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Why Dan Henderson will beat Anderson Silva

ufc82tickets1.jpg Normally when I write this style of article, it generates a lot of controversy.

In this isolated case, I’m not sure how anyone can raise an issue with prediction of a Dan Henderson victory over Anderson Silva this Saturday at UFC 82. Just like I can’t raise an issue with someone for picking Silva to beat Henderson.

If this was an NFL game, it would be a pick ’em. It’s a matchup with a potential outcome that could go either way. If Silva and Henderson fought ten times, they’d each win five. Blah, blah, blah. You get all the cliche’s. But my point is that this is a very even matchup and for anyone planning to do their “I told you so” song and dance after the outcome is official, you need to grow up. This isn’t a fight where you’ll be able to fault anyone who ended up picking the loser. Instead, you should be giving someone the credit for having the stones to make a pick.

It would be real easy for me or anyone else to recuse ourselves from making a prediction by saying “Oh, this one is just too close to call.” But where’s the fun in that? So I decided to “man up” last week and take a sobering look at this matchup. My conclusion is that it’s Silva’s Thai clinch vs. Henderson’s Greco Roman body lock.

And I’m taking the body lock.

The key in this match will be who can control the distance. Silva needs to make sure that he keeps Henderson away from him during the initial portion of the fight. If Henderson can close the distance without paying too steep of a price and lock Silva up, then Silva’s greatest weapons will be neutralized. Silva needs space to operate.

Yes, there isn’t a lot of space in the clinch, and area in which Silva excels at, but he’ll need to stay loose during the beginning portion of the match. Trying to crowbar the clinch in against a naturally strong athlete such as Henderson isn’t advisable. He’s going to need to break Henderson down first before he tries to impose his will and close the distance and in turn go in for the kill.


  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that Dan Henderson won a medal at the Olympics. I thought the best he did was place 10th in 1992.

  • Ranger1071 says:

    Sam I agree with just about all of your views on the fight and I break it down similarly, up until you pick the winner. I’m taking Anderson’s plume clinch over Hendo’s body lock. I don’t think Henderson is going to be able to muscle Silva around the way some people think he can. Also Anderson has amazing flexibility and seems to be able to throw knees with the smallest opening imaginable. If he does that to Henderson a couple of times and makes Dan think twice about clinching, Dan might just fall back on his love of his right hand. If that happens I think Anderson picks him apart and out points him over the course of the fight. Spider by decision.

  • jaydog says:

    I hope all of the media developments around MMA this week don’t overshadow the fact that two of the best (and most likeable) fighters in the world are gonna go toe to toe on Saturday. Maybe CBS, Fox, etc will all take note that these are the kinds of match ups that move the fight game FORWARD and increase the credibility of MMA.

    Sam, I agree with your breakdown up until the fight hits the ground. I’m pulling for Dan, although I’m a fan of them both. I see those long spider limbs wrapping a body triangle around Dan in the guard and pointy elbows tearing up his scalp. I’m not sure if elbows to the top of the head are legal in the UFC (or even if they should be), but Silva used some on Lutter and we saw the same in the last TUF finale (Rollins/WarMachine). Anyhow, I may be underestimating Dan’s wrestling, which is funny because I want him to win so he finally gets the respect he deserves.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Sam, I think you’re on the money with your analysis. I think Decision Dan grinds one out.


    “The good thing about Henderson is that fighting for him isn’t about ego. As a former two-time Olympic competitor it’s about winning. He doesn’t need to beat Silva at his own game in order to feel some sort of satisfaction. As long as he walks with the “W,” that will be good enough for him.”

    I think Misaki would disagree with this statement above. :)

  • Zack says:

    Dan and Anderson are the fighters I respect the most and enjoy watching the most, so I don’t care who wins, but I do hope it goes 5 rounds. If Dan wins, the great thing is I’m sure we’ll get an immediate rematch. If Anderson wins, we may not get an immediate rematch, but as long as Dan has a good showing I bet we would get to see them fight again before the end of the year.

    For the record I’m going with Anderson by UD.

  • Jay K. says:

    In my book, both are winners. This one is to close to call, so I’m going to go with Anderson Silva, having seen more of his fights than Henderson. In brute power, I go with Henderson. In cardio between both men, even up. In determination, I go with Henderson. In ruthlessness, I go with Silva. He patiently stalked and destroyed Franklin in a terrific fight that really defined who’s who.

    My vote is Silva. May the best man win.

    My pick Silva by decision as both are too talented to be submitted.

    Jay K.

  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    I’m picking Henderson to win a decision as well. I’d prefer if this fight doesn’t go the distance, but I’m guessing it will be a stalemate match unless some strikes are thrown. If the fight does go to the ground Dan will have his hands full keeping it there and keeping control, so I don’t see him winning by stoppage from the ground.

