 35 years old, so the match is expected to send the winner into a title shot. Oddly, with the UFC's booking of title fights lately, that title fight could come at Middleweight, especially if Belfort is the winner of the match in November.
It is an interesting, competitive match up of two real legend in the sport, and one that should see a relatively close line at the books. Though both men are nearing the end of their careers (with Henderson, who is in his 40's, being closer to the end) either man could be repackaged into a title fight with his next fight. A win for Henderson could see him repackaged into a Jon Jones title fight that has been previously cancelled, and Belfort likely lobbying for a title shot at Chris Weidman. Belfort will likely open a slight favorite, and it is anyone's guess where the line goes from there.
Henderson has dropped two fights in a row, with his last win coming in November of 2011 against 'Shogun' Rua. That match was a war, and Henderson has not won since then, as he seems to have lost a touch of speed. He just has not seemed to get there with his big punch in his last two bouts. Though it makes the highlight reel, the Bisping KO will be nearly a half decade old come fight time, and Belfort is absolutely the wrong opponent to bring a style that relies heavily on scoring with one big punch.
Belfort, who is 36, is riding a career resurgence that has seen him diversify his stand up game by using kicks to KO opponents to go with his bludgeoning hands. He has always been an excellent counter-striker, and Henderson's style of wading in and looking to land his KO right hand could see Belfort unload with a torrent of punches that take Henderson out. Henderson, who was a decorated Greco Roman wrestler, might be best served by closing the distance and fighting in the clinch. Not giving Belfort the distance to use his arsenal is a key, and getting him roughed up while they are there is imperative for Henderson. A takedown by Henderson is unlikely, as he tries very few and it would burn off precious energy, because Belfort will make him work for the takedown.
Scheduled for Brazil, not only will Belfort also have the home-field advantage, it will also be a five round fight, which favors Belfort. Though Belfort is a fast starter whose best moments often come in the first round of fights, he lasted until the 4th round against Jon Jones and he fought hard throughout, while Henderson puts out a lot of energy early in fights and has had a tendency to tire as the match goes on.
A loss would make a 3rd loss in a row for Henderson, and could signal the end of his storied career. Heading into the fight, Henderson's style of looking for the finish with one big punch will work against him in this bout.