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UFC Fight Night 77 fight card: Dan Henderson vs Vitor Belfort full fight preview

Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Nov. 7, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 77 inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In a match up of legends, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

HIGHLIGHTS! Thomas Almeida, Vitor Belfort Steal Sao Paulo Show With Killer KOs!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight pioneers Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort will go to war for the third time TONIGHT (Nov. 7, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 77 inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

At this point, Henderson is a professional at making comebacks, regardless of whether its mid-fight or in reference to his entire career. "Hendo" pushed away retirement talks with his last victory, and now he looks to solidify his position inside the top 15.

On the other hand, Belfort is in a strange position. His only recent losses came to champions, but much of Belfort's recent work is surrounded by controversy. With all that in mind, Belfort has to prove exactly where he stands at this point in his career.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Dan Henderson
Record: 30-13
Key Wins: Mauricio Rua (UFC 139 and UFC Fight Night 38), Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs Henderson), Tim Boestch (UFC Fight Night 68)
Key Losses: Vitor Belfort (UFC Fight Night 32), Gegard Mousasi (UFC on FOX 14), Lyoto Machida (UFC 157)
Keys To Victory: Though I wrote a bit more in my breakdown of "Hendo," an accurate summary of his skill and strategy in 2015 could be stated as "shuffle, shuffle, right hand." Despite the simplicity, Henderson has been making his overhand work for years now, resulting in 15 knockout victories.

In this bout, it would behoove Henderson to show a bit of restraint early on. Belfort is not very comfortably leading exchanges, as he's very much a counter striker.

On the whole, Henderson's chance at victory increases as the fight wears on. That's odd to say considering "Hendo's" age, but Belfort is no spring chicken either. Plus, "The Phenom" rarely wins any wars of attrition, whereas lengthy, grueling battles are Henderson's wheelhouse.

However, a war of attrition can only happen if Henderson doesn't get knocked out inside a round while looking for his overhand. Henderson just needs to be patient early, and the fight will get much easier over time.


Vitor Belfort
Record: 24-11
Key Wins: Luke Rockhold (UFC on FX 8), Michael Bisping (UFC on FX 7), Anthony Johnson (UFC 142)
Key Losses: Chris Weidman (UFC 187), Jon Jones (UFC 152), Anderson Silva (UFC 126)
Keys to Victory: Belfort has been fighting for nearly two decades now, and his style has mostly remained the same. He's long been an explosive counter puncher that attacks on a hairpin trigger, and age has done little to dull his reflexes.

Oh yeah, he also kicks people in the head now.

Considering how easily Belfort dispatched Henderson in their last bout, there's not any significant changes that need to be made to his game plan. After all, a knockout in just about a minute is pretty much the ideal result.

In relation to this fight, their 2013 contest really illustrates two things. The most important is that Belfort has the power to finish Henderson. Secondly, Belfort doesn't have difficulty finding openings when Henderson attacks.

With that information, there's only one minor strategy Belfort should have on his mind. If Henderson is a bit more hesitant in this bout -- as he should be -- Belfort needs to force him to take the initiative. Luckily, Belfort's kicks are the perfect tools for that job, as Henderson is unlikely to just stand at the edge of range and take hard kicks.

And once Henderson gets impatient and looks to close the distance, Belfort is at his most dangerous.

Bottom Line: Frankly, this is a match up of legends, not a fight that's going to really affect the current title picture.

This is especially obvious in Henderson's case. "Hendo" is fighting to prove he belongs; making a run at the strap should not be on his mind.

Therefore, the result of this bout affects Henderson personally far more than it affects the division. If Henderson wins, he's got at least another couple fights before the calls for retirement heat up again. Should Henderson come up short, it's unlikely that the UFC will be in a hurry to give him more fights.

While Belfort is still ranked quite highly, it probably won't matter in the long run. The biggest reason is that Belfort just had his title shot -- his third in this current UFC run -- and lost pretty quickly. Additionally, there's almost zero chance that Belfort resembles his TRT-infused 2013 self that earned those wins over top contenders anymore, so another long streak is quite unlikely.

If Belfort loses, it would be a serious indication of his decline since their last fight. After all, Henderson is still largely the same fighter, so anything less than another spectacular win will be something of a step back.

TONIGHT at UFC Fight Night 77, Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort will collide in the main event. Which man will win their final match up?

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