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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Did Dan Henderson Have the Perfect Send-Off?

October 12, 2016 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to get to you another edition of the fact and the fiction in the MMA bubble. Thank you, for your comments and votes last week. It is always appreciated and I encourage you to leave your feedback and comments below. At this time, i want to pay my respect to the family and friends of Josh Samman. My condolences to you all. Josh was a semifinalist on The Ultimate Fighter: Jones vs. Sonnen and, overall, compiled a professional MMA record of 12-4 and earned two-Performance of the Night bonuses. In addition, Josh was also an author, columnist, and an MMA feature-author. Rest in peace, Josh.

For those who missed it, last week featured a contest between Dan Plunkett and Evan Zivin. They traded barbs over Jose Aldo retiring with reference to his treatment, John Lineker’s career, and Jeremy Stephens as a potential opponent for Conor McGregor in addition to other subjects. At the start, the race was close, but Dan was able to pull ahead and keep the lead for the remainder of the contest. When the dust settled Mr. Plunkett had his hand raised while Evan was left dusting himself off. Congratulations Dan, for your 23-to-14 victory. And, thank you both for your great effort and contribution.

This week, I’ll be stepping up on short notice trying to put one in the win column. I will try my hand at beating Alex Rella as we discuss subjects like whether or not Michael Bisping showed us he can beat the top 4 middleweights in the UFC, the UFC mistakenly making BJ Penn the star attraction for FN 97, Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, and much more! It’s that time again. Grab some grub and make sure you have a comfortable seat because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s get the showing rolling….

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Alex “Little Mac” Rella
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
0-3-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Lorenzo “Corpse Grinder” Vasquez III (#2 Seed, East)
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
1-2-0


Michael Bisping successfully defended his title with a solid game; however, the fact his opponent, Dan Henderson, was 3-6 in his last 9-fights having only beaten fighters lower on the ladder and that Bisping wasn’t able to run through him, leads you to believe Bisping can’t defend his title against Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero, and a rematch with Luke Rockhold.

Alex Rella: FICTION I’m torn on this one, but I don’t think the fact that he didn’t annihilate Henderson necessarily means he won’t do well against these other fighters. Bisping has never really been a knockout artist. He usually wins with the volume of his striking and mixing in takedowns to make his striking even more effective, and his ground and pound is very underrated. Bisping is on the best run of his career and only once did he have a KO on this five fight winning streak, because Luke Rockhold fought like a dick running face first into him. I don’t think any of the other victories are less impressive because they didn’t end in highlight reel finishes, he just had to grind out victories that went to the judges.

Plus, let’s just look at the fighters on this list. He’s tied with Rockhold 1-1, so there’s no reason he can’t beat him again. Weidman got decimated by Rockhold in his last fight, the guy Bisping beat for the title. And Yoel Romero is coming off a PED suspension, so who knows if he’ll be an elite fighter while clean. Let’s not also cut Dan Henderson’s performance short. One of the all time greats let everything go in what he knew would be his last fight. There’s no shame in getting a decision victory over Hendo in this circumstance.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT I’m sorry, Michael. When you captured the Middleweight Championship title from Luke Rockhold it was amazing and spectacular. You showed up prepared, knew there was an opening, and you nailed it. Congrats, and congrats on your first title defense. But, this statement is fact. The reality of the situation is Dan Henderson wasn’t the same fighter you fought in 2009. The Dan Henderson you fought at UFC 204 was the thirteenth or fourteenth ranked 46-year-old UFC middleweight who had won 3 and lost 6 of his last nine fights. And it had been years since he beat an opponent of any significance. Henderson is as tough as they get and, always dangerous, but I would expect the middleweight champ to be able to defeat Henderson a little more clearly and not grab the victory by a slight edge.

Bisping didn’t look like the kind of fighter who could beat a focused Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, or Yoel Romero. Bisping has looked improved but he didn’t tell me with his performance that he’ll be able to hold onto the middleweight strap for an extended time. Now, I’m not saying he doesn’t have a chance. In fact, with the exception of Rockhold, all these guys could fail to take Bisping seriously. A mistake Rockhold learned the hard way. And, out of all four, I can see Bisping surviving Romero’s initial burst and out working him for five rounds, or, exhausting the Cuban and getting a finish. Still, I believe Bisping is a big underdog against any of the four mentioned. He’s made marked improvements and is one of the hardest workers in mixed martial arts, but he isn’t the monster Rockhold, Weidman, Souza, and Romero can be. Of course, MMA math doesn’t always add up as it should, and, Bisping may in fact be a late bloomer. I doubt it, though.


Despite losing, Dan Henderson came close to capturing the UFC middleweight title and couldn’t have asked for a better way to close his in-ring career.