    Dan will use the overhand right to set up his shots and clinch. Once in the clinch Silva will go down. This is the standard theory I agree with.

    Silva is dangerous from the full guard and Dan has trouble keeping guys on their backs from side control, so he’ll spend most of his time trying to control Silva… Maybe some rabbit punches and elbows to annoy Silva. If Dan goes for a submission or postures up Silva will most likely escape. (For example, Dan had trouble controlling Ninja on the ground years ago, and was better off standing up.)

    That’s how I see the fight going. However, we could see some fireworks if Dan uses the threat of the takedown to set up his huge right hand, instead of the other way around… Dan’s a wrestler but he can also brawl. He might not be afraid to mix it up with Silva on the feet. This fight could overtake the Liddell/Wanderlei fight in excitement if they decide to go toe-to-toe.

  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    Good points Zach and Jay. This one should be close, regardless. I’m simply picking Henderson.

    Although I thought Franklin would win the second fight against Silva, so what do I know!?

  • Marc says:

    Finally, some other folks who aren’t afraid to pick Silva. While I agree with Sam that this one is, in many ways, too close to call, I definitely lean toward Silva. As I said in another post, I think they’re about even in the stand up, DH has the wrestling advantage, and Silva has the ground advantage. I see them trading on their feet for a bit before DH takes Silva down, but then Silva starts working that ridiculous guard and catches DH in a submission in the 2nd or 3rd round. If DH doesn’t go for a quick takedown but instead presses the action on the feet, wearing Silva out for 2 or 3 rounds before taking him down, then I think the balance swings in DH’s favor. The longer the fight goes, the better it looks for DH to pound Silva out. I don’t see this one going to decision, regardless of who wins.

  • JacRabbit says:

    I agree with the article for the most part…

    I see Henderson testing the standup for the first 30 sec or so, then likely going in for the clinch. I’ll give the strength in the greco clinch the 1up on Andersons plume clinch. They WILL go down… Dan WILL be on top, but I don’t see him doing much while on top (reminiscent of the Rampage fight). Dan will likely score more points and get the decision… Honestly, I’m hoping he does what he did with Rampage and tries to bang for a while with Silva. I’d def. love to see some slug action from this.

    Don’t expect to see any KO’s or submissions.

  • SteveXtreme says:

    I think Dana White was way way off on his assessment of Travis Luter. Good ‘Ol Mr. Caplan was wise enough to see Silva’s weakness and I think he picked the outcome correctly. All Henderson has to look out for while he’s pounding away on the ground is illegal elbow strikes to the top of his head. The same kind that finished off Travis Luter as it would anyone, because it’s illegal.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    The Silva elbows on Lutter were not, nor have they ever been, illegal.

  • “The Silva elbows on Lutter were not, nor have they ever been, illegal.”

    That depends how you interpret the rules actually. A lot of shows ban them since hitting with the “tip or point of the elbow” is prohibited. The rules were originally designed to protect a fighter getting hit in the back of the head while standing, so this new application has caused a bit of controversy regarding how they should be applied to the top of the head when a fighter is working off of his back.

    Regardless, the idea that Silva submitted Lutter insofar as he worked better BJJ is just ludicrous. He submitted him with strikes. He had a locked in triangle and couldn’t even finish it as Lutter was able to keep one shoulder free. Dana White is a businessman and he’s selling a product, so let’s discern the truth from the hype. Silva’s got great BJJ, but don’t expect a lot of armbars from the guard on Saturday.

  • cyphron says:

    Sam, you’re wrong. Anderson will take this in under three rounds by KO.

  • Legal Techniques

    “The Unified Rules allows elbow strikes except those hitting downwards with the point of the elbow.”


    “13:46-24A.15 Fouls

    (a) The following are fouls and will result in penalties if committed:

    8. Downward pointing of elbow strikes;”


    ” NAC 467.7962 Acts constituting fouls. (NRS 467.030) The following acts constitute fouls in a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts:

    10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow.”


    Unless you call what Silva was doing striking laterally, the rules are pretty clear.

  • Danny says:

    Someone look at the elbows that were thrown in the j-rock/war machine fight. those elbows didnt seem illegal then.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Luke, there is no interpretation needed. Whether other shows ban them or not is irrelevant.

    The only relevant item here is the rule that the UFC uses, under “Fouls”:
    “10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow.”

    The elbows were hitting laterally, not downward. Therefore, Silva’s elbows were entirely legal.

