Saturday July 30, Strikeforce will be in the Sears Center in what is primed to be one of their most important cards to date. The event will showcase a main event that features two PRIDE veterans and former champions, alongside a women’s MMA championship bout and two fights that can determine the title scenario in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
For years, Fedor Emelianenko ruled the Mixed Martial Arts world. Billed as unbeatable, the Russian sambo master had dominated and destroyed everyone faced against him. In the midst of adversity, outsized and slammed on top of his head, Fedor came out on top.
Dan Henderson had waged his own wars in the Japanese circuit, winning both their middleweight and light heavyweight crowns during his time. The Olympic wrestling combined with an explosive right hand captivated him to fame and legendary status.
As time moved on and matches completed, the two have taken different paths. After successful wins over two former UFC heavyweight champions, Fedor began a successful run in Strikeforce; enter Fabricio Werdum. Falling into a triangle choke, The Last Emperor received his first legit defeat in over 30 professional bouts. His next match with Antonio Silva saw the Russian dwarfed in size and dominated for two rounds until a doctor stopped the fight before R3. Fedor is 0-2 for the first time in his career and will look to win against the Team Quest wrestler and begin his climb back to the top. As he told media during the conference call earlier, “I have not decided what will happen after this fight. It is God’s will for me. I have trained and will fight my fight.”
Dan Henderson has had a roller coaster ride since coming into the UFC. Losing both of his title unification bouts (in separate weight classes) he opted for free agency after his UFC contract expired. Signing with the San Jose based promoter saw him in an immediate middleweight title fight with Jake Shields. Billed as a lock to win, the wrestler was dominated and sent back with many wondering what was next.
After fighting at middleweight, he moved back to light heavyweight and finished Babalu Sobral in R1 via KO and set himself in title contention again. Facing off against Black House fighter Rafael Calvacante, Henderson reminded us all that age is nothing but a number and finished his opponent TKO to secure another championship in his legacy.
This sets the stage for what can be the most important fight in Fedor’s career and across the cage another opportunity for “Hendo” to cement his position with the greatest of all time. Both men have nothing left to prove in this sport but fight because they enjoy it and are still capable. Knowing his opponent has strengths on the ground and the feet, Hendo isn’t sacred but ready for the task at hand. “I have watched him fight for years, I know what he is going to want to do and know what I want to do. Anybody who is coming off of losses is dangerous and Fedor is always dangerous.
Scott Coker will either continue to rake in the cash cow for the Russian fighter or be explaining what to do with him the next morning to media. A loss for Fedor needs to be a realization that the time is now to retire, a win however still puts him in dangerous territory as the fighters in his division are much bigger and are only getting better.
Dan Henderson will win in any outcome. A win will give him another big name in his list of victims, where a loss will interrupt his record but he retains his light heavyweight championship since they are fighting at a catch weight for the bout.
Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson airs live Saturday July 30, 2011 @ 10pm on Showtime.
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