Alex Rella: FACT Absolutely. Dan Henderson finished his career Rocky Balboa style as he completely emptied the basement against Michael Bisping. Of course winning the title would be the best possible ending, but this is the second best ending. In my opinion, having a great fight for the title in the main event against one of his biggest rivals is a far better way to go out rather than a win over some mid-level fighter. If the UFC actually went by the rankings, Hendo would have fought somebody like Rafael Natal, or, Krzysztof Jotko, Sure it’s nice to end your career with a win, but beating those guys would be a good yet lackluster way to go out. Plus, there is no guarantee that he beats those guys either, they are top 15 for a reason. Hendo losing to someone not elite in his last fight would have been incredibly disappointing. Even though he lost, going out on your shield while fighting for the title, is an amazing way to end a hall of fame career.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Considering, how the majority of fighters end their career, Dan Henderson sure as hell couldn’t have asked for a better way to end his career. Of course, we could say it would have been better if he won the title. But he still ended it on a pretty damn high. Henderson showed up to fight. He became exhausted and still fought and pushed until the very end. People around me are telling me Michael Bisping showed amazing heart, and he did, credit to him, but Henderson in my opinion wore the bigger heart when you consider his age and fatigue. It was a nice stamp to put on an amazing career for one of the all-time greats and legends of the sport. From “Decision” Dan to the H-Bomb, we have watched Henderson grow from a wrestler to well-rounded fighter with explosive power in both hands. Although, I scored the fight in favor of Bisping barely edging out the win, Henderson still walked away a winner and stole the show.


The cancellation of UFC Fight Night 97 is no surprise and the UFC should have known better than to make BJ Penn the star attraction of the event.

Alex Rella: FACT I was a little surprised they actually cancelled it instead of finding a replacement, but yea I’m not shocked that BJ Penn dropped out. I don’t think he should be fighting at this point, but who cares if he wants to give featherweight another try, it’s just dumb to put him in the main event of any show. Even Fight Night 97 was supposed to be a smaller show and it completely backfired. The UFC will give him another chance because Dana White loves Penn, but they should avoid relying on him to carry a show at this point in his career. Cancelling even this smaller show must have cost them a lot of money. Book him again if you want, but expecting him to deliver in the main or co-main event is just idiotic at this point. I’m not surprised he isn’t going to fight and I won’t be surprised the next time it falls through either.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT BJ Penn is a legend of the sport—one of the greats. But, he is shell of his former self. The last time we saw Penn fight he was TKO’d in the third round of a one-sided beating at the hands of Frankie Edgar. That was in 2014 the month of July. In January 2016 we were made aware of Penn’s intentions to return. He was scheduled to fight in April. However, his return was put on hold because of an investigation into sexual assault allegations. Next, he was scheduled to fight Dennis Siver who was later replaced by Cole Miller. Again, that fight was scrapped because Penn pulled out with an injury.

Then, he was flagged for using an IV when such use had been banned. And, finally, here we are, his fight scrapped again and an entire card scrapped as a result. In no way should the card have had to have been scrapped. But, the UFC is spread far too thin these days. This is especially true of 2016, where they have needed to absolutely stack two cards from top to bottom—UFC 200 and UFC 205. Shame on you UFC, for throwing all your eggs into a basket that has proven to be unreliable over the last 9-months. They should have known better but, the fact is, they are starving to fill the in-between shows with star power because they are busy building these mega shows, hence, you get BJ Penn headlining a card because no one else is available.


SWITCH!

Vitor Belfort belongs nowhere near the top ten, plain and simple. It is more obvious now, more than ever, that testosterone replacement therapy was the only thing keeping him relevant.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION I wouldn’t say, “nowhere near.” We can all agree that TRT played a tremendous role in Belfort’s resurgence, no doubt. Post-TRT Belfort is hardly the fighter that made easy work of Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold and came close to snapping Jon Jones’ arm in half and winning the light heavyweight strap. But, I wouldn’t go as far as to say he belongs nowhere near the top ten. Obviously, he will hardly be able to compete with the top five. Against No. 10 through No. 6, I would say he is an underdog but, he still has knock on his punches, just ask Chris Weidman, and his speed is surprisingly still there. There is a possibility Belfort is getting ready to hang up the gloves and call it a day on his in-ring career. But, if he keeps going, I believe he fits in somewhere between No. 15 and No. 8. Of course, he is in the twilight of his career, but I think he can still compete at the lower end of the top ten and definitely within the top fifteen.