  • Rich says:

    this fight is 100% unpredictable..

    as well as the rest of the card.. this might be the most unpredictable card in the history of the UFC..

    i’ve said this before..

    either Silva gets his clinch game to work.. or catches Hendo w/ the striking.. or Hendo controls him for 5 rounds.. i don’t see Silva sub’ing Hendo.. and i don’t see Hendo finishing the fight.. it will either be a TKO somewhere in rounds 1-3 for Silva.. or a decision for Hendo..

    I know both of these guys are bangers.. but the fact of the matter is.. Sakara has gone down more than Leben has.. so there is a good chance Leben will get the TKO.. but.. i know Leben’s ground game has improved greatly.. so i can’t pick between a TKO or a Sub for Leben… either way.. he wins this fight..

    Youshin is a big MW and is dominant in all of his fights [w/ the exception of the Franklin fight, but if you notice.. as soon as it went to the ground.. he controlled the fight.. but, that was only in like.. the last min. of the fight]
    but.. Tanner has a better stand up.. he has beautiful knees and elbows.. and great clinch work.. but.. where i think he’ll win.. is in the ground game.. which may suprise some people.. i know Youshin is very dominant once it hits the ground.. but.. i feel Evan will be able to supress the damage.. and work for a submission.. so, i have Evan by armbar in the 2nd.. but i know, Okami could win just as easily.. which is why this fight is unpredictable..

    now.. before a few days ago.. i was giving this fight to Fitch.. easy.. but then i found out Wilson has been a WW champ before.. so then i had to rethink.. i now know that Wilson has great stand-up and will be looking to keep it on the feet.. but i think Fitch will have no problem minimizing the damage taken.. and getting it to the ground.. i think Fitch will get his first 1st round victory in the UFC w/ a choke.. suprisingly, this was one of the least unpredictable fights on the card..

    now i know, this one should be a given.. but.. it’s not IMO.. i know Arlovski has amazing and fluent yet powerful striking, so although his ground game isn’t bad he’ll be looking to keep it on the feet.. the reason why this one won’t be a given… is because last time i thought O’Brien was going to get destroyed.. he took his opponent down at will [Herring].. but i have AA by 1st round TKO..

    i’ll have my Hazelett/Kos pred. up in an hour..

    i’d like to hear other people’s predictions..

  • Danny says:

    here are my quick picks 4 ufc 82 (which i’ll be at. YAY!)


  • Chuck says:

    i will comment BEFORE i read the article and the other comments.

    Anderson Silva is NOT of this earth. That guy is talented, determined, and focused. His fists are unlike i’ve ever seen. He destoyed “Iron-Chinned” Leben(one of my personal fav’s) … after he landed ONE shot on Franklin, in the rematch, Riches eyes were COMPLETELY out of it !

    During the previews on TV promoting UFC82 Silva vs Henderson, they were refferring to Silva as the “best lb4lb fighter in the world” and i was, like, “Hey … since when and says who”?? Then i realized they have a GREAT arguement there …. lb4lb is always difficult to decide … but with Silva … he FLAT-OUT destroys fighters.

    Can’t wait for this weekend!

  • Jackyl says:

    The UFC site has a cool fantasy thing where you pick the winner, method of victory, round, and minute. It’s actually a lot harder than you think. Here’s my rundown:

    Silva TKO 3rd round 3rd minute
    Kongo UD 3rd round 5th minute
    Leben TKO Round 2 4th minute
    Okami UD 3rd round 5th minute
    Fitch UD 3rd round 5th minute
    O’brien UD 3rd round 5th minute (With this being his farewell fight and being bumped to the prelims, I think Arlovski will just pussyfoot around like the 3rd fight with Sylvia)
    Cummo Sub(choke) 2nd round 3rd minute
    Kos TKO 2nd round 4th minute
    Sanchez TKO 1st round 3rd minute
    Gurgel UD 3rd round 5th minute

    I’ve done pretty well in most events, placing in the top 100 out of 10-12 thousand. I know I went with a lot of decisions in this one but going with a lot of the fighters histories I think they are safe bets. This is going to be an awesome card no matter what.

  • Derek B. says:

    Jackyl if you just do decision for your Fantasy UFC you are more likely to get ranked higher.

    Just try it out.

  • screwface says:

    ok sam, because you used the term “man up” i guess i gotta do the same :p
    im picking silva wins by submission or dan taps out from an injury ala gamburyan to save face somewhere around the 3rd round. the way spider destroyed marquardt impressed me and i can see him doing similar strategy with henderson and having it work. from what ive seen of spider his offense changes with every opponent, so he must have one hell of a playbook. prepare to be surprised 😉

  • orlando says:

    Man i really cant choose….im a wrestler at heart, but silva’s nasty dude….its way too hard for me im big fans of both these super stars….i dont know i say lets just wait, and see what happens.

