On Saturday night in New Orleans two middleweight veterans will be vying to make a statement and get back into the discussion within the 185 division. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch and Dan “Hendo” Henderson will be meeting for a 5 round main event, a very important bout for both fighters as they are recently coming off of fights in which they were both dominated in. The main storyline to follow throughout this weekend will be what does Henderson have left? Dan Henderson is coming to the tail end of his legendary career and if he is unable to get a win over Boetsch there will be little left for him in the UFC, he has fought a murders row of killers in his last 8 fights but only winning 3 of them it maybe time to hang it up if he can’t get the W.
Dan Henderson is 44 years old and has been a part of the some of the biggest and best fights in his illustrious career. From capturing both belts in Pride FC, upsetting Fedor Emelianenko or his bloody battle with Shogun, Henderson has been and will always be one of the best fighters of this era. Unfortunately for Henderson, father time seems to be catching up with him, nothing more evident than this is/was his need of testosterone replacement therapy, sadly for him as it is now illegal to use when competing in a mixed martial arts bout. Furthermore, if we look at his record it starts to slide right after his epic battle with Shogun, a fight that will live on as one of the best ever between two legends of the sport, but there is a possibility that during the fight he took too much damage and it caused his body to start pumping the brakes on his career.
Looking at this fight with Tim Boetsch, Henderson has to show himself that he has the ability to keep fighting in the UFC, he needs this win and he needs it bad. Nowadays when Henderson fights it seems that if he wins or loses is based on his ability to land what Mauro Ranallo dubbed the “H-Bomb”, his powerful right hand, the same right hand that he’s knocked out the likes of Fedor and Michael Bisping. The problem is that he hasn’t been landing it too often, he was able to catch Shogun after a weird scramble but besides that hasn’t seen success with it since 2011. He likes to set it up with a left inside kick and come over the top with it but fighters see it, it’s clear as day that’s what he does and he still depends too much on it. The reason he depends on it now could because that’s all he has left in his arsenal, and looking at the Boetsch fight that really is the only way I could possibly see him win.
Tim Boetsch, though much younger than Henderson is also in a fight that is must win. If he loses to Henderson, he basically needs to start over in the middleweight division, he gained so much from his 4 fight win streak that was capped by a shocking comeback KO over former title challenger in Yushin Okami and then he had strange upset split decision over Hector Lombard. Ever since that streak he has gone 2-4, most recently losing to Thales Leites by submission. Currently ranked in the top 15, a win over Henderson shouldn’t do much for his ranking but anytime you can beat a name like Henderson it will certainly help your exposure to the fans. More importantly Boetsch has to beat Henderson in dominate fashion, if he wins by decision it will most likely do him more harm than good as Henderson is aging and hasn’t looked great recently.
During this fight with Dan Henderson it will be of the utmost importance for Tim Boetsch to remember to keep circling to his right, away from the power right hand of Henderson. Boetsch will want to use his youth to his advantage, to keep moving and try to keep the pace high to tire the older Henderson. Boetsch has some underrated kicks as well but may want to keep them to a minimal as they sometimes open you up to have a big punch land against you. Boetsch’s best offensive comes close within the clinch range as he too is very powerful, and even though Henderson is a greco roman wrestler it seems he has gotten away from his roots and Boetsch should have advantage in the clinch by being the bigger more physical fighter. Boetsch has to wade through fire to win this fight, he will have to reach the clinch and look to do damage there, all the while being very cognizant of Henderson’s right hand. It would be beneficial for Boetsch to attempt a takedown when he achieves the clinch as well, though a different beast, Daniel Cormier had great success on the ground with Henderson.
At the end of the night I see Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch’s hand being raised. I foresee Boetsch grinding out a decision in a less than spectacular fashion, using his clinch work against the cage to do damage and land an occasionally takedown, but never doing enough damage to put the veteran Henderson away. I don’t think Henderson will be able to hit the “H-Bomb” and will now be on a 3 fight losing streak with a lot of questions surrounding his career. The even more unfortunate side of this that it may be one of the last times we see Dan Henderson step into the Octagon, as his days as a competitor are limited by father time.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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