Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson – Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend Strikeforce returns with two of the greatest fighters the sport has ever seen against each other in the main event. Former PRIDE champion and previously number one ranked heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, takes on former PRIDE 183-pound and 205-pound champion, and former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight contender Dan Henderson meet up in one of the most exciting match-ups of the year.
The card also features a women’s 135-pound title bout between champion Marloes Coenen and challenger Miesha Tate. Former EXC champion Robbie Lawler faces Tim Kennedy in a high profile middleweight bout, while heavy hitting Paul Daley faces wrestling stand-out Tyron Woodley. The main card is rounded out by Scott Smith and Tarrec Saffiedine.
The preliminary portion of the card is set to feature some quality match-ups as well, as two-time HERO’S lightweight tournament champion Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante meets Bobby Green and Eduardo Pamplona fights Tyler Stinson. A second women’s bout featuring Julie Kedzie and Alexis Davis appears on the undercard, as does a middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Lumumba Sayers and a heavyweight bout between Bryan Humes and Gabriel Salinas-Jones.
Fedor Emelianenko (31-3, 1 NC) vs. Dan Henderson (27-8)
Fedor Emelianenko had a successful run in smaller shows, including RINGS, before making his mark in PRIDE. In the Japanese promotion the Russian defeated everyone placed in front of him, including former PRIDE champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, formerly top-ten ranked Heath Herring, and PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Following the downfall of PRIDE, Emelianenko picked up an armbar win over Matt Lindland under the Bodog Fight banner. He then defeated K-1 star Hong-Man Choi by armbar before winning a pair of bouts with Affliction against former UFC champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.
After Affliction stepped out of promoting, Fedor joined Strikeforce where he knocked out Brett Rogers in his promotional debut. In his most recent pair of bouts however, Emelianenko has been submitted by Fabricio Werdum and stopped by Antonio Silva.
Strikeforce Record: 1-2 (1 TKO)
Strengths: Well rounded, great conditioning, devastating ground and pound
Weaknesses: Wild offense
Key Wins: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (2), Mirko Filipovic, Heath Herring, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Mark Hunt, Matt Lindland, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Kazuyuki Fujita, Brett Rogers, Ricardo Arona, Semmy Schilt, Renato Sobral
Notable Losses: Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva
Dan Henderson, like Emelianenko, made a name for himself in the now-defunct PRIDE. With the promotion he earned the welterweight (183-pound) and middleweight (205-pound) titles simultaneously.
Exiting PRIDE with two titles, Henderson joined the UFC in an attempt to unify both titles. First he challenged Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, losing by decision before then losing by rear naked choke to Anderson Silva. Henderson then won a decision over highly-regarded Rousimar Palhares before eding out former UFC champion Rich Franklin. In his final bout with the promotion he stopped Michael Bisping with a highlight-reel knockout.
Following his departure from the UFC, Henderson joined Strikeforce. He faced Jake Shields in his promotional debut for the organization’s middleweight title. After nearly stopping Shields, Henderson was then controlled for the remainder of the fight to lose a one-sided decision. He then knocked out Renato “Babalu” Sobral to earn a shot at the Strikeforce light heavyweight title, which he won in his most recent appearance by stopping Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante by third round TKO.
Strikeforce Record: 2-1 (2 TKO)
Strengths: Heavy hands, two-time Olympic wrestler, durable
Weaknesses: Struggles off his back
Key Wins: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping, Kazuo Misaki, Rafael Cavalcante, Renato Sobral (2), Vitor Belfort, Rousimar Palhares, Akihiro Gono, Ryo Chonan, Murilo Rua, Murilo Bustamante, Yuki Kondo, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Gilbert Yvel, Carlos Newton, Allan Goes, Renzo Gracie
Notable Losses: Anderson Silva, Jake Shields, Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Kazuo Misaki, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
*On the preliminary portion of the card Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (15-4-1, 2 NC) takes on Bobby Green (15-4). Cavalcante has had some of the worst luck in MMA over the last couple years, with injuries, a tough no contest, and a poor judges’ decision. A two-time HERO’S lightweight tournament champion, Cavalcante enters Saturday’s bout coming off a no contest against Justin Wilcox after an accidental eye poke. In his Strikeforce debut he lost a controversial decision against former champion Josh Thomson. “JZ” holds notable career victories over Caol Uno, Andre “Dida”, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Nam Phan, Hidetaka Monma, Hiroyuki Takaya, Rani Yahya, Bart Palaszewski, and Michihiro Omigawa. Green enters Saturday’s bout as a late-notice replacement after an injury forced Lyle Beerbohm off the card. Green is currently coming off a win over Dom O’Grady in King of the Cage. He holds notable career victories over Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett and Sevak Magakian.
*In a women’s 135-pound title bout champion Marloes Coenen (19-4) looks to make her second defense against Miesha Tate (11-2). Coenen is currently on a two-fight win streak, having won the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound title against Sarah Kaufman and most recently defending it against Liz Carmouche. Prior to his successful title bid, Coenen lost a chance at Strikeforce’s women’s 145-pound title when she was blitzed by top-ranked female fighter Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. Tate is currently on a five-fight win streak, including her most recent three all in Strikeforce. In her Strikeforce debut she submitted Zoila Gurgel with an armbar. Since then she has won two-in-a-row by unanimous decision over Maiju Kujala and Hitomi Akano.
*In PDG’s Match-Up of the Night former EXC champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (18-7) faces highly-regarded Tim Kennedy (13-3) in a high-profile middleweight bout. Lawler enters the bout riding a loss against Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Prior to the loss Lawler was riding high on a fifty-second knockout of Matt Lindland. Lawler owns notable career victories over Melvin Manhoef, Scott Smith, Falaniko “Niko” Vitale, Chris Lytle, Frank Trigg, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, and Joey Villasenor. Kennedy also has a recent loss to Souza, but is currently riding a submission win over Melvin Manhoef. Kennedy is possibly the most slept-on middleweight in the world with notable career wins over Nick Thompson, Trevor Prangley, Ryan McGivern, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Hector Urbina, and Zak Cummings.
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Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson Fight Card
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson (Main Event)
Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate (Strikeforce Women’s 135-Pound Championship)
Robbie Lawler vs. Tim Kennedy (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley
Scott Smith vs. Tarrec Saffiedine
Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. Bobby Green
Eduardo Pamplona vs. Tyler Stinson
Julie Kedzie vs. Alexis Davis
Derek Brunson vs. Lumumba Sayers
Bryan Humes vs. Gabriel Salinas-Jones