  • Captain says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dan win but I’m picking Anderson by TKO.

  • Derek B. says:

    Orlando I was just like you dood…I grew up doing wrestling, but I just changed my UFC pick to Silva about 5 minutes ago. I just have this feeling he’s going to be victorious.

    I told all my fight friends that I have Henderson picked….I just don’t think he’s going to win though.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    So who has the advantage if the fight gets to the “championship rounds?” If Henderson hangs in until the fourth and fifth, I’d give him the edge. Silva hasn’t had to fight into the third round in the UFC. I’m sure Silva’s in great shape, but Henderson can be a punishing grinder, and will intentionally try to wear Silva down.

  • Evan says:

    I agree Mike. I think that if Silva doesn’t take it within 3 rounds it goes to Hendo.

  • Schwa says:

    My head says Henderson is going to grind out a decision but I really want to see a flashy TKO/KO from Silva, he’s one of the most exciting fighters to watch.

    I have a bet with a friend that Henderson will win, but even if I lose the bet I’ll be happy because that’s the outcome I actually want.

  • Rich says:

    hey jackyl, you know.. 5 oz. of pain has a league in UFC Fantasy?

    and wolfe, i still say if Hendo doesn’t lose in the first three rounds.. Hendo will win.. but i STILL just don’t see him finishing Silva.. if it enters the championship rounds.. Hendo gets the decision..

    anyway.. here’s my UFC fantasy picks.. i still think i’m gonna end up in the double digits.. because this event is just wayyyyy too unpredictable.. but.. here we go:

    Silva TKO 3rd Round 2nd Minute [2:00-2:59] (Silva will finally catch Hendo in the 3rd)

    Kongo Unanimous Decision (Kong will avoid the takedowns, but not get the KO)

    Leben TKO 1st Round 2nd Minute [2:00-2:59] (if Alessio takes him down, Leben will get the sub)

    Tanner Sub[Armlock] 2nd Round 2nd Minute [2:00-2:59] (in a quick burst of action, Tanner will get a hold of Okami’s arm.. and get the armbar..)

    Fitch Sub[Choke] 1st Round 3rd Minute [3:00-3:59] (Fitch will avoid taking damage from the strikes, get it to the ground, and impose his will)

    Arlovski TKO 1st Round 3rd Minute [3:00-3:59] (idk, hopefully we’ll see the AA of old)

    Cummo Sub[Armlock] 2nd Round 3rd Minute [3:00-3:59] (Although Luke has great striking and power, he won’t catch Luigi, but when win through wrestling in the 1st round, and get the armbar mid 3rd round)

    Hazelett Sub[Choke] 2nd Round 2nd Minute [2:00-2:59] (this one has been jerking me back and forth, i can’t figure out if Hazelett will get the sub or if Koscheck’s wrestling will get him the win. I had to go with my gut feeling, and for some reason, i see Hazelett being the “crowd-shocker” on Saturday night, and getting a triangle)

    Sanchez Sub[Choke] 1st Round 3rd Minute [3:00-3:59] (We will finally get to see the old Diego again, the BJJ practioner. We will see the Nightmare that out grappled Karo and Diaz. Sanchez will have his way with this guy)

    Gurgel Unanimous Decision (i originally had Gurgel winning by TKO in the first.. but.. i feel he will wrestle Halverson.. and eke out the Decision..)


    well.. those are my predictions.. it was very hard to come up w/ my final decisions..
    i think i might get torn apart by this event.. i hope for the best.. but like i said guys, look to see my fantasy score in the double digits on Saturday night !!

  • Rich says:

    “but when win through wrestling”

    make that..”but will win through wrestling”

    my bad..

  • Jackyl says:

    Rich. Can I get an invite to that league? [email protected]

  • Derek B. says:

    Jackyl I think the 5 oz. League is filled already. I’ll try and send you an invite though if it allows me too.

  • Rich says:

    ummm… i don’t really know how many people can be in a league and what not.. but.. there is only nine people in it i believe.. i don’t know the regulations, but i find it kinda weird for that to be the cap..

  • Rich says:

    “I have a bet with a friend that Henderson will win, but even if I lose the bet I’ll be happy because that’s the outcome I actually want.”

    i always find myself in that predicament..

    like.. on the last fantasy.. i changed my mind at the last second.. and picked Sylvia over Noguiera.. and like.. obviously i got the pick all wrong.. but i’m sooo much happier w/ Nog as the champ..

    like.. it’s better to lose money and get the outcome you wanted.. ’cause that like.. takes away from the fact that you lost money..

    but if you bet going w/ your gut feeling.. then you loose money AND your guy lost..



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