Alex Rella: FICTION Vitor Belfort is clearly not the same fighter he was a few years ago, but I don’t think you can clearly point out TRT as the cause of it. The guy is 39 and has been fighting since he was 19, he won the UFC 12 tournament. And these 20 years of fighting have been mostly against top competition. I’d love to yell that he’s a cheater and is finally getting what he deserves, but it’s too hard to separate old age from TRT use.


If, we’re indeed going the way of “money fights” and “what sells more” rather than by merit/rankings and what is truly deserving, win or lose against Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor’s next fight should be against Donald Cerrone.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION If, we’re going strictly for big money fights with regard to nothing else, win or lose his fight with Eddie Alvarez, let’s make McGregor vs. Jose Aldo happen first at 145-or-155 pounds. This is tough because I love Cerrone and I’d love to see that fight happen. The story is there with Cerrone and McGregor tangling at press conferences and “The Cowboy” sort-a-calling McGregor’s bluff as it pertains to the Irishman’s behavior backstage and so on. But, I feel Aldo and McGregor have a history that needs a final say—an ending. It doesn’t matter whether or not a belt is on the line, those two need to dance one more time, maybe two more times, and close the book for good.

Aldo has recently come out talking about how he is done fighting period and tired of the politics of the UFC. He’s claimed not even a rematch with McGregor would change his mind. I don’t buy it. Aldo is a fighter and fighters always want to avenge a loss, especially, an embarrassing loss. Let’s see what a focused Aldo can do with McGregor and let’s see if McGregor can silence Aldo once and for all. There are some big fights we can come up for McGregor, some possibly even bigger than an Aldo rematch. Cerrone may indeed be right in there but, I think an Aldo rematch would be biggest and sell more at the moment, especially, if Conor loses to Eddie. There’s also another rematch with Nate Diaz that would do big numbers again.

Alex Rella: FICTION Conor McGregor booking hasn’t been making sense, but this would be the worst of any of his booking. If McGregor loses, he absolutely has to drop back to featherweight to defend his title. If McGregor wins, he has either Jose Aldo or Khabib waiting for a title shot. Giving it to Cerrone would be horribly unfair since he lost his last fight at lightweight and his last three fights have been at welterweight. Plus this is a big risk for McGregor and the UFC as this is a really tough fight. I would bet on Cerrone in this one. McGregor’s stock can’t afford another loss. I hope this fight doesn’t happen either way.


While, the majority loves the idea of Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 206, money and super fight talk aside, from a pure fighting standpoint, Silva is not the right return fight for GSP who has been out of competition for 3 years come November.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION At this point, GSP vs. Anderson Silva is strictly a rumor that has been denied by Dana White. But, ask Jose Aldo how true to his word White is. So, let’s move on. On one hand, this could be a clear FACT. If GSP wants to comeback and test where he is at or make a run for the title or put together a nice run for his own sake, he should avoid colliding with Anderson Silva right off the bat. Not altogether, but not in his return bout. GSP has been gone for nearly three years. While, Anderson, though not the fighter he once was, has been far more active and against name opponents. Three years is a long time and we shouldn’t expect GSP to pick up where he left off.

Then, you have the size factor. If the rumors are proven as true, I don’t believe Anderson is going below 185-pounds for this. Silva has also fought at light heavyweight. He’s a big boy compared to GSP. Recently, GSP has claimed he could comeback and make lightweight. In fact, he looks somewhat smaller these days. Anderson would be imposing with his size. Imposing enough to negate the wrestling (that which he needs to beat Silva) of GSP. And, against a GSP who is coming off a 3-year long layoff, he would have more than enough skill, strength, and power to dispose of the Canadian. GSP would be better served to take a tune-up fight and slowly regain his size for a fight at middleweight. But this is only if GSP is coming back to guage where he is at or stay for awhile and make a run for dominance and the title. The reality is we don’t know how long GSP intends to stay but, we’ve heard him talk about wanting big fights and the right money and if this is the case, then why not Anderson Silva?

If GSP is coming back looking for big fights and big money there is no reason to say this statement is fact, none at all. This is a super fight everyone has wanted to see. Sure, it’s way past relevancy. We’ll still look forward to it and tune in. If GSP is coming back for the big fights and maybe a title shoot, but mostly the “big fights,” then I say why not? It all depends on what his plans and motivations really are. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Alex Rella: FACT GSP has been talking about wanting to return to test himself against the best and that just isn’t Silva anymore. Silva hasn’t won since 2012, even GSP’s last win was in 2013. Of course Silva wants the money fight, but it doesn’t make sense for GSP to come back and move up in weight against the much larger opponent. GSP has nothing to gain by this fight.


So who won? Was Alex able to stop your host dead in his tracks? Or, did I steamroll through Alex with ease? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today but, as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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