Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
UFC 157 is just one day away and with the hype reaching a peak, fans are wondering how the co-headliner of the historic event will go down. Former world champions Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida are set to meet in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight No. 1 contenders with a shot at the winner of UFC 159's Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen on the line. With a crucial 205-pound match up nearly upon us, ten MMA writers and reporters share their opinions on how Henderson vs. Machida is going to go down this Saturday night (Feb. 23, 2013) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Ten members of the mixed martial arts (MMA) media predict this Saturday's (Feb. 23, 2013) UFC 157 light heavyweight co-main event between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
These media members have inside knowledge of the sport and a unique perspective of the fighters they have the privilege of interacting with. Before you place that bet in Vegas or with your friends, be sure to check out what those most educated about the sport have to say about the upcoming event.
Mike Bohn (MMA Mania): This seems like a "pick your poison" type of match up Dan Henderson. Either he can stand on the outside and get picked apart by the accurate, well-timed strikes of Lyoto Machida in hopes of landing a big counter shot. Or, he can go on the offensive, possibly land the "H-Bomb" and risk getting laid out with one clean shot much like Ryan Bader. It would be interested to see what Henderson could do with a wrestling-heavy game plan, but it's unlikely he is going to go that route as he has an extraordinary amount of confidence in his power, perhaps even to a fault. As nice as it would be to see Henderson win and get one more UFC title shot before his career comes to a close, he is facing arguably his toughest style match up to date and there is a reason he is an underdog. It should be a fun fight while it lasts, but eventually Henderson is going to walk into something he won't be able to recover from. Lyoto Machida via second-round TKO.
Dave Doyle (MMA Fighting/SI.com): At some point, age is going to finally catch up to Henderson, TRT or no TRT. My guess is this will be the fight. He' 42, he's been out of action a year and a half, and he's coming off a major knee injury. Machida, on the other hand, has a renewed sense of purpose and focus since he left Brazil and took up full-time with Black House's Los Angeles operations. That's not likely going to be enough to get Machida past Jon Jones, but it should be enough to out him back in position for a title shot. Machida via TKO, round three.
Damon Martin (Bleacher Report): I'm picking Lyoto Machida to beat Dan Henderson by decision, but if I was picking as a fan, I'd pick Dan Henderson. Machida's elusive style will have Henderson chasing him, but I think Machida's quickness will just be too much throughout 3 rounds. Henderson has also been off for more than a year and his cardio has given him issues in the past. While I'd much rather see Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson, I think Machida's just a little bit too much in this fight.
Chuck Mindenhall (ESPN): You know what happened to the last heavy-handed wrestler that fought Lyoto Machida? Ryan Bader got enchanted. He got bewitched. And he got knocked out by a counter that in slow motion looked like Hollywood choreography. Will Dan Henderson go as quietly? In a word: No. Henderson will not be vexed by Machida's reclining aggression, and he knows how to pressure without incurring big damage. I like Henderson to tie Machida up and chop him down, not with a lone H-bomb, but a series of explosive uppercuts from in close. Dan Henderson via TKO.
Guilherme Cruz (Tatame): Henderson is a complicated match-up for Lyoto with his granite chin, good wrestling, heavy hand and good submission defense. Lyoto will need to bring his best elusive strategy to frustrate Hendo, make him chase him and lost his patience. If Hendo falls into Lyoto's trap in the second round, Lyoto will fight smart and do enough to win by decision - leg kicks would be a smart move -, keeping himself out of the H-Bomb. But it can't take too long, or he'll make the same mistake from the Rampage fight. No favorites here, but small edge to Machida.
Jason Nawara (Middle Easy): The power of drinking your own urine vs. testosterone replacement therapy. Legend vs. Legend. Honestly, I don't want to even see this fight go down, it's too painful. I hate when two of my favorite fighters meet. Maybe, just maybe, this matchup can end in a double knockout or a draw - that's the only way I will truly be satisfied. I still believe Hendo is the true number one contender to Bones' light heavyweight belt, so that just adds to my bitterness over this fight. After not stepping in the cage in an entire calender year for the first time in his career, I'm worried Hendo has ring rust. Machida is Machida, which means this fight is either going to be one of the best of the year, or it will be incredibly boring with both men circling and picking their shots wisely. Ugh. Machida wins. I don't know how or when, but what I do know is that this fight should be five rounds. I hate this.
Adam Martin (Sportsnet): Unlike the Rousey vs. Carmouche match, Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida is actually a very difficult fight to predict. I could see it ending in so many ways -- with Henderson KOing Machida, with Machida being the first man to crack Henderson's chin, with the fight going to decision, with the fight being exciting, with the fight being boring -- but ultimately I'm going to go with Henderson to defeat Machida via TKO. The fight is going to take place standing and although Machida has the more technical striking attack, Henderson just needs to land one strike to finish the fight, and I think he'll do it.
Jeremy Brand (MMA Sucka): Henderson vs. Machida is a tough fight to pick. Both men are very dangerous, but I see Machida having a few more tools in this fight. I think he will use his Karate stance to his advantage and hit Hendo with some shots that he was not expecting.
Karim Zidan (The Flying Knee TO): Even though many fans consider it a travesty that this is not a five round fight, I happen to disagree. A three rounder would certainly mean a more competitive fight as Henderson is known to fade in the later rounds (e.g Hendo/Shogun). Machida's unorthodox striking style and impressive footwork could frustrate Henderson for the better part of three rounds yet if Dan can close the distance between the two competitors, use his clinch game and land his patented power punches then he is more than capable of defeating the Brazilian. With all things considered, the former UFC light heavyweight champ still holds the overall advantage and should take a unanimous decision over Hendo.
Ian Bain (MMA Opinion): Dan Henderson is an all time great, however after near enough a year and a half out I just cant pick him. He has a fantastic chin but his age and octagon rust makes me think we may see him be knocked out for the first time. As a style match up this is very similar to Machida vs Couture/Bader, Hendo has a better chin and that right hand but he will be far too slow for Machida's elusive style. Lyoto tends to do well against wrestlers so I am going to go for Lyoto Machida to get a late TKO and put Dan Henderson's legendary chin to bed.
Media picking Dan Henderson: Two
Media picking Lyoto Machida: Eight
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire card on fight night (Sat., Feb. 23, 2013), starting with the Facebook and FX Prelims, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, as well as the main card, which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view.
For more news and notes on the upcoming UFC 157 event click here.