An unfortunate series of events led to a great UFC on FOX 10 main event tonight (Sat., Jan. 25, 2014), with Ben Henderson and Josh Thomson squaring off in a five-round battle at United Center in Chicago, Ill., with big Lightweight title implications.
Anthony Pettis was supposed to attempt his first 155-pound title defense after winning the belt at UFC 164; however, an injury to the champ meant that his original opponent, Thomson, would take on the man "Showtime" took the title from, Henderson.
This fight, while clearly not as significant as the original booking, is one that promises to deliver great mixed martial arts (MMA) action. Both men are skilled everywhere, with incredible heart and a disposition to make fights awesome.
Henderson, a former champion in the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), is a very exciting championship-level fighter. His game focuses on constant attack, while his defense comes as much from his technique as it does from his heart -- sometimes eating huge shots and staying standing or fighting valiantly out of submission attempts that look a little too close for comfort.
Thomson has made his name off being an exciting, well-rounded fighter throughout his extensive MMA career. Wins over Nate Diaz, Pat Healy, Gilbert Melendez and many others show just how good he is. With tremendous agility and cage awareness, Thomson is capable of threatening opponents from any position, sporting 14 finishes in 20 wins.
The striking battle between these two will be very interesting. Henderson's punches are not incredible by any stretch, but they are still something to look out for, as he throws them with authority, whereas Josh likes to weave in and out of range with quick flurries of strikes. Both men have very strong kicking games, with Henderson boasting incredible leg strength and balance, while Thomson displays finesse and precision.
Henderson will likely be the aggressor, with Thomson moving in and out, circling often, and looking to land as often as possible.
If and when the fight hits the mat, both men are capable of high-level offense from the ground. Henderson's wrestling is a constant threat because he is extremely effective in bringing the fight to the floor. Thomson, meanwhile, is adept at bringing the fight to the mat or keeping his opponent from bringing him there. Henderson's power comes out in his ground-and-pound, which can become increasingly threatening as he advances position, which is what he likes to do. Thomson is difficult to keep down, constantly regaining guard and looking for escapes or submission attempts, or initiating scrambles.
When these two begin to have grappling exchanges, they will be engaging in some very technical positioning battles, making for an interesting contest.
What you should expect from this fight is two men who are adept in all areas of MMA going to war in every position they find themselves in. Henderson boasts a huge advantage in raw power and aggression, but Thomson is more mobile, sporting a more complete overall striking arsenal. These men are known for delivering great fights, and when they collide in the UFC on FOX 10 main event, they will very likely combine for another exciting scrap.
Perhaps even the UFC on FOX 10 "Fight of the Night."