Having taken a look at their recent Challengers show it’s now time to step forward a few days to the meeting of the legends as we take a look at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson.
The show began in the welterweight division as Scott Smith took on Tarec Saffiedine.
This was a masterful performance from Saffiedine. The Belgian put in an excellent striking display, constantly changing his stance from south paw to orthodox and back again, rolling off the combinations and combining them with hard kicks.
It was as if Smith didn’t have an answer to this tactic. His face was marked up early in the first round, and as the fight progressed he more or less became a statue, hardly moving as Saffiedine connected with blow after blow.
With the fight going the distance the judges came into the equation, with all three giving everything to Saffiedine.
The welterweight action continued with my fellow Brit Paul Daley taking on Tyron Woodley.
This proved to be a very intriguing battle. Woodley did a good job of imposing his will on the fight, going for take downs on a number of occasions and stopping Daley from unleashing his huge punching power.
Daley did show some improvement on the ground, especially on the defensive side of things, and he even went for a couple of submission attempts. But his only real moment of offence came late in the fight with an alma plata attempt, but Woodley was able to escape.
Once more the judges were called into action as they gave Woodley the unanimous decision. Those in attendance didn’t seem to like it, but Woodley deserved the win.
Then it was up to the middleweight division as Robbie Lawler faced Tim Kennedy.
This certainly was an interesting battle. For the first two rounds these two put on a great back and forth battle, especially on the ground. Lawler put on a great defensive display, quickly getting back to his feet whenever Kennedy scored with the take down.
But even though Lawler his man’s face above the right eye and on the bridge of the nose it was Kennedy who was the busier in the second round as he went to work with the ground and pound.
The third round was disappointing. At a time when he really needed to up his game Lawler just didn’t seem to have it in him, and it was frustrating, especially considering Kennedy looked exhausted.
There was more work for the judges afterwards as Kennedy earned the unanimous decision. If only Lawler had pushed the pace in that final round.
The penultimate fight saw Miesha Tate challenge Marloes Coenen for the women’s Bantamweight title.
This was another of those intriguing affairs. It wasn’t overly flashy but it was full of solid action.
The majority of the fight was contested on the ground. Tate lived up to her nickname on a number of occasions, but while she was on top there were times when she was just content to control the champion. Coenen, for her part, went for a guillotine, but Tate was able to escape.
The end came in the fourth round. Tate scored with the take down once again and pulled off the best move of the fight, controlling Coenen on the ground in side control before transitioning to the mount and then to the opposite side where she locked in an arm triangle for the submission win. A solid fight with a great ending.
The main event featured heavyweight action as Fedor Emelianenko tacking Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson.
If you ever wanted to see an MMA encounter that had that big fight feel then this is the fight to see. A quick beginning saw both fighters swinging for the trees, with Henderson opening up a cut near Fedor’s right eye.
From there they engaged in a clinch against the cage, and after they jockeyed for position they began to unload again, with Fedor rocking Henderson and sending him down to the ground.
Seconds later and it was all over. Henderson recovered quickly and escaped from Fedor’s ground and pound, going behind the Russian and delivering a right uppercut from behind. Fedor went limp as Henderson went for the ground and pound as the referee quickly stepped in to give Henderson the excellent TKO win.
In conclusion - after the impressive Challengers show the Strikeforce crew went one better with this event.
From top to bottom we were treated to an event packed with great action, topped off by an explosive main event that had the kind of big fight feel that is sadly missing MMA’s counterparts in the world of professional boxing.
Dan Henderson’s win over Fedor Emelianenko not only confirms him as a bonafide legend in MMA history but it also places a big question mark over the career of the Last Emperor. Sadly the supposed best heavyweight ever hasn’t really impressed that much during his Strikeforce tenure, and I don’t really see him making any improvements in his game anytime soon.
So does Fedor vs. Henderson get the big thumbs up? It sure does, and there’s not much more I can really say on this matter.