Breakdown and Predictions for Shogun vs. Hendo

This Saturday we’ll witness two former-Pride champions go toe-to-toe in UFC 139 as Dan Henderson returns to the UFC to fight Mauricio Shogun Rua. Both of these fighters are seasoned vets who have seen their fair-share of battles and both are coming off of big wins—Shogun against Forrest Griffin at, and Hendo against Fedor Emelianenko. This match will be a very pivotal one as whoever wins this fight will be within striking distance of another shot at the UFC light-heavyweight title. A fight between these two legends has long been anticipated and come this weekend, fight fans will finally get to see how these two men match up against each other.

Thanks to Shogun’s Muay Thai base, he has a more versatile arsenal of strikes as compared to Henderson. Rua is dangerous with his knees, kicks, and his punches while Hendo only has one dangerous weapon: a killer right hand. Apparently, that weapon is so effective that it’s been given its own name, the “H-Bomb,” and has knocked out numerous fighters in highlight reel fashion, including Feijao Cavalcante, Fedor Emelianenko, and (most memorably) Michael Bisping. Rua is a BJJ black belt, who has very good submissions and leg locks, while Henderson is an Olympic medalist in wrestling. Both men have knock out power but are, at the same time, very difficult to knock out (neither man has ever been knocked out in his MMA career).

What Shogun must do to win:
Shogun has to avoid getting into a brawl with Henderson, who could stay in the pocket and wing a devastating right hand. Shogun has to press the action as he did against Griffin and dictate a steady pace, picking Henderson apart with his kicks. Shogun must also avoid wrestling with the Olympian to avoid getting held down and beaten down as he did against current champ Jon Jones. In the event that he does get taken down, he must scramble to get up, sweep, or go for a submission. If Shogun can keep Henderson at bay with his kicks, he can pick away at Hendo and counter-punch. Shogun also has very powerful knee strikes that, if he finds the plum, he’ll be able to use to great effect. Shogun may be able to stop the fight with his wild-man hammer fists if ever he finds himself in top position on the ground.

What Henderson must do to win:

Henderson will want to push the pace, stalk Shogun, and test the Brazilian’s suspect gas tank. If the pace of opening round of this fight is anywhere near that of the Fedor vs. Hendo fight, then Shogun may tire, and the upper-hand will go to Henderson who needs only one shot to any man’s chin to turn his lights out. In the clinch, Henderson has an advantage but must pin Shogun against the cage or take him down immediately to avoid any devastating knees. In order to pull off a victory, Henderson will have to dictate the fight pace with his superior conditioning and close the distance.

Prediction: 
Henderson will be able to catch Shogun and finish him off with strikes on the ground. TKO victory for Hendo via:

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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