Dan “Hendo” Henderson vs. Rich “Ace” Franklin: UFC 93
Before I provide my analysis, let me start by providing each fighter’s statistics.
MMA Record: 26-3
MMA Record: 23-7
One may consider that this fight may not be that glamorous as there is no title on the light, but these are two fighters who are past champions. Both are great champions. Both are great fighters. Both are versatile.
There is definitely a great deal of respect for each other, but if you have listened and watched their interviews, you can see very clearly that they both are keeping the “trash talk” to a minimum. And if you are very attentive, you can tell that covertly, there is some blood boiling over this fight. This most certainly will be a good fight. No—a great fight.
Henderson is 3–2 in the Octagon. His last win was against was via a very well fought unanimous decision against Rousimar Palhares. Franklin is 11-2 in the Octagon. His last win was over Matt Hamill via TKO. Franklin, TKO last two fights at light heavyweight, and is also undefeated in the Octagon at this weight class.
So, how does it match up to other fights for 2009? Well, considering how the next fight is UFC 94 and in the same month, it wouldn’t exactly be at the top of the list, but certainly up there. Everyone has been waiting for the rematch between Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn for quite some time, and because both are title holders, it would be easy to say that Franklin vs. Henderson takes a back seat. But, this fight does have the potential to be one to be remembered for 2009.
Dan Henderson is a former Olympic wrestler, and he had tremendous success in Pride Fighting. Henderson has 11 wins via knockout and one by submission. Franklin has 13 knockouts and nine by submission. Franklin holds a two inch height advantage over Henderson. This fight on paper looks to be a very close and tight fight.
However, the success of Franklin’s record in the UFC greatly overshadows Henderson’s. There are different strategies, fighting styles, and rules in the UFC over Pride.
Both fighters have lost against Anderson Silva in the middleweight division. Although Henderson has tremendous wrestling ability, he has yet to be tested while on his back. Franklin has been there several times and has an excellent defense and he is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt.
There is no question that both fighters have heavy hands with KO power. I’ve yet to see Henderson gas out in a fight but no one will ever dispute Franklin’s intense workout and his conditioning.
Personally speaking, if I were to pick the outcome of this fight there are many things to obviously consider. I think that both are tremendous strikers but I would have to give slight advantage to Franklin based on his previous opponents. Ground game, I would say that this one would be a draw, only because both have yet to actually put their "ground and pound" to test along with their submission skills.
Henderson definitely has the stronger chin. I predict the fight going to Franklin via TKO. Only because of his mental game, he has the ability how to use his cunning to pick apart his opponents weakness.
That being said, and the fact that both are more than likely to stick in this division with the light heavyweight belt being bounced around so much, this will likely push the winner becoming the No. 1 contender.