Don't trip. There are some reasons to believe that Henderson and Machida will deliver an awesome fight.
Firstly, their fight is scheduled for only three rounds, which will entice Machida and Henderson to betray thoughts of conservative pacing.
While this fight deserves to be a five-round attraction, restricting it to three rounds should be more conducive to urgent action. Time restraints don't reward timidity, as Machida learned from the failure of his passive strategy against Rampage Jackson.
Furthermore, in a three-round fight, Henderson's gas tank won't be given a chance to sputter in the “championship rounds,” a deficiency of Henderson's that enabled Shogun Rua to keep Dan under his thumb in the fourth and fifth rounds of their fight. Machida and Henderson should be fresh throughout the fight.
Moreover, Henderson vs. Machida could easily supply a violent finish because each man possesses the ability to finish a fight instantly...with flair, too. The tension will be palpable knowing that either legend, in a flash, could dispatch the other with a single strike.
Their contrasting styles and personalities will also provide an intriguing spectacle: Hendo, the heroic brawler with hellacious raw power, squaring off with Machida, the nimble wizard with unerring accuracy. The juxtaposition of their styles will be a marvel in and of itself.
Yet another reason to invest hope in this fight is that both fighters will enter the Octagon on Feb. 23 with wills ignited by desperation. In fact, the implications of this fight are enormous for both.
Age is creeping on Henderson, whose contendership will be waived if he can't beat Machida. The cementation of Dan's legacy and his title hopes rely on beating Machida at UFC 157. He's running out of time to capture the strap; he has to fight like a man without time to waste.
Machida's desperation is also dire. He must win in order to guard his revered status in the light-heavyweight division and to remain in contention for the belt.
If he loses, however, Machida will be far-removed from his desired rematch with Jon Jones, thus he will have to reinvent his identity in the UFC.
Oh yes, both men have powerful motivations to help inspire them to a command performance on Feb. 23.