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.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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