Let me rephrase: "Why Fedor Should Beat Henderson"
Chicago will be the scene for this Saturday's July 30, 2011 fight between Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) and the current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson (27-8).
The betting odds place 34-year-old Fedor at an even 2-to-1 favourite over the 40-year-old Henderson. And this writer is very comfortable with The Last Emperor's chances this weekend.
Although the old Fedor is gone forever, the man has not died or been paralyzed. He is still an extremely potent fighter against most of the current top-10 200 to 230-pound fighters.
The only thing truly in Fedor's way is...Fedor.
He is more talented, considerably younger and has more arsenal than Dan Henderson.
During an interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, Dan said he expected to be "about 204 pounds" on fight night. Whereas Fedor will be his usual 230. This is a size difference that matters as the fight progresses. Especially if there is a lot of cage and ground mélées.
Henderson has a puncher's chance with his patented overhand right—known as the "H-Bomb"—but he cannot follow Fedor to the ground and will not exchange kicks with the Russian. Nor can Dan afford a submission battle.
If Fedor has decided that he still longs for challenges in the arena and actually trained with heart he will steamroll Henderson.
There is nothing on paper or in YouTube highlight reels that could make Fedor feel smaller than Henderson.
The Fedor that shows up on Saturday night will tell his fan base what to expect in the last phase of his career. Will he mount a light heavyweight title run in the UFC, or has he become a pay day fighter?
Chicago's Sears arena will be a chest X-ray evaluating Fedor's heart.
If his fighter's heart still beats, the recent back-to-back losses will have awakened and refocused The Last Emperor. If the will to compete has faded, he'll either lose or eek out an unimpressive decision and live to fight two to three more times on his way out of the fight game.
Few MMA fighters today have the class and healthy personal life of Fedor. And for this reason, I would like to see a glorious finish to the Russian's career. Randy Couture jumped up and down weight classes and squeezed surprising amounts of juice out of a seemingly dead end series of losses in his late 30's.
Fedor is only entering his mid 30's and simply needs to want victory over Henderson enough to simply decide to do what he already can: beat not only Henderson, but most of the light heavyweight division in the UFC.
Although I am a Fedor fan, I am realistic. I believe a two-year run could see Fedor blast through Henderson, Shogun and Rampage. But when it comes to Jon Jones, I am no longer comfortable with the odds for the Emperor.
I believe Fedor is currently much too young, fit and healthy to hang up the four-ouncers. We could see "old" Fedor streaks if he downsized his competition.
But if he can't win a belt at light heavy in the next 18 months because of the Jones' Era, it would be senseless to go on as gate keeper.
Final prediction is Fedor by submission in early third round.
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