Following an injury to Stephen Thompson, the UFC was left in a tough spot heading into next weekend’s UFC Fight Night 60 card as Brandon Thatch was without an opponent for the card’s main event. There were even some people on social media calling for the event to be scrapped altogether. But not anymore. On just two week’s notice, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has agreed to step up in a big way, moving up to welterweight for the first time in his UFC career, and he’ll now take on Thatch in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60. This is kind of a crazy move for Henderson to make, but I do respect him for doing so. Had he not stepped up, I’m really not sure who the UFC would have asked to fight Thatch. Most of the contenders at 170lbs were already booked for fights, so without Henderson stepping up it’s very possible the card could have been cancelled. But kudos for Henderson for stepping up and saving the card. I just don’t know if it’s a good idea for him to do this. Thatch is one of the biggest welterweights in the UFC and while Henderson was one of the biggest lightweights, he’ll be one of the smaller welterweights in the division. Not only that, but because of the short-notice timeframe of accepting the fight, Henderson will not be able to make the move up to 170 the right way as he won’t be able to pack on the muscle required to compete with the bigger, stronger fighters a weight class up. If Henderson had been given a three-month training camp then this move wouldn’t hurt him as bad, but moving up on short notice to fight a guy like Thatch just seems so dangerous. As for Thatch, going from Thompson to Henderson seems like an easier matchup for him. While Thompson doesn’t have great wrestling, his striking is no doubt elite and he had a very good chance of putting away Thatch in that matchup. With Henderson, though, Thatch will not have to worry about the striking threat since Henderson doesn’t have knockout power. He’ll only have to worry about Henderson’s wrestling, and while it’s good, I don’t know how much success he’s going to have taking down a big welterweight in Thatch, at least consistently. The line for this fight will be released shortly, and it will be interesting to see which way the betting public takes it, but at this point I’d have to figure Thatch will open the favorite, and rightfully so as far as I’m concerned.
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