The final Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event of 2021 only featured Octagon veterans at first, but the usual misfortunes allowed one newcomer to wriggle his way in on short notice. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I constantly discover new and exciting paywalls between me and the content I need to research, we look at a Josh Barnett acolyte who made quite the name for himself overseas.
Victor “La Mangosta” Henry
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Record: 21-5 (6 KO, 8 SUB)
Notable Victories: Albert Morales, Masanori Kanehara, Yuki Motoya, Denis Lavrentyev, Kyler Phillips, Takafumi Otsuka, Anderson Dos Santos, Masakatsu Ueda, Hideo Tokoro
Though Henry’s fought all over the world during his 11-year professional career, his greatest achievements came in Japan, where he beat some of the most prominent fighters on the scene in multiple promotions. He currently sits at 8-1 in his last nine, the sole loss to a man in Denis Lavrentyev whom Henry previously defeated.
He steps in for Trevin Jones on less than two weeks’ notice.
Despite training under the legendary Josh Barnett, Henry seems largely content to keep things on the feet, where he uses relentless pressure to steadily wear down opponents. Constant kicks from both legs and basic combination punching comprise the bulk of his striking offense, which generally relies more on volume, output and mixing levels than sitting down on huge one-hitter quitters. He’s tough enough to make it work, but his head movement is lacking, as is his footwork when under pressure.
He also doesn’t tend to set those kicks up, opening him up to counters and takedowns.
If he does elect to take things to the ground, it’s generally through either clinch trips/throws or countering his opponents’ takedown attempts. That said, he does end up on his back quite often, and his solid scrambling ability and opportunistic submission attack hasn’t deterred high-level grapplers like Yuki Motoya and Masanori Kanehara from taking dominant positions.
His whole game’s just very, well, workmanlike. While he’s never been stopped standing or on the ground in mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, he’s not a particularly devastating finisher in his own right, and his generalist approach can let more specialized opponents overpower him. He’s good enough to hold his own in the middle of UFC’s Bantamweight division, especially against opponents who can’t handle his pace, but I don’t see him reaching contention without any killer app to lean on.
Opponent: He takes on Raoni Barcelos, who looks to have his number just about everywhere. Barcelos’ power and timing make him a nightmare for Henry on the feet, and the former’s wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigrees make him way more than Henry can handle on the mat. Fingers crossed the brass gives “La Mangosta” another shot after his debut loss.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 45 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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