Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko are MMA legends, and while they may be on the backsides of their illustrious careers, they are still two of the most dangerous and talented fighters currently competing in the world mixed martial arts.
On July 30, these two legendary MMA figures will finally battle it out against one another in front of what will surely be a packed house at the Sears Centre in Chicago, IL.
Fans will be treated to much more than an epic battle between MMA greats, as Strikeforce 135 lb. Women's Champion Marloes Coenen looks to defend her title against the always dangerous Miesha Tate.
With a stacked card that continues to look more and more interesting as this event draws near, here is an early look at how I (a self-proclaimed MMA expert) see things playing out.
While I am a self-proclaimed MMA expert, I am far from knowledgeable about the world of Women’s MMA. I enjoy the fights these ladies produce, but outside of the major names, I really don’t follow it that closely, so I’ve had to do a little research on this rumored matchup.
While Julie Kedzie has more experience and is trained by MMA guru Greg Jackson, I don’t see her winning this fight against the superior grappling of Alexis Davis.
Alexis Davis via Unanimous Decision
There are few fighters in the world of MMA that have the highlight reel Scott Smith has, but while he may not always be on the winning end of those highlights, Smith has some of the most devastating hands in the sport today, and his decision to move down to the welterweight division may still pay some dividends for his career down the road.
Facing MMA's version of "The Human Highlight Reel" is a tough and talented up and coming striker, Tarec Saffiedine. Saffiedine may not have Smith's one punch power, but he comes at his opponents with a varied and dynamic striking attack, a style Smith has long had trouble contending with.
Tarec Saffiedine via Second Round TKO
Paul Daley is perhaps the most powerful striker, pound for pound, in all of MMA. When he hits you, you go to sleep. But he also happens to be one of the worst grapplers competing in the upper echelon of MMA's welterweight division.
That just so happens to be the bread and butter of future Strikeforce star Tyron Woodley.
While this fight is Woodley's first dip into the deep end of the talent pool, he has all the skills and athleticism to be successful. I anticipate Woodley being able to instill his will on the fight and dictate where the action will take place.
Tyron Woodley via Second Round Submission
One of the more interesting matchups rumored to be taking place is the middleweight showdown between Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler, both of whom are looking to get another crack at current Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jacare Souza.
Lawler is coming off of a well fought loss to Jacare this past January, so it will be interesting to see how he is able to rebound and if he can get back on track and earn another shot at the title. While he was eventually choked out in the fight, Lawler did display some very impressive submission defense and toughness. Pair that with his always dangerous hands, and we could be in store for a great fight with Kennedy.
Kennedy, on the other hand, lost a hard fought unanimous decision to Jacare back in August, 2010 and rebounded nicely in March by submitting the always dangerous Melvin Manhoef in the first round.
Both fighters in this matchup are well rounded, with Lawler being the more dangerous striker and Kennedy being the more dangerous grappler, so it will be interesting to see the gamesmanship that goes into this fight because at the end of the day, the winner will be the fighter who can impose their will.
If that is the case I am going with the Green Beret, Kennedy.
Tim Kennedy via Unanimous Decision
Rumored to be defending her title for a second time, fans should be looking forward to this matchup between champion Marloes Coenen and challenger Miesha Tate.
Both of these lovely ladies do their best work on the ground, so I am anticipating a wonderful grappling showdown between these two fine competitors.
Tate has somewhat become the "face" of women's MMA with the absence of Gina Carano, but looks aside, Tate is a beast of a grappler looking to impose her will with her dominant wrestling.
Coenen, on the other hand, has the skills to make things interesting on the feet, but at the end of the day, her best work is done off her back from the guard.
I fully anticipate a hard fought back and forth battle between these two, but in the end, I think that Coenen's submission expertise will make the difference here.
Marloes Coenen via Third Round Submission
These two modern day gladiators may no longer be in the primes of their careers, but I am still getting chills about this fight.
When the fight was first announced, I was a little apprehensive with it because Fedor is a heavyweight on a two-fight skid and Henderson just won the Strikeforce Light-heavyweight title. I still don't fully understand the timing of this bout, but as we continue to get closer to the event, I get more excited because I begin to think about the fact that we will be seeing two of the most decorated MMA fighters in the history of the sport mixing it up for the first time ever.
This is a must win fight for Fedor, in my opinion, and a very dangerous fight from him to take at that. Dan Henderson may be a smaller fighter, but he is an Olympic wrestler with a sledgehammer for a right hand, and Fedor has always seems to have trouble with high level wrestlers.
If Fedor is handed yet another loss, expect to see him retire from this sport, but don't count him out. He is as crafty and tough a veteran this sport has ever seen.
Henderson, on the other hand, seems to just be chugging right along after winning yet another major title by TKOing Rafael Cavalcante in the third round to claim Strikeforce gold.
Even at 40, Henderson still maintains a cast iron chin and a vicious, show stopping overhand right.
At first I was torn with who I would pick to win this matchup, but the more I think about it, the more clear the decision has made itself to me.
Henderson may be older, but Fedor has always had trouble with elite level wrestlers. Add to that Hendersons's wicked right hand, iron jar and potential speed advantage due to Fedor actually fighting a smaller man, and I think this could easily be the Emperor's Last Stand.
Dan Henderson via Second Round KO